Make Your Own Bonsai-Tree Themed Desk Fountain With This Guide
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Are you looking for something a little different to add to your desk? Do you find the sound of running water very 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 bonsai-themed desk 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
- Water pump
- Assorted small-bore plastic piping
- Applicator gun and silicone sealant (clear)
- Popsicle sticks
- Hot glue gun
- Angle grinder
- Assorted paints
- Piece of driftwood or old branch
- Cement mix
- Moss and other artificial plants
With all the gear and materials ready, it's time to get on with this great little build.
Step 1: Design your bonsai tree
The first step is to take your piece of wood/branch and think about how you want the bonsai tree to look. You may want to trim down the wood or cut off any twigs or other parts of the wood to make it look more like a small tree trunk.
If desired, you can also use your angle grinder to remove the old bark from the branch — depending on your tastes.
With that done, you'll want to mark a line along the piece of wood to denote where the plastic tubing will run from the pump.
Next, use your angle grinder or small saw to trim down the bottom of your piece of the branch so that it can sit flush with the base (if needed). Keeping hold of your angle grinder, you can also cut a groove/channel along the branch to hide the rubber tubing inside later on.
Next, take a chisel, and cut out a small elongated rectangle about halfway up the branch. This part will need to be large enough to accommodate a short length of plastic piping.
With that done, cut a small length of plastic pipe about 6 and 57/64 inches (17.5 cm) long, to fit the cavity you just excavated from the branch. Next, drill a series of five holes along on edge of the pipe at regular intervals.
With that done, plug the holes using some plastic pipe connectors to act as nozzles. Seal off one end of the pipe using a small disk of plastic, and glue into place using hot glue or plastic glue.
With that done, take your plastic piping, and glue it into place at the other end of the plastic pipe.
With that done, use your hot glue, or two-part plastic adhesive, and glue the tube and pipe into place within the cavity of the tree branch.
Step 2: Make the base
Next, take an old laundry basket and cover it with plastic sheeting. Tape the sheet to the side of the basket to hold it into place.
Mix up your cement, and pour it onto another plastic sheet in a pile. Fold in the corners of the plastic sheet, and pick up the cement and place the bag inside the laundry basket.
Next, take handfuls of pebbles and place them around outside of the cement-containing bag. With that done, release the plastic sheet containing the cement, smooth it out over the top of the pebbles
Ensure the cement and the pebbles never actually touch, we are using them as a mold to make a textured pattern on the cement.
Make the top of the cement into a bowl shape using your hands, and then sink the bottom of the tree trunk into the cement mixture. Ensure the exposed end of the pipe does not touch or get stuck in the cement when doing this.
With that done, cover the end of the pipe, and cover the rest of the pipe in cement to hide it within the base.
Leave the cement to cure.
Step 3: Complete the base
Once the cement has fully cured, removed it from the laundry basket. Peel off any pebbles that may have become stuck to the underside of the plastic sheet, and then remove the plastic sheet from the concrete base of the bonsai tree fountain.
Use a lighter to burn away any stray or trapped pieces of plastic sheet.
With that done, take a pile of popsicle sticks and cut them into short lengths. Then trim the tops of them to make them look a bit like fence posts.
Take each one and then glue them into place around the rim of the concrete base to make a fence.
With that done, take some other short lengths of popsicle sticks and add the rails to complete the fencing all the way around the base of the bonsai tree fountain.
You can make the fence as rickety or precise as you want.
With that done, mix up some light gray paint, and paint the entire side surfaces of the inside of the well base. For best results, slightly thin the paint so that it flows smoothly.
You may need to add a few layers until all the cement is fully covered.
With that done, mix up a darker blue colored paint and paint the very center of the well. This will simulate deep water once the fountain is complete. Blend the two paints together as needed where they meet.
Next, mask off parts of the base you don't want painted green. Once done, either hand paint or use spray paint to paint the rest of the top side of the base green to simulate grass.
With a darker shade of green, you can add some texture to the green areas of the base as needed.
Using brown paint, paint the fence posts and rails. Alternatively, you could make a brown wash and apply it to the fence posts and rails instead.
For the underside of the base, either hand paint or use spray paint, to color it a deep, dark brown. Leave all the paint to dry before moving on to the next step.
Step 4: Decorate the tree
Next, use your hot glue gun to add small blobs of glue at strategic places around the tree trunk. Once added, glue some plastic foliage or flowers into place to make the tree look alive.
Continue adding foliage around the tree until you are satisfied with the look. Once done add more foliage around the base too.
Keep adding until you are happy with the final look.
Step 5: Add the pump
With the cosmetic look of the fountain now complete, we can move on to actually making the fountain feature work. Grab your pump and clip it to the exposed pipe in the middle of the pond feature of the base.
Wrap and hide the electrical cable among the foliage of the base of the fountain as best you can. With that done, add some dark-colored pebbles around the pump to hide it.
With that done, add some water to the pond feature of the fountain. If desired, you can also add some fish to the water, but ensure you follow the correct procedure when doing this so you don't accidentally kill them.
Next, you can plug in the pump, and watch your wonderfully crafted bonsai tree fountain come to life! Now all you need to do is find somewhere suitable to display it.
Oh, and if you did add fish, make sure you keep them well fed!
If you enjoyed this project, you might like to make another desktop-based decoration project. How about, for example, making your own coin fountain?