Introduction: PVC Bird Bath
My wife wanted a bird bath on our balcony. Unlike a traditional pedestal bird bath, we don't have a garden hose nearby to clean it; so it needs to be easily and quickly removable for taking inside to clean. We also live in a condo, so we can't permanently affix it to certain parts of the building. This is my solution. PVC stand affixed to the balcony railings, with a removable bath.
- 1 1/4" PVC pipe - I bought a 10'
- (you could buy precut pieces and get a 1-1/4" PVC Coupling connector)
- 1 1/4" PVC threaded plug
- 1 1/4" PVC cap
- 1 1/4" PVC female adapter
- A tray with a flat bottom in the center - we used a clear plastic serving tray from a dollar store
- Gorilla Clear PrimaGlue 4oz (PVC Primer and Glue all-in-one. Looked less toxic than the Oatley Primer and Cement)
- Painters tape
- Spray primer
- Spray paint
- Saw (hand or electric)
- Disposable gloves
- Goo Gone
Step 1: Measure the Desired Height
The basin is going to need to be screwed in and out of place for cleaning, so you want it high enough that it clears the deck railings.
Measure the height in the railings and add an inch or two as desired (the top connector is going to a little height as well).
Step 2: Cut the PVC
Mark a cut line on the PVC to the height you determined in the previous step. Using a hacksaw, chop saw, or radial arm saw cut the PVC pipe to length along the cut line. Just make sure it's a straight 90 degree cut, otherwise the connectors may not fit properly.
Step 3: Clean the PVC
Before cementing the connectors in place, you should clean the PVC pipe so they will adhere correctly. Goo Gone and a paper towel worked well enough.
Step 4: Cement / Glue the Connectors Into Place
Check the fittings of the cap and threaded plug to ensure they fit correctly. What I didn't do, but should have, take some painters tape and cover the threads inside of the threaded plug. This will prevent the possibility of the glue/cement getting into the threads.
Following the directions on the primer/glue, and only install once connector at a time. Wearing protective gloves, apply a thin coating of the primer inside the connector and outside the pipe. Apply an additional thin coating of the glue over the primer, and push the connector onto the pipe (without twisting it). Wipe off an excess glue.
Repeat with the other connector on the other side of the pipe.
Step 5: Cement / Glue the PVC Female Adapter to the Basin
The Gorilla PrimaGlue worked for me in this step, but depending on the material of the basin you chose you may need to opt for a different glue. Apply a thin coat of primer to both surfaces. Then apply a thin coating of glue/cement to both surfaces and attach them (push, don't twist). Depending on the glue you may need to apply pressure for the bond to adhere.
Step 6: Prepare for Painting
Scrape off any sticker/labels and remove the adhesive residue with the Goo Gone.
Use the painters tape to tape off the opening of the threaded plug, so you don't get paint or primer on the threads. Apply spray primer to the PVC pipe. Apply additional coats as needed. Apply a spray paint as desired.
Step 7: Attach to Balcony Railing
I temporarily used packing tape to adhere mine in place. My 8" zip ties were insufficient. 14" fit well once I bought them. You can measure the diameter for your installation to find what will work best. Two or 3 points of attachment should work well. Once it is firmly in place (and not rotating), you can screw the basin into the top. Fill with water. Now wait for birds to actually find it.
Step 8: Additional Finishing Touch
Maybe birds don't like translucent baths two stories up? I took the bath down, masked off the screw threads, and painted the outside.
Maybe too late in the season, I've only managed to get one photo (of poor quality) of birds checking the bath out so far.