How to Make a Lollipop Garden Sculpture

Recycle plastic lids to make this whimsical piece of outdoor art.

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Materials and Tools:

100 or more clean, small plastic caps (from milk jugs or soda bottles)
10 or 12 clean, medium plastic caps and lids (from softener jugs, margarine tubs, sour cream containers, shampoo bottles or yogurt cups)
clean, large plastic lid (from a detergent tub, 5-gallon paint bucket or ice cream tub)
black felt-tip marker
tape
sandpaper
2 straws for butterfly antennae
15-by-15-inch sheet of Plexiglas
5½ colorful plastic ties or cable ties (found in electrical departments of hardware stores)
4 feet of 16-gauge galvanized wire
4 feet of 3/16-inch steel rod/stake (a stake from an old election sign works well)
needle-nose pliers
aviation snips
jigsaw with metal and plastic cutting blades
drill with 3/16-inch drill bit
old piece of wood (for drilling surface)
vise
gloves

Steps:

1. Cut a 3/16-inch rod to a 4-foot length with a jigsaw. Bend the top end of the rod ½-inch in a vise to make an "L" shape.

2. Drill holes into the top and bottom of the rim of the largest lid, to be used for the flower background.

3. Slide the rod onto the largest lid, with the bend at the top of the flower.

4. Drill a pair of holes ¼-inch apart in the center of all caps being used for center of the flower. The caps should gradually increase in size from the center out.

5. Drill a pair of holes ¼-inch apart on either side of the stake.

6. Stack the caps according to size for the center. With the open side up on the largest lid, string a plastic tie through one of the holes on the side of the stake, up through all the caps and down through the second pair of holes to the back.

7. Secure the plastic tie on the back around the stake.

8. Choose caps for the flower-rim circle and drill single holes into the center of each one.

9. String the caps onto wire, making sure the large caps don't swallow the small caps.

10. Form a circle with the stringed caps and measure it against the perimeter of the largest lid. Snip away any excess wire and hook the ends together with pliers. Make a second circle slightly smaller.

11. Evenly spaced around the perimeter of the large lid in 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions, drill four pairs of holes ¼-inch apart to affix the circle of caps. Attach the circle with plastic ties, using pliers.

12. Attach the second circle to the lid inside the outer circle.

13. Slide caps onto the stake, making sure the open ends are facing down so they won't collect water outside. Add caps until the stem is proportionate in size to the flower. Use a tighter-fitting cap for the last one on the stake. Leave extra rod at the end to allow for 9 inches to penetrate the ground. Cut off any extra beyond that with a jigsaw.

14. Draw a shape of a butterfly onto Plexiglas with black marker.

15. Cut out the shape with a jigsaw and gently sand the edges.

16. Lay out the plastic caps on the Plexiglas with the open side up and organize them in a nice design. Keep in mind that you'll need space to add the butterfly body.

17. Tape the caps in place temporarily.

18. Turn the butterfly over and draw pairs of dots ¼-inch apart onto the Plexiglas to designate where you'll need to drill holes for the caps and body.

19. Remove the caps and drill holes into the Plexiglas and matching caps separately.

20. Attach the caps to the Plexiglas with plastic ties.

21. Choose the caps for the moth body and drill single holes into them. String the caps onto wire. Loop the wire at one end and cut the other end allowing for 2 inches extra.

22. String a straw on each of the wires for the moth antennae. Snip excess length of wire and loop both ends with pliers.

23. Loop the top of the body wire around the center of the antennae wire.

24. Attach the body to the Plexiglas with plastic ties.

25. Drill pairs of holes in the Plexiglas on either side of the butterfly body and attach it to the stake of the lollipop-flower sculpture.

26. Snip excess length off all the plastic ties.

Project credits:
Michelle Stitzlein, www.artgrange.com

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