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Hanging Bird Basin

Originally sold as washbasin sets with pitchers, durable ironstone basins can be purchased at flea markets for between $5 and $30. To make one into a birdbath, choose a basin with a wide lip.


  1. Step 1

    Cut a length of 18-gauge copper wire to equal the bowl's circumference below the lip plus 4 inches. Thread 2 inches of wire through a lead sleeve, and loop wire back through the sleeve, pinching with needle-nose pliers to secure.

  2. Step 2

    Thread 8 sleeves onto this "ring" wire from the other end, spacing them evenly in pairs. Secure each sleeve. Cut 4 pieces of the 18- gauge wire to desired hanging length. Loop one end of each hanging wire between each pair of lead sleeves. Slip sleeve onto hanging wire, and secure the loop.

  3. Step 3

    Thread another sleeve onto the ring wire. Form ring wire into a circle, looping one end through the original loop and then threading it through the last sleeve and securing it. Insert basin. Twist the hanging wires together, several inches from the top, and form a hook. A rock in the basin helps small birds wade or drink.

Martha Stewart Living, April 2000

Reviews (39)

  • irishdi 9 Aug, 2010

    I used an old macreme hanger and a pot saucer..same thing

  • carabau 8 Jul, 2010

    I've been using a regular hanging pot a couple years now. Just get a ceramic bowl to put inside the pot and fill that with water.It's easier to clean and is less likely to get as moldy that a the plastic holder.I also use just the top of a bird bath to put into another hanging plantholder to put the birdseed. Works great!

  • retiredandgardening 8 Jul, 2010

    Would not such an old basin be quite heavy with a rock and water? And would need to be hung in a large mature tree to bear the weight, not a shepherd's hook. I suggest an attractive resin/plastic saucer as I have used these for birdbath replacements when saucers broke. They are light, will not break if toppled and crack if frozen.

  • retiredandgardening 8 Jul, 2010

    I would think that the old basin might be much too heavy after filled with water and a rock too. Based on the size and weight of ones I have bought or seen, that is. Also it would take a larger aand mature tree with larger branches to hold and not a shepherd's hook. Would those branches not be too high on the tree to also access easily? I have resorted to using the very large resin saucers as replacements for too many broken birdbath saucers. Weighted down with a nice rock they will not b

  • alibee5 8 Jul, 2010

    while this is a great idea, it is something of a bother; what about hanging a plastic flower pot (sold in nurseries) that already has the hanger thing attached? they are inexpensive and come in several sizes.

  • rock63roll64 8 Jul, 2010


  • Sheilabeth 8 Jul, 2010

    I agree that a wash bsin is probably too deep if you put too much water in it but if you have a favorite that you want to use in the yard why not use several flat rocks and less water?? Worth a try anyway...I wouldn't use any bleach around our outdoor critters, just wouldn't want to take the chance of hurting them after making the effort to try and help them .

  • supermom219 8 Jul, 2010

    I LOVE crafts, but it is true....a wash basin in waaay to deep. Check out for a wonderful birdbath (I love mine) that hangs and has 4 trays only 2 inches deep. ABSOLUTELY NO BLEACH should be used. If you are that environmentally into helping your bird friends, why not change the water every other day ??

  • Tuftongirl 8 Jul, 2010

    Bird baths should be no more than 2" deep. In order to bathe, birds must stand---touch bottom, as it were. To be effective for drinking, a wide edge would be helpful, and even 2" deep water should have a rock in the water for smaller birds to hop onto. I don't think this idea was very well thought out. (Note to the person using metal pie tins: careful not to put those in the sun.)

  • vlvstewart 8 Jul, 2010

    To the lady who is using bleach, I wonder what that is doing to the birds and butterflys and any other critters that drink it. A few drops might not be harmful, but a cup could be lethel. the mosquito dunks are inexpensive, effective and critter friendly except to the mosquito's. Might be better for your pool pumps too

  • nblack 8 Jul, 2010

    Bleach is not necessary. Garden centers sell mosquito "Dunks" which you put in the water. They contain a bacteria which is harmless to everything but the larvae. Organic and effective!

  • mamamia65 8 Jul, 2010

    I really like this idea but our problem are mosquitos. We have serveral water fountains in our front and back yards and in order NOT to have mosquitos, we pour about a cup of bleach into our fountains to keep mosquitos from forming!

  • mombam 8 Jul, 2010

    Bird bath use does sound like a good idea - esp. in this heat. Unfortunately, we can no longer do bird feeders as our voracious neighborhood squirels are too opportunistic. Might try the bath or for water-drinkng tho!. I like the idea of the mixing bowls. Easier to clean and cheaper too.

  • Mirianthe 7 Jul, 2009

    I would hang this from a shepherd's hook to keep birds safe from prowling cats! My own, much-loved cat has climbed our apple tree to find nests a time or two.

  • rusticpumpkin 14 Jun, 2008

    I adapted this and used old plastic mixing bowls that would otherwise have been sent to landfil, and drilled holes in to take the wire. I put water in one, and live mealworms in a second, smaller one when there are fledglings on the nests.

  • Lee-Anne 29 May, 2008

    Martha what a wonderful Idea - I love all the birds comming to my garden, i will definetaly try and make this - not very handy but hey we can only try!

  • peggyg831 26 May, 2008

    Just love this idea Martha, Keep up the GREAT work you do!! And Thanks!! Peggy

  • countrygirl02 23 May, 2008

    I tried and loved it so much I ended up making four for my yard! They look so natural and fit in anywhere in the yard plus the birds love them. There are enough so there is always room available for the littlebirds also. Love all your ideas!! Donna Sharples (The Martha Stewart of RI!!! I have so many ideas of my own - we should get together and trade secrets!! Love you Martha! But then again who doesn't??) Donna

  • CraftTestDummies 20 Apr, 2008

    Thanks for the great ideas and cautions... I'm going to try this with the aluminum pie tins.... thanks! -Jenny at CraftTestDummies

  • 24ktop 18 Apr, 2008

    I just found a bowl at a second hand store from an old wash basin set ... and it sure will be pretty with the birds bathing, drinking, etc. Maybe the robin drowned after it drank too much and went for a swim without his little birdie life vest ... even birds can have bad judgment after drinking too much! I think there's a lesson here for all of us. Anyway, my bowl is sure gonna look good! ;-)

  • Gamie 18 Apr, 2008

    A small plastic garbage can lid, about 12 inches, works really good. We can buy just the lids at our hardware store. They are shallow and you can drill holes in them to hang them with rope, and they are easy to hose out and refill. I only put a stone in them so the butterflies will come and drink too.

  • tehachap 17 Apr, 2008

    I use an old 9"x13" baking pan and put about 1/2" to 1" of water in it. I change the water every other day, making sure to clean the pan thoroughly between fillings.

    I feed my backyard birds high energy suet cakes and a mixture of bread (cubed), wild birdseed and a suet cake piled into 9" aluminum pie tins. The birds love it.!

  • Crowblog 17 Apr, 2008

    Birds - particularly juveniles - would most certainly drown in this - it's too deep, and too slippery. Add aquarium gravel, rocks or such up to an inch of the rim, and attach a stick that goes at least halfway out into the dish. Birds try to test the depth of water, but young birds anxious to bathe "dive in". Clean basin

  • Los-creations 17 Apr, 2008

    I like this idea and shall try it with some shallow bowls I have. I didnt know about the birds not bathing in a deep bowl, makes sense now that I think about it, but Thanks!

  • victoriawilkinson 17 Apr, 2008

    To be bird-friendly a basin should be very shallow (a couple of inches) and have a rough surface. This type of basin will attract wildlife safely to your yard. Check out an Audubon site or site geared to attract wildlife without harming them. It can still be cute but you can feel good about it too!

  • LMG46 17 Apr, 2008

    I like the idea of the bird bath, I think I will try it with a more colorful bowl.

  • yankeecook 17 Apr, 2008

    I like the "options" to this original idea. After all, we are trying to save money and use what you have, as suggested in a couple of comments. They will not bathe in a deep bowl. I just read an article on TOH magazine with comments on how "PRICEY" every item was that they said was a bargain. We are trying to re-do rooms and yards without going into debt. As for the Robin drowning, we had an above ground pool and found a baby bird in the filter. I didn't realize why there was so much ruckess going on i

  • JessieLSmith 17 Apr, 2008

    nobody even mentioned a bird being drowned. They would take flight. The rock is PUT in the Basin for a WADER, incase they want to stand on the rock so they don't get wet feet...hahaha....But seriously, no one said the bird drowned in here, or at least I never seen it in the directions or on anyones post. Silly person.

  • vrrusa 17 Apr, 2008

    Oh and I use a macramn n n n hanging plant hanger with a ceramic plant saucer in it - looks great and is very easy to dissemble and clean weekly or whenever it get yechy.

  • vrrusa 17 Apr, 2008

    Wet wings and no way to launch - that is why they just splash -- their wings are not waterproof.

  • cabowman1 17 Apr, 2008

    I think something was wrong with the robin

  • whit5 17 Apr, 2008


  • KasiaPowell 17 Apr, 2008

    Some of the antique bowls you'll find are actually a form of metal,undeerneath the porcilein coating. Therefore, to simplify the project, just take a small drill bit and put a few holes in the wide rim, them loop/thread your copper ( or what ever kind of wire that will not rust) through the drilled holes. That way you are not spending a lot of time or money on the whole project. Just keep in mind, you'll need at least three wholes evenly spaced around the rim to keep it level. then same applies as with the original instructions above, making your wire the desired length for hanging, gathering the wire at the top to twist it into a hook, and so it will not untwist, make sure to crimp the base of the twist at bottom of the curved part. Either way it is a nice addition to your backyard or flower garden.

  • whit5 17 Apr, 2008

    The rock is for a bird rest and I agree with Kayla44 somethng else happened. Was there a cat in the area??

  • kayla44 17 Apr, 2008

    I don't understand how a robin could drown even in a SMALL man made pond, if the bird sliped from the ponds edge it would just take flight. I think something else happened to the robin....

  • fredalee 17 Apr, 2008


  • quackmehard 17 Apr, 2008

    I think the rock was put in to prevent that...

  • bevstubbee 17 Apr, 2008

    The deep bowl surprises me. I didn't think birds would take a bath in anything but a shallow bowl -- as in traditional birdbaths. I have a small man-made pond where a robin bravely decided to drink and sadly, it drowned.
    Bev in NC

  • blondie2 17 Apr, 2008

    Easier way to do this and recylce another item, is use your old planters or ones you've transpalanted out of hanging baskets from the nursery and just add the bowl to them, also you can pour bird feed in them as well. Just a thought!