Make a Miniature Bird Bath

  • 01 of 08

    Make a Miniature Bird Bath From Polymer Clay or Epoxy Putty

    Basin and tree shaped support for a quarter scale dollhouse miniature bird bath.
    A tree shaped base and a rounded basin ready for assembly into a 1:48 scale miniature bird bath. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd
    This miniature bird bath is easy to make in a range of scales. It is shown here made in 1:48 scale from two part epoxy putty, but you can make it in larger or smaller dollhouse scales from polymer clay or epoxy putty. If you will be setting the miniature outdoors or in a miniature garden scene, I suggest you make it from two part epoxy putty which is more weather resistant than polymer clay.

     

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  • 02 of 08

    Materials Needed to Make a Miniature Bird Bath

    Materials used to make a 1:48 scale bird bath
    Two part epoxy putty, modelling tools, glitter and embossing powder used to make a quarter scale miniature bird bath. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    I used two part epoxy putty for my miniature birdbath as I want to be able to place it outside in a miniature fairy garden setting. I'm using  EnviroTex Jewelry Clay which is grey.  You can also use polymer clay, although this is not recommended for outdoor use.
     

    To help my grey epoxy putty resemble traditional concrete birdbaths I've added micro glitter in black and pearl, as well as a putty colored embossing powder  to add texture and color.

    Instead of adding items to your polymer clay or epoxy putty, you can paint either material with acrylic paint  for indoor or enamel paint for outdoor use, after the birdbath is sculpted.

    To shape the birdbath you will also need simple modelling tools (a toothpick or pin will work), as well as a small curved shape to make the birdbath (I used the metal cover for a fabric covered button), a marble or rounded button will also work.

    Note:  If you are using two part epoxy putty you will also need a small container of water (to prevent the putty from sticking to hands or tools)  and it is suggested you should wear gloves. Some people have adverse skin reactions to the chemicals in epoxy putty.

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  • 03 of 08

    Mixing Two Part Epoxy Putty for a Miniature Bird Bath

    Equal sized balls of Part A and B epoxy putty used to make a 1:48 scale miniature bird bath.
    Equal 1/4 inch (6mm) across balls of two part epoxy putty used to make a quarter scale miniature bird bath. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    Mixing Two Part Epoxy Putty

    As I am making a quarter scale (1:48) miniature birdbath, I used two equal sized balls of Part A and Part B epoxy putty which were roughly 1/4 inch (6mm) across.  Epoxy putty begins to harden once mixed, so use small amounts to prevent waste.  

    To mix the putty, roll each ball out into a thin roll, and twist the rolls together.  Squish the putty between your gloved fingers (dampen your gloves with water, or dust them with corn starch or talcum powder) and continue to roll and squish the putties together until your putty is a single uniform color.  Once the putty is mixed you will have at least an hour to shape your putty, depending on the brand of putty and your room temperature (see the instructions for your particular epoxy putty).   Set your epoxy putty aside for roughly 15 - 20 minutes so it is not so sticky when you begin to shape it for your bird bath.

    Mixing an Aged Cement Color from Polymer Clay

    If you are using polymer clay, blend some waste clay with white and black to make a grey brown color similar to aged cement.

     

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  • 04 of 08

    Adding Texture and Color to Epoxy Putty or Polymer Clay

    Glitter and embossing powder add texture and color to two part epoxy putty for a miniature bird bath.
    Micro glitter and embossing powder are mixed into two part epoxy putty to add texture and color to the putty for a quarter scale bird bath. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    Add Texture to Epoxy Putty or Polymer Clay with Additives

    If you want to add a bit of color to epoxy putty you can mix small amounts of acrylic paint, or dry paint pigments with your putty.  For my project I mixed in small amounts of embossing powder, as well as black and pearl micro glitter to give a suggestion of concrete. Blend the additives thoroughly into your putty.

    You can add micro glitter to polymer clay as well before baking it. As embossing powder melts in heat, do not add it to polymer clay. You can color the clay after it is baked or cured using artists chalks or pastels if you wish.

     

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  • 05 of 08

    Shaping the Miniature Bird Bath Basin

    The quarter scale bird bath basin is shaped using a rounded button cover.
    The top of a covered button fitting is used to shape the basin of a quarter scale miniature bird bath from a ball of epoxy putty. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    To shape the basin section for a quarter scale  miniature bird bath, roll out a quarter inch (6mm) sized ball of putty and press it to a thickness of  roughly 1/16 inch (1.5mm).  Lightly dampen the surface of your putty, or coat it with talcum (baby) powder or cornstarch and press a rounded shape (I used a button cover) into the putty disc to hollow out the center to make the bird bath basin.  When you have the rough shape as shown in the photo, use a modelling tool or a toothpick to gather up and smooth the edge.

    Use the same technique to shape the polymer clay basin.  This should make a basin for your bird bath which is less than 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) across.  If you are making a larger scale bird bath, you want it to represent roughly two feet across in your particular scale (1 1/2  to 2 inches ( 3-5 cm) in 1:12 scale, 3 - 4 inches (8-10 cm) in 1:6 scale.

     

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  • 06 of 08

    Shaping the Miniature Bird Bath Basin Support

    Shaping a 1:48 scale tree like bird bath base and filling the birdbath basin with a water effect.
    A tree like base is shaped from two part epoxy putty for a quarter scale bird bath. Once shaped, it is twisted to add to the bark effect. The basin is 'filled' with tar gel artist medium to mimic water. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    Traditionally the bases of many cement bird baths were shaped to resemble small tree trunks or thick tree branches.  To mimic that in polymer clay or epoxy putty, roll the clay / putty into a small cylinder (roughly equivalent to 2 feet long (60cm) in your scale , 1/2 inch (1.25cm) for the quarter scale bird bath.  

    Pinch the cylinder and roll it slightly between your fingers so the base is thicker than the top. 

    Use modelling tools (dampened with water for epoxy putty) to tease out some 'roots' at the base of your cylinder. Press a few lines into the tree trunk to mimic bark and twist the cylinder slightly to get the bark lines to curve.

    Gently flatten the top of your bird bath support and set it aside to harden, or cure it in the oven if you have used polymer clay. You can speed up the hardening of epoxy putty by setting it in a warm spot or under a desk lamp with a standard (not fluorescent or LED) bulb.

    Filling the Bird Bath Basin with a Faux Water Effect

    Once the bird bath basin has cured (epoxy putty) or been mounted to the base (polymer clay) if it is going to be set indoors, it can be filled with a faux water effect made from clear artist acrylic mediums or dimensional PVA Glues.  You can also build up thin layers of gloss acrylic varnish.  I used tar gel medium for the water in my miniature basin, and added glitter and embossing powder to the edge to mimic snow and ice crystals.  If you wish, you can mimic miniature splashes in your birdbath using acrylic mediums. These work well if you are going to glue a small resin bird to your birdbath.

     

     

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  • 07 of 08

    Checking the Size For a Scale Miniature Bird Bath Basin

    Base and basin for a quarter scale miniature bird bath
    Base and basin for a quarter scale bird bath showing size of the sections. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd
    Before you finish hardening or curing your epoxy putty or polymer clay parts, check their size against a ruler to make sure you are roughly in your chosen scale. This is especially important if the piece will be set next to other miniatures in smaller scales where size deviations will be very noticeable.   Finished bird baths should represent a full size of roughly 2 feet  to 30 inches (60cm to 75 cm) tall with a basin  1 1/2 to 2 feet across (45 -60 cm)

     

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  • 08 of 08

    Finish the Assembly of a Miniature Bird Bath

    Quarter scale bird bath set in the winter landscape of a log cabin in a teacup scene.
    Quarter scale bird bath in the garden of a quarter scale cabin scene in a teacup. Photo © 2013 Lesley Shepherd

    Finish assembling your miniature bird bath by joining the top basin to the supporting base.  If you are working with epoxy putty, which is additive, you can use a bit of un-cured putty to hold the basin to the support and let the putty cure before setting your miniature in place.

    If you are using polymer clay, you can glue the sections together with liquid polymer clay, or a strong pva glue, or epoxy putty, or you can join them with uncured polymer clay and rebake the clay to set the new joining layer.

    Set your bird bath into an appropriate area in your miniature scene, near a winter bird table, or near landscaping in a miniature garden. 

    You may want to make some of these other miniatures to go with your bird bath

    Make Miniature Chickadees or Titmice

    Make Miniature Crows or Ravens

    Make Miniature Seagulls

    See the link boxes below this tutorial for more miniatures that will work with this bird bath project.