DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

So this happened.

I have an odd assortment of galvanized buckets and trashcans sitting around this place.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

The white dog wonders why I have so much junk.

One day, I’m randomly looking at these things, and the way they were stacked I suddenly thought, “Those would make a great fountain.”  And so it began.

The majority of these buckets and lids come directly from the cleaning aisle at Home Depot.  The three small buckets are from Ikea (though they are from awhile back, so I am not sure they currently carry them–but craft stores always seem to have similar ones), while the tall french flower bucket….well, I have no idea where I got that.  Similar ones can be found just by doing a Google search for ‘galvanized french flower bucket’, but also, I constantly see them at stores like Michaels, HomeGoods, World Market, etc.  Sometimes they have them, sometimes they don’t. Not pictured in the previous photo is the little milk bucket I happened upon at the last minute at Michaels which wound up being the top tier of the fountain:

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

Initially, I was going to top the fountain off with one of the tiny Ikea buckets, but then I saw this and it was just too cute to pass up.

Aside from your fine selection of buckets, there are a few other items you’ll need for this project, including:

–small fountain pump (I got this one from Lowe’s)

–a fountain nozzle kit (I also got this one from Lowe’s)

–pond liner patch kit (like this, also from Lowe’s)

–clear silicone caulking

–tin snips

–needle-nose pliers

–1/2″ or so metal drill bit (and a power drill to use it with….just sayin’….)

–matte light grey spray paint (optional)

First things first: A lot of my buckets have been sitting around in my yard, so they’ve started to dull with age (which is how I like them).  But several of these buckets, lids, and especially the brand new milk jug, were super new and shiny.  Eventually, they’ll all start to age, but to fake it a bit, I give them the lightest dusting of matte light grey spray paint–something like Rustoleum brand auto primer.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

That’s the ticket.

Go easy with this–hold the nozzle far from the object and let the mist lightly hit the metal–the goal here is to still have a bit of shininess showing through the duller paint.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

I’m showing you this image again because I took it right after spraying the can with the Rustoleum.  Sorry–I forgot to take a ‘before’ shot.  Suffice it to say the metal was blindingly, tin-foil-y shiny.

Now, the two trashcan lids that are going to be the fountain tiers come with handles on them.  These need to be removed.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

Nope. Don’t need that.

These particular handles are set into the lid fairly simply:

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

The ends of the handle poke through the lid and curl to lock it in place.

To remove, you just have to uncurl the little end and slip the handle out.  I did this using a pair of needle-nose pliers.  It’s a little tough, but just beat that little tab into submission and get it sort of flattened out, and then you can work the handle out of there–you’ll be left with two holes, but these will just be filled with silicone later.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

Ta-dah! Holes. In the portion of the fountain that needs to hold water. Perfect.

Now that that little detail is taken care of, let’s assemble the pedestal.  I used a 10-quart bucket that I had lying around (like this one) turned upside down as the base, with an 18 inch tall french flower bucket flipped upside down on top of that (for an overall pedestal height of 24″).  Before you silicone them together into one unit, we’ve got to cut some holes.

In the base of the bucket, you’ve got to cut just a big general hole–shoot, you could cut the whole bottom out of it, but that’s a lot of work (that being said, it would make threading the pump cord much easier if there was no bottom at all–so have at it!).  Punch a hole with a metal drill bit, and then use tin snips to make a hole at least big enough for a plug to fit through, slightly bigger is better.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

Be careful, always, when you are cutting metal–wear gloves, even. Those jagged metal edges are no joke.

Now, so that you don’t have sharp metal edges cutting into your pump cord, run a nice bead of silicone around the jagged edge:

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Yay for not severing electrical cords!

Now, do the same in the bottom of the french flower bucket, only cut the hole off to one side.  Trust me.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

French flower bucket is horrified. (I already had drainholes punched in this because I was using it as a succulent planter before all this fountain craziness).

After you’ve let the protective silicone edging set just a bit on each of these, flip the 10 quart bucket so that it is upside down (drilled hole side up), run a thick bead of silicone around the top outer edge of it, and slide the upside-down french flower bucket over the top of that–give it a hard push so that they really wedge together.  Let the silicone set thoroughly.

Meanwhile, go ahead and cut a similar hole (big enough for a plug to fit through, but not much bigger), into the larger of your two trashcan lids.  Use one of the two small handle holes as your start hole. What’s nice about these is that they have concentric circle ridges in them (like a bull’s eye), which help you pinpoint where you should put the new cord hole.  Again, this needs to be slightly off-center, right between the first and second circular ridges of the trashcan lid:

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

The hole sits just within the second and first rings of the bull’s eye.

Run your protective bead of silicone around the cut edge, as well, fill in that other small hole leftover from the handle.  While you’re at it, go ahead and fill the handle holes on the other, smaller trashcan lid, too.  Let the silicone set completely.

The next piece of the pedestal is a small bucket, approximately 2 or 2.5 quarts in size.  This is going to fit over the fountain pump housing, and needs to have a hole drilled dead-center in it that will just barely fit the adjustable fountain neck extension that came in your fountain nozzle kit.  The largest drill bit I happen to own is a 1/2″, and the fountain neck part was slightly wider than that–so I had to drill, and then take my tinsnips and carefully snip away at the edge to widen it just enough for the part to fit snuggly through–the tighter the fit, the better.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Proof of where this bucket came from!

Because the part that threads through this hole is made of a rigid plastic, it isn’t necessary to run a bead of silicone along the edge (unless you choose to use a bit of flexible tubing instead of a nozzle kit).  De-burr it as much as possible, though.  Just because.

Now drill a similar hole, centered, in both the smaller trashcan lid (once the siliconed handle holes are set), as well as the bottom of the milk jug, or whatever item you choose to be your top fountain tier.

Assembly time:  run a hefty bead of silicone around the base (now the ‘top’) of your french flower bucket, and place your larger trash can lid, upside down onto this, aligning the hole in the lid with the hole in the flower bucket.  Let set completely.

Once that silicone is dry and secure, set your pump in place (centered in the trashcan lid) and feed your plug and cord down through the hole and out the bottom of the base pedestal.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Leave a bit of slack cord up with the pump- it wants to loop around the pump, so let it. This will allow you to clean the pump later on without disturbing the seal in the trashcan lid.

Now, cut a piece of that pond liner patch big enough to cover the trash can lid hole with a little overlap–but not enough overlap that it sticks much outside of that second bull’s-eye ring (you don’t want it to show outside of the bucket that will cover all this).

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Cut your circular patch, and cut a little slit in one side (make a little Pac-Man). This little slit will fit over the cord.

Peel the protective backing off the patch and press it firmly over the hole, with the pump cord coming through the Pac-Man slit.  Now silicone thoroughly around all edges of the patch, slit, and where the cord goes through the patch.  This is critical.  No gaps.  This is what will keep all the water in the darned fountain.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Don’t be stingy with that silicone!

Now let that set (I let it cure overnight, just to be sure).

Oh, you are so ready to put this baby together!

Move the pump back into the center of the trashcan lid and suction it down with it’s little suction-y feet, and then add the nozzle extension neck thingy.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Now thread each section of the remaining buckets and lids into place over the nozzle extension neck thingy.  They are going to be tight (I effectively ‘screwed’ mine on).  Once they are in place, fill the whole thing with water, and plug that bad boy in.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Fountain-ing like a boss.

Eventually this thing will rust and weather (which I want it to do), especially the spots that have been drilled through where the galvanization is now compromised.  Will it last forever?  Nope.  But hey, it’s cute until then.

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19 thoughts on “DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain

  1. Alison July 16, 2013 at 8:05 pm Reply

    clever indeed!

  2. Becky Neville July 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm Reply

    Just when I think you’ve done your cutest thing, you prove me wrong!

  3. Charlotte Zweigoron July 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm Reply

    I think you should have your brain in some kind of a research program. It simply cannot be like most other brains!! On top of it all, you and your Texan seem to be a little OCD about your projects… they always look perfect and so well thought out. This is a winner!!

    • farmhouseK8 July 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm Reply

      Hahahaha–thanks, Charlotte (I think??!!) LOL! I just really, really needed a new fountain! 😀

  4. Jennifer Woodward July 16, 2013 at 10:07 pm Reply

    You are so clever and talented and SUCH an inspiration! I absolutely love this! How creative and lovely too!

    • farmhouseK8 July 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm Reply

      Awww, thanks, Jennifer! 😀 So sweet!

  5. barbara266mc July 17, 2013 at 1:40 am Reply

    I love it too and would never try something like that on my own and the thoughts of my husband helping with a project like that??? OMGosh I’d have to take up drinking 🙂 I don’t comment as much as I should, but I love your projects and your new deck is awesome!

    • farmhouseK8 July 17, 2013 at 2:31 am Reply

      Oh, thanks so much, Barbara!! I love comments!!! 😀

      • barbara266mc July 17, 2013 at 3:20 am

        You’re welcome! I truly love your blog!!

  6. Katja @ Shift Ctrl Art July 18, 2013 at 10:20 pm Reply

    Totally love it. So clever and well designed. The proportions are really great!

    • farmhouseK8 July 18, 2013 at 11:11 pm Reply

      Thanks, Katja! I’m really digging it. 🙂

  7. Vickie July 19, 2013 at 3:47 pm Reply

    Ingenious! I’ll bet you can hear the tinkle of the water and that the birds just LOVE it (as I do). Now I need to get some help to make one………. oh sweetheart………..

    • farmhouseK8 July 19, 2013 at 4:55 pm Reply

      LOL–thanks, Vickie! The birdies do love it! I was afraid that it would get too hot in the sun, but so far, despite the heat, the water is keeping it nice and cool to the touch-yay!

  8. Deborah July 22, 2013 at 11:53 pm Reply

    What a clever fountain! I love anything galvanized and farmhouse. You have a great blog here. I’m following via Feedly 🙂 Have a lovely week!


    • farmhouseK8 July 23, 2013 at 3:25 am Reply

      Thanks so much, Deborah! Glad to have ya!

  9. […] DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse 38 […]

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