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Terra-Cotta Bird Bath

Make a sanctuary for birds to bathe in your garden with a few terra-cotta planters and a paint marker. Then, sit back and do a little bird watching.

Terra-Cotta Bird Bath

Photography: Kara Whitten

Source: Martha Stewart


This idea comes from our friend Kara Whitten of A Kailo Chic Life. Terra-cotta planters and pots of all sizes, which we use to make our bird bath, can be found at major home improvement stores. For more ideas, scroll through our entire collection of terra-cotta clay projects.


  • Terra-cotta bowl planter (Pennington Terra Cotta Clay Dish Garden Planter, 12", $11,

  • Terra-cotta planter pot (Pennington Terra Cotta Clay Azalea Pot, 8", $3.47

  • Terra-cotta saucer (Pennington Terra Cotta Clay Saucer, 8" $3,

  • Terra-cotta polymer clay (Activa Plus Air-Dry Clay, in Terra-Cotta, from $15 for 2.2 lb.,

  • Oil-based white paint marker (Sharpie White Bold Point Oil-Based Paint Marker, $3.47,

  • Shellac or other waterproof sealant (Zinsser Clear Shellac Spray, $8,


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Form the terra-cotta clay into a disk and press it into the bottom of the bowl planter to plug up the drainage hole. (Note: If the bowl planter you are using does not have a hole, you can skip this part.) Place on a baking sheet, and bake the planter for 15 to 20 minutes until the clay is set; let cool.

    Terra-Cotta Bird Bath step 1
  2. Decorate the bowl using a paint pen to draw geometric shapes, lines, and curves. (Tip: We used a variety of dots, scallops, lines, and zig zags.)

    Terra-Cotta Bird Bath step 2
  3. In a well-ventilated area, apply three to four coats of shellac onto the bowl planter, planter pot, and saucer; let dry 20 to 30 minutes between each coat. (Note: This step will waterproof the surface so that it can hold water and not seep into the porous terra-cotta.)

    Terra-Cotta Bird Bath step 3
  4. To assemble the basin, stack your terra-cotta pieces: First, position the planter pot upside down; stack the bowl planter on top; lastly, stack the saucer inside the bowl to create a raised level section for the birds to bathe in. Fill the basin with water about one inch above the saucer top and position it in your garden or backyard.

    Terra-Cotta Bird Bath side angle

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