Plaster Columns for Garden?

Lisa_H(7)January 20, 2007

I have two waist high columns that I have been using inside for plant stands. They are white, and I assume they are plaster or something fairly soft.

I was looking at them and thought I might be able to use them in my garden, but I assume I will need to coat them with something. I would love to make a bird bath or even a sundial with them.

Does anyone have ideas to make them weather hardy or have pictures of columns you've rehab'd for the garden?


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I heard a garden shop owner tell a woman looking for a birdbath replacement bowl to go to Walmart or wherever and buy a huge colorful pasta bowl and use outdoor glue such as GE Silicone II to glue it onto the top of the birdbath column. She was all excited over such a cleaver idea and saved money on a replacement bowl.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 9:35PM
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Re the plaster column, I don't think I've read anywhere a solution for waterproofing them. It's very porous, and w/eventually deteriorate. Why not use the cardboard tubes found at Lowes to form one for yourself? They come in four-ft. lengths - two sizes. I used them to make my mosaiced garden columns, and ROSEMARYTHYME used them to make three columns. It's very easy and economical. We just mixed Quickcrete - kind w/rocks, and poured it between the tubes.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 7:40AM
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Pasta bowl huh, never would of thunk it ha...
DH (Delirious husband)...found an old birdbath cement column, (missing the bowl)...Do you think a plastic bowl spray painted with a stone-look would pass as the real thing from a distance? Would have to paint all of it for it to look right.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 12:19PM
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Rainsend(z5 MA)

I dont think it would hold up well outside. I made this column from one of those tubes. The top is hypertufa.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 5:17PM
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RAIN: LOVE that colum. Aren't those tubes neat? As I was passing a carpet store this morn, I spied in their window some larger tubes. 'bet they'd be free.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 7:22PM
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Hi slow, just wondering, once you pour the cement in the tubes, is it hard to get out later?
I have been thinking about making tubes, every since I admired yours on your website.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 8:18PM
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Rainsend(z5 MA)

bianchi, you can only use the tubes once. They absorb water from the concrete and once the concrete set ups is easy to remove. The wet cardboard just peals off.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 11:32AM
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Thank you, rainsend/

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 3:34PM
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Oooops - been busy and have only been checking into SG/M lately. Thanks, RAINSEND, for responding to that.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 7:59PM
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Thanks for confirming what I pretty much already knew :) I was just hoping someone had a miracle answer.

I saw some of those concrete columns ya'll made....they are gorgeous. I would love to try that. I made a couple of stepping stones a few years ago and I've been wanting to make a few more...I'll have to add columns to that list.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:39PM
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With this nasty weather and DH getting ready for prostate surgery I just saw this question. I have 3 plaster columns that I have sealed with "Dry Lock" and the first one I have had in the garden for several years. The trick is to seal them and keep them from absorbing water(from the top or the bottom)I set them on a rock or cement block or on the patio to keep them up off of the ground. I did NOT do the inside of mine-just up so far. I put them inside for the winter, tho.
I'd like to do the cement columns but I lack the muscle power to do them. So the plaster ones do fine. Jlily

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 2:54PM
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I'm thinking the pasta bowl might be too deep for the birds. They only like really shallow water..maybe 1 1/2" deep.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 5:32PM
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Birders around here say that 2" is maximum depth for birds to feel comfortable bathing - something to do with their depth perception. You can use large rocks to shallow the water, tho, and use a deeper dish. I've had some success doing that with a deep light fixture I use as a birdbath atop one of my totems

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 7:24PM
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bluestarrgallery(zone 7 GA)

I wonder if coating the inside of the sonatubes with oil would make the paper peel off easier? Has anyone ever put concrete color in the mix and made a column of a different color rather than just concrete? I was thinking of making kind of a modern looking arrangement with three columns with differeing heights and diameters.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 4:00AM
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Haven't seen ROSEMARYTHYM's name here recently so w/answer for her. She used the tubes to make three different heights columns (as shown in Little and Lewis) as you describe, but painted them afterwards. She used a base coat of blue, then several colors and drybrushed the colors on. They are stunning! I searched the site for her name, and here's the link. Don't know how to make it clickable. BTW - the paper comes of very easily.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 4:27AM
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Rainsend(z5 MA)

I love the blue color on Rosemarythyms columns. This is exactly what I wanted to do (like Little&Lewis) but because I was so busy I didnt get around to it. There is a little moss growing on it now and I kind of like it the way it is now so Im afraid to try it. But Im thinking that another column somewhere else in the yard (to do this summer) might just get the blue painting I wanted.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 12:57PM
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pesky1(7, Pacific NW)

The concrete dyes are expensive and you need a lot to get a deep good color. Any kind of paint works well on concrete, and it's a LOT cheaper.

A good trick, if you're willing, is to paint the concrete piece with muratic acid (you can get it at hardware stores) and then do a color wash. The muratic acid etches the concrete to roughen it up alittle bit, then the color wash will give a different, aged, type of coloring.

Also, check out this website. We've bought molds from them and were VERY impressed with their quality and selection. We used to have a concrete statuary business, so we know ALLLL the tricks of the trade. And this place has inexpensive molds for colums, birdbaths and even benches.

Here is a link that might be useful: History stones molds

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 12:35AM
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