DIY Leaf Bird Bath

This DIY leaf bird bath project will create a one-of-kind watering place for the birds in your backyard.

You don’t have to pay a lot for a one-of-a-kind bird bath. Look for plants with large leaves to add to your garden. Then turn one of those big beauties into a homemade bird bath. This DIY leaf bird bath makes a serene resting place for butterflies, too.


  • Leaf Bird BathLarge leaf
  • 1/2 to 1 bag of play sand
  • 3 to 4 cups of contractor's sand
  • 1 to 2 cups Portland cement
  • Concrete fortifier

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Step 1

Choose a leaf at least 10 inches long and 7 inches wide. (We used a hosta leaf here, but rhubarb, burdock, gunnera, castor bean, caladium and elephant-ear leaves also work well.) Cut the stem off.

Step 2

Spread out a sheet of plastic or a large plastic bag to protect your work surface. Pour the play sand onto the plastic and make a pile. Wet the sand slightly so that it sticks together, the way you would for a sand castle.

Shape the pile to approximate the size and shape of your leaf, but keep in mind that birds do not like baths that are more than a couple of inches deep. Once the sand pile is to your liking, cover it with a piece of plastic or a plastic bag. Place the leaf vein-side up on top of the plastic, centering it.

Step 3

In a plastic bowl, mix three parts contractor's sand to one part Portland cement. Mix 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of concrete fortifier, and add slowly to the sand until it reaches the consistency of a thick brownie batter. The easiest way to do this is to squish it with your hands wearing rubber gloves. Mix more water and fortifier to add to the sand if needed.

Rinse your gloves or hands. Pick up a handful of the sand mixture, plop it on the center of the leaf and spread to the edges. This gives you a solid surface that picks up the leaf's veining while removing air bubbles.

Step 4

Now slowly start building up the thickness of the casting. For strength, keep it between 1/2 and 1 inch thick. Be careful to keep the edges smooth to get a good contour. Once you have it at a good thickness, build up the center to make a pedestal.

Step 5

Cover the mixture loosely with plastic. If it's a hot day, you might want to mist the casting from time to time to keep it from drying out too fast and cracking. Let your project dry slowly for about 24 hours, then peel off the leaf. If the casting feels brittle, let it sit for another day before peeling off the leaf.

Step 6

After the casting has dried for at least a week, you can paint or seal your leaf bird bath, or just leave it as it is. We painted this one green. Fill it with cool clean water, and set it out for birds to enjoy!

    • Jill C. Howland says

      Exterior acrylic paint that is labeled NON-TOXIC is good. Glossy finish is most durable and easiest to clean.

  1. says

    There is a pigment you can add to the cement to color it. It is specifically for coloring cement. Also there is an outdoor cement paint that is available from craft stores used for painting clay flower pots and cement block.

    • Ali says

      The mixes tend to have aggregate in them (chunks of rock, etc), which isn’t workable for doing castings. This recipe will get those fine details and is similar to what I used in art school when we did cement castings of sculptures.

  2. Suz says

    Where do you find the pigment to color cement? This used to be readily available, but now can only find red at a box store. I’d like green or blue. Thx. I’m also curious to know if you can use prepackaged cement mixes, used for stepping stones.

  3. Christa says

    I am not understanding how I am getting the top and bottom? Am I using the playsand as a model for the bottom and then putting my leaf cast on top?

  4. K. Martin says

    Yes. That’s how I’m understanding it. But I’m wondering if the leaf should be sprayed with something like cooking spray so it will be easy to peel off when finished.


  1. […] With this tutorial you will get one unique bird bath, shaped like a real leaf, but it may pose a challenge for beginner crafters. The stone leaf is done with a technique called sand casting, which requires patience, a steady hand and perhaps even some trial and error to get those leaf veins to truly pop. Bu, the in the end you won’t regret the effort you’ve put in making this green bird bath. […]

  2. […] As if the beauty and enormous presence of this titan were not enough, the leaves of the Elephant Ear offer lots of potential for some really fun projects. For instance, the Elephant Ear has a special purpose for those of you who love arts and crafts, as well as watching the birds. These colossal leaves can be used to make a bird bath cast — a great DIY project for the kids, the grandchildren or simply yourself! Check out this blog for step by step instructions. […]

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