Make a Recycled Birdbath

Backyard birds will flock to this inexpensive, easy-to-make birdbath.

Turn an Old Lamp Into a Birdbath

Turn a couple of old lamps and a trash bin lid into a super stylish birdbath. Your feathered friends will love a dip in this modern, upcycled piece. The trash bin lid makes a wide, yet shallow, basin perfect for a little splashing.

What You Will Need

Large lamp bases (we're using two) / galvanized trash can lid / measuring tape / permanent marker / play sand / silicone caulk / 30-inch hollow all thread (found in the lamp or lighting section of your local home improvement store) / exterior spray paint / painter's tape / newspaper / wire cutters / pliers / drill with 3/8-inch drill bit / hacksaw (if necessary to cut all thread to size)

Prepare the Pieces

Remove the shade and harp from the lamp, if applicable. Unscrew the bulb fixture from the lamp base and use wire cutters to remove the fixture from the lamp. Pull the cord through the bottom of the lamp. Remove all the thread from the lamp and the metal nuts and washers holding it in place. Discard the cord and fixture; put the metal pieces to the side. Clean the base of the lamp thoroughly, taking care to make sure it is grease-free for better paint adhesion. If your lamp base consists of several pieces, disassemble it carefully.

Remove the Trash Can Lid Handle

Using pliers and a screwdriver, release the handle from the galvanized lid.

Drill a Hole

Mark the inside of the galvanized trash can lid with a permanent marker. Use a drill with a 3/8-inch bit to make a hole at the mark.

Build the Base

Carefully stack your pieces together and measure, taking into account any recess on the bottom of your base. Add 2 inches to your measurement. Hollow all thread is widely available in 30-inch lengths. If your base pieces come within a few inches of that, you're in luck. If not, you may need to cut the all thread with a hacksaw. Insert the all thread through your base pieces and secure at the top with a washer and nut from the pieces you retained dissembling the lamp.

Fill the Base with Play Sand

While holding the all thread in place, turn the base over and fill it with play sand.

Seal the Base

Apply caulk around the bottom opening and seal with another reserved washer and nut. Carefully turn the base over and tighten nuts. Be careful not to overtighten and damage your base pieces. Allow the caulk to set completely before proceeding to the next step.

Attach the Galvanized Lid to the Base

Remove nut at the top while holding the all thread. Add the galvanized lid upside down over the all thread. Secure with a large washer and nut. Use the remaining lamp pieces and/or finial to top off the all thread sticking up beyond the basin.

Seal the Lid

Add caulk around the washer inside the basin and on the underside of the lid, where the handle was removed.

Seal and Smooth

Add caulk to all other spots where base pieces meet as desired for a smooth finish. Tip: Use a moistened fingertip to smooth out the caulk as you apply it.

Prepare the Birdbath for Painting

Use painter's tape to mask off the edge of the galvanized lid by inserting it under the outside rim and wrapping it around to the top. Do this in small, 6- to 8-inch sections for best results.

Start Painting

Add newspaper to the basin, using painter's tape to attach it to the rim. You're now ready to paint: apply two coats of outdoor spray paint using long, sweeping motions in a well-ventilated area. Allow to dry completely before removing the tape.

Test Your Birdbath

Place your birdbath outside and fill the basin with water; if you notice any leaks, remove water and add additional caulk to seal the inside of the basin. Allow to set completely before refilling with water. Repeat this process until your birdbath is completely waterproof. You may need to touch up the paint after adding extra caulk.

For the Birds

Place your new bath near a tree, shrub, fence or other area where birds can easily find shelter. A shady spot will keep the water cool and prevent evaporation along with algae buildup. Change the water once every two or three days—you may need to change it more often in hot weather.

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