Learn How to Make Your Own Desktop Coin Fountain
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Are you looking for something to add to your desk to make your working day a little bit more bearable? Do you find the sound of running water soothing?
Then you might want to consider making your own desktop fountain? If that sounds of interest, then follow this simple guide to make your own mini-fountain out of a simple pump and lots of concrete.
As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started like any project of this nature.
Materials and gear needed
- uPVC piping (reclaimed or new)
- Assorted small-bore plastic piping
- Angle grinder
- Water pump
- Rubber tubing
- Polystyrene block (recycled or new)
- Cement mix
- Cubic decorative planter pot or flower pot
With all the parts and gear in hand, it is now time to get on with the build.
Step 1: Create the main fountain body mold
First, take your uPVC piping and cut a small length of it as shown in the video. Sketch out two parallel vertical lines along the length of the piping and use an angle grinder to cut along the lines.
This will form the front groove for the main chevroned front feature of the fountain.
Don't cut the full length of the pipe and leave around a 25/64ths of an inch (1 cm) edge to one end of the lines. Once complete, this should leave a wide slot through one edge of the pipe as shown below.
Keep the piece you cut out, you'll need it later.
Next, take your small-bore plastic piping and cut small lengths of your flexible tubing. Mix and match them so that you can firmly fix the plastic piping to one of the outlets of the pump.
With that complete, cut some more short lengths of flexible rubber tubing or various diameters. Use these to reduce the bore of the other end of the plastic pipe, as shown below.
Next, take a small plastic container and cut a hole in the center to match the diameter of the plastic pipe attached to the water pump. Thread the pipe through the hole and ensure the container fully covers the pump as a kind of housing.
This container will need to have the same diameter at its rim as the main uPVC pipe.
Where needed, cut a small nitch in the lower rim of the container to feed the pump's wiring through. With that done, cut a matching nitch in the bottom rim of the main PVC pipe to also thread the pump wire through too.
Step 2: Make the main fountain body cast
Next, take your polystyrene sheet and cut an elongated strip of it roughly the same length as the main uPVC pipe.
Marry up the polystyrene with the main gap in the uPVC pipe and trim it down so that it fits from the open end of the pipe to the top of the plastic container. With that done, take the piece of pipe you previously cut out (you didn't throw it away right?), and sellotape the polystyrene strip to the inside surface of the pipe piece.
This should enable the piece of pipe to be returned to the main body with the polystyrene strip resting on top of the pump housing inside. If not, trim down the polystyrene as needed.
Once happy, sellotape the piece of cut pipe back into place on the main tube.
With that done, mix up some cement according to its instructions in a plastic bucket. Mix it with water to the ratio required.
Pour the mixture inside the main uPVC pipe on top of the plastic container.
Fill the uPVC pipe up to most of the full length of the pipe. Leave about 2 inches (roughly 5 cm) from the top rim. Gently shake the tube to level off the cement mixture.
Leave the cement partially dry.
With that complete, another shallow plastic container with a smaller diameter than the main uPVC tube. Cut a hole in its center to fit around the vertical plastic tube from the main pump.
Push the piece over the plastic tube and ensure it sits flush with the cured foam board. Then, add some more cement mixture around the outside of the plastic piece to fix it into place.
This will likely cause the plastic piece to rise up a little, so add some weights inside it to hold it down while the cement cures.
Step 3: Cut away the mold and fix any breaks
Once the cement has dried for about a day, remove the weights from the top, and cut away all the outer uPVC tube mold pieces.
If any of the main pieces of the cast break off in the process, you can glue them back into place using some wet from the board mixture. Fix the pieces back together like your repairing a broken piece of porcelain.
You can use pure water to help you spread out the cement to fill gaps and blend in the joins using a brush and/or your fingers.
If not, you're all good to move on to the next step.
Step 4: Add some more aesthetic details to the coin fountain
With that done, take your foam board. Cut a strip about the same length and width as the front gouge of the main fountain body. Next, draw a line down the very center of the board.
With that done, mark out a series of parallel diagonal lines apart at roughly 45 degrees along one side of the board. The lines don't need to be perfect as this is to mark out the shape of the chevrons for the front of the fountain tower.
With that done, rinse and repeat for the other side of the foam board to make a series of chevrons from top to bottom.
Next, cut out some thin strips of foam board, and glue these to either side of the chevroned piece to make some short walls.
With that done, cut out small lengths of foam board to the same lengths as the diagonal lines of each chevron. Then glue the short strips to each of the diagonal lines along the full length of the mainboard.
With that done, fill each other void of the piece with cement, and leave the cure.
Once the cement has cured, break apart all the foam pieces to free the cement chevrons intact. As before, if any breaks, you can repair them using more cement mixture.
With that done, use some more wet cement to "glue" the chevrons into place on the front gap of the main cement fountain body. You can do this by hand, as you did for the broken parts of the main body, or make a simple piping bag of cement and apply the wet cement that way.
Step 5: Add the fountain to its decorative base
Next, take an old large cubic flower pot. If needed, mix up a watered-down "glaze" of cement.
Using a paintbrush, paint the cement "glaze" over all exposed surfaces of the flow pot and leave it to dry. Once dry the color of the flower pot should now match that of your main fountain tower.
Alternatively, simply source or buy a concrete pot instead.
With that done, take the main fountain tower, and place it in the middle of the flower pot. Take a spirit level, and ensure the tower is perfectly level.
If desired, cement the tower into place as needed with a thin layer of cement mixture to the base of the tower. As before, leave the cement to fully cure.
However, try to resist the urge to do this, as you will need to be able to remove the tower to maintain or replace the pump.
With that done, your tabletop mini-fountain is now basically complete. Now all you need to do is pour some water into the base of the flower pot to act as the main reservoir.
Once complete, plug in the pump, turn it on and see if it works perfectly.
If so, the pump should draw water up from the base to the top of the vertical pipe through the main fountain tower. From here, it should pour down the front of the fountain along with the cement chevrons you made, and back into the main base reservoir.
Happy days! But what about the coins? Well, now you can toss some in at your leisure and make some wishes.
If you enjoyed this fountain-based project, you may be eager to sink your teeth into another, equally fun tabletop project. How about, for example, making a series of tabletop games completely out of cardboard?