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Monday, June 11, 2012

Dress Your Garden ~ DIY Garden Totem

I wanted to give something personal for Mother's Day this year. {Yes, I'm 32 and still making "crafts" for presents.} I saw great garden totems at an antique shop that sold for $40 a piece and my creative brain knew I could make my own for far less. {Try $40 for 2!!}

 I started by gathering glass pieces at my local thrift store. This takes a bit of time and looking at things differently, but it certainly is do-able, fun, and worth every minute.  I grabbed a bud vase first and went on from there to create 2, one of a kind designs for 2 very special moms.  You'll have to turn things end on end to see how they can work together. {I'm about to show you how I created mine.}

After bringing home my glass pieces, I hand washed them, making sure to remove the stickiness left behind from the price tags.

Once the pieces were dry, I took a cotton swab and cleaned all the surfaces with rubbing alcohol. {You don't want anything left on the surface where you will be using the adhesive.

Speaking of adhesives, I decided to go with Loctite since it works on glass and is OK to get wet {i.e. rain}.

Now the fun begins! I stacked up my pieces and figured out how I wanted them to look when they were finished. Knowing the finished look I was going for, I began to glue pieces together. Now, this is a process that takes all day long as the glue takes 2 hours to set {and 48 hours to cure} so it's done a little at a time. I split the glass pieces into sections on the totem and glued them together.

The top of one totem

The bottom...

 And pretty soon, I had parts of the totems waiting to be added to others.

 What you see above {from left to right} is
  • a shot glass in a bowl
  • a votive holder in a dish
  • a shot glass on the bottom of a votive holder

For one totem, I wanted the top to look like a flower. I took a small shot glass, turned it upside down, and glued it to the inside of a votive holder I found. That votive holder is glued to the bottom of a shot glass and the top of that glass is glued to the bottom of a glass dish. The totem is beginning to come together. 

Here, the totem is ready to be glued to it's base {a plate on a bud vase} as soon as the glue is set.

 Here's a photo of the second totem I made. From top to bottom, I used a sugar bowl {glued shut}, a bowl, a shot glass, a plate, and a bud vase.

The finished totems! 

I should add, I purchased garden stakes {the kind that are used to stand up trees or tall plants}, had the hubster cut them down and paint them. Then, we wrapped clear tape around the middle of the stake to help keep the vase from bobbling around.

And for added inspiration, once I had the knack of the glass totems down, I realized I could do a lot more things with different pieces. For example, here is a candle holder I made. A little imagination, a little glue, and a little spray paint go a long way in creating a whimsical gift! {I bought a small votive holder to go inside the mug as it's easier to clean out when changing candles. I also finished the piece with a clear coat to keep the paint from chipping.}

**Helpful Hints**
  • Look for pieces that fit together well and will stand sturdy
  • Look for pieces with flat bottoms or flat tops. These help when gluing things together
  • Think outside the box! Play with things and see how they can fit together.
  • Have fun! Really!



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