How to Make a Garden Ornament

Use recycled materials to make a garden buddy that will not only add a fun touch to your outdoor space, but it'll also help keep birds away from your budding plants.

Garden Buddy Brightens Backyard

Garden Buddy Brightens Backyard

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Ready Set Grow!

DK - Ready Set Grow!, © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plunder the recycling bin to create a wacky figure that will keep you company and help keep birds away from your plants. Form his body from cans and lids, then add detail using plastic, cardboard or foil. When he’s finished, hang him from a tree or tie him to a stake in the ground. Start by laying out your junk and planning where each piece will go. This project takes one day to complete.

Materials Needed:

  • collection of junk (tin cans, lids, plastic juice containers, cardboard, etc.)
  • garden wire
  • wire from a coat hanger
  • scissors (adult supervision required)
  • glue

1. Poke Holes Into the Cans

Gather all your cans. Ask an adult to make a hole in the base of each one by twisting in the point of one scissor blade until it punches through.

Make a Garden Buddy

Make a Garden Buddy

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Ready Set Grow!

DK - Ready Set Grow!, © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2. Form the Arms and Legs

Make a loop in one end of a length of garden wire and twist to secure. This will form the arms and legs. Thread the wire through one can, and leave the other end loose to connect to the body. Foil works nicely for the hands.

Tin Can Looped Wire

Tin Can Looped Wire

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Ready Set Grow!

DK - Ready Set Grow!, © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

3. Attach the Cans

To attach the next can, loop a new piece of wire through the first loop. Twist to secure. Then thread this through the next can and make a loop at the other end. Continue to attach the other pieces in this way.

Wire Cans Together to Form Arms and Legs og Garden Buddy

Wire Cans Together to Form Arms and Legs og Garden Buddy

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Ready Set Grow!

DK - Ready Set Grow!, © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

4. Make the Body

Make the body by putting holes in opposite sides of a plastic bottle near the bottom. Insert a length of coat-hanger wire through them, looping to secure at each end. The legs will hang from this. Do the same to attach the arms higher up the body.

Body of Garden Buddy Made from Plastic Containers

Body of Garden Buddy Made from Plastic Containers

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited DK - Ready Set Grow!

DK - Ready Set Grow!, © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

5. Add the Head and Facial Details

Use a plastic flowerpot for the figure's head. Then, glue on bottle caps for the eyes and nose. A strip of foil will make nice shiny teeth, and string works well for the hair.

6. Add Old CDs

Consider old CDs as part of your design. They make shimmering reflections that will discourage hungry birds, so tuck a few of them inside your figure's body.

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