Thursday, February 2, 2017

How to make a ceramic pottery "lily pad" bird bath...and a frog to sit on it!

If you're starting to feel a little antsy for spring while a certain Mr. Winter continues to drag his feet (the groundhog saw his shadow...six more week of winter...ugh), why not hurry spring along by making a cute "lily pad" birdbath for the birds...

Learn how to make this cute lily pad birdbath for the birds this spring.
Visions of birds splashing around in a little birdbath you make can help tide you over
until your garden starts waking up and the birds start singing this spring!! 

How to make the bird bath
1. Roll out a slab of clay.
Make the slab at least 1/4" thick. Since this piece will be outside, you want it to be strong.

2. Cut out the shape of the "lily."
The beauty of this project is any shape works. You can make an actual lily shape or just a wavy circle. It doesn't matter!

3. Stuff plastic under the edges and push the center down to form the bowl.
The clay has to harden, and the best way to help it keep its shape is to stuff plastic around the edges. Newspaper doesn't really work, because it absorbs water and loses its shape. The plastic (dry cleaner bags work really well) maintains it shape.

...and that's it! This has to be the easiest ceramic pottery birdbath project ever!

How to make a frog for the lily pad
1. Form a small ball of clay into a wedge shape.
This wedge will be the body of the frog. The pointed end will be its nose.

2. Roll out a clay "noodle," and attach it to the hind end of the body.
This "noodle" will become the frog's leg.

3. Press the noodle to the frog's side. About halfway up, bend the noodle back.
Making a frog's leg is that simple. In the photo below you can see how easy it is to create the look of a frog's leg.

4. Add the webbing on the back feet.
Simply press a few lines into his feet using a wooden carving details are needed!

5. Roll out two smaller noodles for the front legs and attach them.
In the photo below, you can see the front legs are even easier to create. Attach them just in front of the back legs, and curve them in. Add the webbing lines as well.

6. Roll out tiny balls and press them onto the head to form the eyes; then use an Exacto knife to cut a simple mouth. have a frog to laze on your lily pad bird bath!



6. "Score" the clay to attach the frog to the lily pad.
To attach one piece of clay to another, you must "score" the surfaces first, which means you rough up the surfaces a little, dab water onto the score marks, and stick the two pieces together. I usually use a pencil, a clay needle or a craft knife.

7. You're finished with the construction of the birdbath...
...but you have a few more steps to go: let the piece dry (can take up to a week), fire it, glaze it, and fire again. Find a pottery teacher to help you if you don't have your own kiln or access to clay or glazes. There are lots of studios around town.

You can dig out a small depression in the ground to hold the bird bath (as in the example at the beginning of the post), or place it in a stand like in the photo below. Have fun!!!

I usually scoop out a depression in the ground to hold my lily pad bird baths, but they look great in a stand too.
Another option: attach a chain at three equidistant spots and hang it from a branch.


  1. Oh Kelly, this would be great for my new backyard. I'm going to make one as a housewarming gift to myself! ~ Kim

  2. super nice Kelly!

    so 6 more weeks of winter, I believe it.
    Last night got down to -12F and at least 5" of snow today and lots more coming.

    thanks for sharing how you made this.

  3. love this, i may try it. thanks.

  4. This is so darn cute! I love the glaze and the little frog is adorable, and something fun to do with children ...lots of frogs. (another nor'easter coming tonight to N.S.)

  5. @ Kim - Hi Kim! It would be perfect in your new backyard...and so fun to make. Just bring it in in the winter so it doesn't crack in the ice and snow.

    @ Tammie Lee - Hi Tammie! -12 below.....uuugh! We haven't hit those cold temps here this year, and really no accumulation of snow either. I bet you get a few cool photos out of the snow accumulation!

    @ Sandy - Hi Sandy! I hope you do....send me a photo of it if you do. It's super easy!!

    @ Gardeningbren.....definitely a fun activity to do with kids. About 10 years ago, I made one with my son...he loved it!

  6. Wow, you did such an amazing job!!! Thank you for sharing it with us. It looks so easy to make. I have to try making it:)

  7. @ Jessi - Hi Jessi...thank you! It is so easy to make. I hope you do one...send me a photo if you do!

  8. Wow, that is just beautiful! I was going through old links that I have always enjoyed visiting in the past (trying to get my blog back to its former state before a huge crash). I am so glad I dropped in today!

  9. Oh what a fabulous idea. You have inspired me. I popped on to read a blog re: hummingbirds and sunflowers (link to here on a fb post) came across the birdbath... gonna have a go... just to find a firing studio... I’m in Northern Ireland 😉 thank you 😊

  10. Kelly, why the third firing? Got the bisque, got the glaze so why the third?
    Very organic shape. thanks

  11. Hi Lynn ...thank you...I hope you're up and running.

    Hi Yvonne....hope you found your studio!

    ...for Unkown....only need to fire twice: let the piece dry (can take up to a week), fire it, glaze it, and fire again" (glazing doesn't count as a means "painting" it with the glaze. After the first firing you glaze it (paint it) and then fire it with the glaze on. Then you are good to go! Have fun!


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