GARDEN GLASS TOTEM

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

GLASS GARDEN TOTEMI have seen quite a few of these popping up on Pinterest and other DIY sites and thought I might give one a try. I wasn’t quite sure if I would like doing them or not as they just seemed kind of boring to me. But I liked the idea of using glass in a project.

My biggest thing was if it would hold up out there in the yard during our ridiculously long, freezing, cold Canadian winters.

Over the years I have had the dismal experience of things falling apart as soon as winter sets in. I hate bringing things inside for the winters. I am kinda lazy that way. Plus I just do not have the storage area to bring all my projects inside.

To start with I made my way over to a thrift store to pick up some glass pieces. I wanted some with color, but they got a little on the pricey side so at $2.00 a piece I settled for clear transparent glass. No fancy crystal, just cut glass. This would give me an idea if I liked them enough to invest later on down the road for some colored glass.

GLASS GARDEN TOTEMI have found GE Silicone adhesive an extremely good choice for a project such as this. Plus a bit of research on google confirmed it is the glue of choice for other crafters building these type of totems also.

I bought four different glass pieces. I picked up a platter, a bowl, a candle holder and a small decanter that was probably used for oil and vinegar dressings. I then simply glued them together using the GE silicone glue.

The very top piece was the stopper for the decanter so I got a two for one on that piece. The decanter on the bottom looks yellowed but it is not, it is just the way the light is reflecting the shadow as it passes through the glass pieces above it.

I really gobbed on the silicone between each piece. I wanted it to get into all the nooks and crannies of the cut glass for better adhesion. In the photos below you can see that I used a ton of this stuff.

 

 

 

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

Seriously, that was so easy to do, I felt like I was cheating on one of my projects. But the next stage might be a bit trickier. How was I going to get it attached to a pole of some sort. I did not want to get into drilling holes in the glass. I chose that decanter just for the purpose of sticking a pole into it.

After wandering around the hardware store I decided on rebar. Why I did this was a no-brainer. It was cheap! What is rebar you ask?

Rebar (short for reinforcing bar), also known as reinforcing steel, reinforcement steel is a steel bar used as a tension device in reinforced concrete and reinforced masonry structures to strengthen and hold the concrete in tension.

I took a photo so there would be no confusion. They even had some that was painted with a green protective coating. Perfect for me as that would mimic the stem of a flower. I bought the four foot length. Actually I bought three just in case I messed up. I always buy a backup because believe it or not I mess things up all the time!

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

The diameter of the rebar is quite a bit smaller than the opening of the decanter so I needed to make it thicker. I did not want to permanently glue the glass to the rebar as I might want to move it and you can not pound rebar into the ground with glass objects affixed to the top of it. I also wanted a way to block any moisture from getting inside the decanter.

When I bought the rebar the cashier wrapped the three bars with some strips of plastic wrap to hold them together for easier carrying. That gave me the idea to just wrap a big wad of plastic wrap around the rebar. It worked like a charm! The glass does not wobble around at all so there is no chance it will break when the wind gets to it. I did glue a small piece of felt to the very top of the rebar so it would not scratch away on the inside of the glass.GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM I decided I wanted leaves. Copper tubing was the way to go with those. Once the copper has been outside for awhile it will get that great patina on it we all love. The copper tubing I used was 1/4″ as shown in the photo above with the rebar. I also picked up some copper strapping for the veins in the leaves. Just little extra details like that can add so much character to your projects.

Shaping the leaves was pretty basic going also. Copper tubing is very soft so you want to take your time so you do not crimp it in an area that you don’t want crimped. I squished the ends flat with a pair of pliers so it would sit flush on the rebar.

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

I also added some super glue to the narrow end of the bottom of the leaf where the strapping sits, then wrapped some thin wire to hold it in place while the glue set up. Then wrapped it again with thicker gauge wire for a cleaner look and added some silicone into that so the strapping can not pop out. Super glue does not hold up well to the elements. I just used it as a temporary hold till I got the wire wrapped around it.

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

Next to attach the leaves to the rebar. I applied some more of the silicone to the areas of the leaf that would be in contact with the rebar and temporarily held it in place with a bunch of wire. After the glue set up I then took that same thicker wire and just wrapped and wrapped all the way up so the leaves would be completely secured to the rebar. I also wrapped wire around that plastic wrap under the bottom area where the decanter sits so it hides the ugly element of it.

Here is a couple of photos of what I thought was the final project.

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I just didn’t like where you could still see the plastic wrap inside that bottom decanter. You can not really see it that much, but it bugged me to no end. So off I went down to the dungeon basement “craft room” to see what I could come up with. On one of the shelves, in a tin can, I found a mother load of those shiny half marbles. I have no idea what they are really called but I knew that these would do the trick!

I like it so much better now.

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

Any sane person would stop right there. But I am not sane. The other day I found a jar full of crystals, the kind that hang off old lamps. I painstakingly collected a bunch of these and put them in a jar and promptly forgot I had them. They have been in that jar for 3 years now. Yup, I added them to this creation promising myself to stop as soon as they were added. To add the crystals I cut a piece of wire the length of what would be wrapped around the area between the plate and the bowl. I then added strands of strong fishing line to the wire before twisting and securing it to the totem. Then I added the crystals to the fishing line and tied them all off at the correct length and height so they would be hanging off the plate area.

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

It is now complete and I quite enjoy this out in my yard and I definitely would make another one, but this time I will search around for some colored glass.

GLASS GARDEN TOTEM

I hope I have given you some inspiration to try one of these garden totems. I truly enjoyed making this one. It was easy to do and not that expensive. The copper tubing was a little pricey but you could omit the leaves or just find something else to use.

Hello

SneakersSignature  Kat

 

Welcome to my world! My name is Kat. I live in Medicine Hat. Thus the name, Kat From The Hat.

35 Comments

      • Greetings from England….thought the hanging crystals really finished your project. I saw a similar idea in a flea market in Florida where they made all the glass ware into bird feeders. Charity shops are a good place to find glass objects.

        • Hi Doreen from England! I thought the crystals were a great idea also. I actually work in a thrift store and it is so hard not to buy everything in sight! I went to England many years ago and fell in love with the country. My friend had a difficult time getting me back on the plane!

    • Hi Debra! The water so far has not bugged me as I give it a bit of a swirl and it flies out. Usually all over me but hey art is worth it. I did think of bending it but have not committed to it. The crystals would not be able to dangle so I am still debating.

      • Surprisingly rebar is not that tough to bend if you have a good table clamp. But what I plan to try is to find a square shaped vase and glue the side of it to the bottom of the first bowl or plate and then put that over the rebar so the whole thing will be sideways and the rebar still standing straight up and down. It is hard to describe but picture how a daffodil looks when in full bloom on it’s stem and that is how it will sit without bending the rebar.

  1. I wish you had some of the coiled copper wire that I still have left from a fortuitous purchase 20+ years ago. That would have sealed the deal to use instead of the wire that you did use.

    Using the fishing line to hang the crystal worked great for the effect, but I’m afraid you may have to replace it over the years. All things are really biodegradable! But, I think that would be worth the effort.

    Great look! I’ve never before been tempted to try this, but I am now. And, I already have a stash of copper tubing, copper wire, and crystals!

    • Hey Anna, I also read that the fishing line will not last very long but it was what I had on hand at the time. I think I might use some fine gauge wire when it comes time to replace it, or even some type of chain. And if I had your copper I would be doing back flips LOL. That stuff is crazy expensive! But it is so beautiful to work with. I just finished a wind chime that I will be posting down the road but I want to do a second one as the first was an experiment and I liked it so much I need to do another one.

    • I can’t wait to find some colored glass and give this another go! I bought some Marine Grade Silicone for the next one so I can see which one holds up better. Send me a photo through the contact me page as I would love to see yours.

  2. Awesome! Thanks for sharing a way to make these without drilling into the glass. I’ve seen these at art shows for huge bucks. Idea to add color glass: put some colored flat marbles (like the ones you used around the stem) inside the bowl. Yes you’ll have to clean it out but will look pretty. You could glue them around the joint inside the bowl to hide the glue. Or leave them loose and change the color if you like and remove for cleaning.

    • Hi Kelly! Your idea of the colored marbles just gave me an idea also. I could glue the colored marbles all the way around both the inside and outside of the bowl along the top rim. Gluing them on both sides will hide the glue. One row or even two would give it some needed color and still be inexpensive. So thank you!

  3. hi i have been thinking about making these even before i saw yours. I started to glue saucers and cups together the cup on its side and used a small bottle on the back to hold the post that i used. It was a small metal fence post that farmers used on the farm and glued thing together that you did.

    • Hi Mary. I really liked doing this and once spring gets here I plan on doing another one. Next year I will be using the Marine grade silicone as It seems to have the best adhesion. I think I might incorporate a teapot into it somehow. I love teapots!

    • Hi Janice! Do you think it will hold up outside? I just wonder if one used an outdoor wood glue that dries transparent if it would be a more durable medium to use for outside. Not sure but sounds like it might work.

  4. Very beautiful I want one and is it possible to buy those hanging glass crystals for lamps at a craft store, cuause if you can i would love to try that next sprig for myself. Just love it. I see all kinds of glass things like that at our local thrift store all the time and never thought about doing something like that at all.
    Valerie

    • HI Valerie! I am not sure but I believe you can buy them at the craft store but I think they are the plastic ones. I find mine at antique stores. I usually have to ask the owner as they seem to hoard them and don’t put them out unless you ask. If it was me owning the store I would hoard them also and take them home LOL!

  5. he Valerie…
    I’ve made several of these, best made outside if using E-6000 glue because of the fumes.
    my granddaughters love making them for gifts for there mother also. they are wonderful in the flower garden’s or small ones to lay jewelry in the on your dresser. I have gotten all my glass at the resale shops they have wonderful verity of glass dishes.

  6. Oh THANK YOU for this idea. I have loads of odd ball depression glass that I can use AND I have also hoarded crystals over the years ( there will be a use for these sometime!)
    I’m sure people are saying “oh NO, not depression glass !” Unfortunately it isn’t worth near what it used to be and I still have a box or two of cups, saucers, and just stuff I picked up in lots back in the day.

  7. This is so nice, I wouldn’t make coloured ones, unless, maybe, monochrome, say yellow in a bed of marigolds, or blue with hydrangeas, red in a bunch of red roses or peonies.

    • Thank You Linda! I think You might be right. Sometimes if you start adding too much color it starts just looking junky. I like junk but done in a good way!

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