A site about home, doing it yourself, and the ramblings of a girl who appreciates a little science in her life.

Tuesday, May 29

Making Glass Garden Flowers


For Mother's Day, Erik and I wanted to make a nice gift for our Mom's that they would appreciate. I spent some time looking around on the internet and Pinterest, but I actually found our inspiration at the local Farmer's Market. There was a guy there who sold glass garden art. The art was made from old glassware shaped into glass flowers. Since we had given our parents the bird-feeder tea cups for Easter, we thought that they might like the garden flowers for Mother’s Day. Now we just need to find a present for Father’s Day. 

Once we had picked a project, I did some searching on the internet for ways to attach the pieces. The guy at the Farmer’s Market had drilled a hole through all of the plates that soldered on a metal backing. That just was not an option for us. Getting all the stuff needed for soldering on the back would be expensive, and we had tried drilling holes in glassware before and did not have good luck with that. I found a two websites that had used a metal to glass glue for the back and then used Silicone glue for gluing the plates together. We decided to go that route instead. 

We first stopped off at the Salvation Army to pick up our plates. Erik and I each picked out the plates for our own Mom. It made it fun because they had a different look to them. I picked a large glass candy dish that looked like it had petals, along with a smaller green glass dish. Erik picked a large clear plate and a milky-white bowl. We picked up some small matching white bowls for the insides of our flowers. All of the plates together cost us $18.


To make the glass pieces stick together, we used a tube of the GE Silicone for outside. We picked up a big tube for $7 at Lowes, and already had the caulk gun. So that made it a bit cheaper. We also picked the clear version, in case any was visible from the sides. We placed caulk generously on the bottom of the smaller and smallest bowls and then set them inside of each other. My middle bowl fit perfectly into the bottom of the larger bowl, which made the gluing really easy. Erik’s bowl was a little smaller, so it moved around a little. I found some glass beads from a plant project, and we arranged them in the smallest bowl and glued them down. I filled the bottom of the bowl with glue and nested each bead inside, while Erik put glue on the back of each bead and put them in the bowl.  They had a slightly different look to them, but both ways kept the beads in nicely. 
To make the glass flowers actually stand on a pole and look like a flower was the hardest part. One of the options I saw used a bent fork glued to the back of the flower then dropped into a pipe. I thought that it made the flower look like it was leaning though.  I also saw some flowers that were glued to the pipe directly, but that makes it hard to move around and not much surface area to attach to. 

We finally settled on using these copper “bells” that were suggested on a website. She found them at Lowes, and they are a “bell” attached to a pipe holder piece. We also found metal epoxy putty that could be used underwater. I was concerned that the epoxy would not work, but it works amazing! You take a chunk and mold it in your hands mixing it. Then we rubbed it into a long thin strand that we smoosshed (yes that’s a technical term) around the edge of the bell onto the glass. I did this twice to make sure that there was a lot of coverage area. 
We let the flowers dry overnight and then we shipped off to our amazing moms. They both liked the flowers and that we had made them something nice ourselves. I liked the flowers so much; I actually made two for myself. I made one for the support pole for our tiny blueberry, and I made the other one for some leftover copper pipe that I had from the bird feeder project. The flowers look great and have stayed together through the rain, wind, and sun. Hey we live in Oregon, so spring brings lots of weather quickly!








P.S. Looking for more information? Look here: http://www.homelifescience.com/2013/05/glass-garden-flowers-update.html
for pictures on the completed project!

16 comments:

  1. So I have a question about the copper bells you used. What are they exactly? Were they in the plumbing section with the copper fittings or are they more of a regular hardware piece?

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  2. So the bells are actually plumbing fixtures. I got them in the copper plumbing department at Lowes. Home Depot and Ace did not have them, Lowes was the only place. I am not sure what they are exactly, but they are for sure in plumbing. Hope that helps?

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    1. I did find the copper bells at a Home Depot near me. They also had the other supplies. I just put some flowers together today -am allowing the putty to dry overnight before trying to attach them to the copper pipes...so far so good. I am hoping to give one to close friend as a
      b-day present this week.

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    2. You can also use old silverware to put your flower up.

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  3. Not sure about the copper bells either. Do these allow the flower to be put on a pipe or piece of metal or how do you attach them to something to be put into the ground?
    I would love to do this for our moms for Mothers Day and also my daughter and of course myself!

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  4. The copper bell lets the flower attach to the metal pole and site at a 90 degree angle. Its the easiest way to attach the plate flowers and handle the weight. You can glue the pole to the flower directly, it will fall off. Also, the bell s nice as it lets you pack them away easily if you wanted too. Hope that helps!

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  5. The bell hangers from Lowes are better than the ones from Home Depot, although they cost a few cents more. The ones from Home Depot allow the flower to rotate. Depending on your choice of glass, this may be an issue. I don't think it would be as sturdy, either, if it allows movement. Remove the flower before pounding the pipe into the ground by loosening the screws in the bell hanger. We had to spot weld the Home Depot hangers to prevent problems. I wish we had paid the nickel more at Lowes!

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  6. The Bell pieces are called bell hangers. What size bell hanger did you use? The biggest I found at Lowe's was 1" and I thought it would be bigger so I was a little hesitant. I bought them anyway and will give them a try. I have made some pretty amazing flowers (If I do say so myself!) but have not found a solid way to attach them to the stem. They either come apart or the glass is too heavy for the small surface area the hanger attaches to, which is why I was hesitant when I saw how small the bells are. I do appreciate your posting such explicit instructions and good pictures! It really helps! I think you have the best idea yet of those I have found online. I will let you know how the bells work for me.

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    Replies
    1. Sheri, I am in the same boat... I have lots of cool flowers and am struggling to keep them attached to a pole. I tried bell hangers, they broke. I tried nut couplings on a treaded rod, the nut detached from the plate. I have used E6000 and silicon. If you have found a solution and are willing to share, I am interested! I am ready to drill through all plates and attach to a bent threaded rod, but that seems like more work than necessary:)

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    2. When my mom made some of these, she had my dad drill through and make holes. It took a long time and some of them broke. I hope that you can make it work either way!

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  7. I used the water weld and they are still holding up strong. I used the 1" size for base plates that were 8 inches in diameter. They have been up now through all the seasons and have not separated from the bell part. Hope that helps!

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  8. Hi Holly and Eric! Thank you for this blog. It has been so helpful. I was wondering how your glass garden flowers are holding up? Your post seems to have been written in 2013. I just used your method on a few of my plates (Bell Hangars and Water Weld). I've tried it on 3 and hesitant to do more until I've tested them. Any updates? Thanks!

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    1. HI,

      So one of the flowers held up through two winters really well. however this last winter one of them fell off due to the snow. It did not break when it fell so it was an easy repair to stick it back on. I think that they would hold up much better if we took in our backyard decorations during the winter time.
      Hope that helps!

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  9. I have been using Hockey pucks with a hole drilled into the side to fit rebar. That seems to work well.

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  10. Would the water weld work on the couplings? I bought several that I can no longer return so I would like to use them on my flowers. And thanks so much for the detailed directions and pictures! Your the best!

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  11. Maybe it would work? The water weld was easy to work with and really malleable.

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