Introduction: Concrete Tree Log Waterfall Fountain
In this instructable, I show you how to make a water fountain with an original design inspired by nature. I tried to make the shape of the fountain look perfectly like real tree logs. This technique is called "Faux Bois" which refers to the artistic imitation of wood or wood grains in various media. It’s fun to make and you can use it as an awesome decoration indoor or in your garden.
- Metal ruler 50cm
- Hot Glue Gun: Link
- Soldering Iron
- Universal pliers
- Pottery Clay Tools: Link
- Painting Palette Knives: Link
- Masonry trowel
- Acrylic Paint Brush: Link
- Mini Submersible Pump: Link
- PVC Tube: 6mm inlet diameter (for the pump)(Optional)
- Corrugated Plastic Panel: 1mx2m
- Fine mesh 2mm: 1mx2m
- Sand: 10kg
- Ordinary Cement: 20kg
- Acrylic Paint: Link
- Epoxy Resin + Hardener: 70g
Step 1: 1st Log - Sand Casting
We start with the preparation of the corrugated plastic mold frame. We use a cutter to cut 4 rectangles with the dimensions: 50x13cm, 50x13cm, 23x13cm and 23x13cm. Using a hot glue gun, glue the cut pieces to obtain the frame shown in the attached photo.
We fill the frame made with wet sand. Be sure to pack the sand well so that it retains the desired shape after removing the frame. You can use the masonry trowel or directly with your hands to pack the sand well.
Then the frame is removed from the mold gently and slowly in one upward direction.
Then I use a metal ruler to round the top two corners of the sand mold. You will find attached the explanatory photos of this stage.
Step 2: 1st Log - Concrete Basic Shape
We move on to the preparation of the concrete mix. In this whole project, I follow the same ratios of the mixture: 2.5 cups cement +1 cup sand + water. Only I vary the quantity of water to arrive at the consistency of the desired mixture. Always the first layer of concrete is the most diluted.
In the first layer, I pour the diluted concrete over the sand mold. We gradually cover everything with concrete. This step requires a lot of concentration, you have to work very slowly and long. The risk of the sand collapsing is significant.
After 1 hour, the upper part of the log is covered with a fine mesh (50x70cm). The fine mesh is necessary to give more strength to the log and to minimize cracks. Then we move on to the second layer of concrete. The concrete mix of this layer is less diluted. Be sure to cover all the fine mesh with the same thickness.
Step 3: 1st Log - Concrete Sculpting & Base
After half an hour, I gently sculpt rounded lines of different lengths in the two lateral semi-circles of the tree log. I also sculpt some radiuses of a circle. With these engravings, I am trying to imitate the same grooves of the real tree log.
To make the third layer of concrete, cover both sides of the trunk by following the method illustrated in the attached photos.
I generally use the painting palette knives in my concrete projects, it helps me a lot to achieve the desired shapes.
We finish this step by making the base. It is important to ensure the balance of the whole fountain. The base is 40cm long and 12cm wide and 2cm thick.
Painting Palette Knives: Link
Step 4: 1st Log - Basin
After at least 24 hours of drying, the tree log is overturned and brought to its final position. We start by unloading 3cm of the entire upper part of the sand. Afterward, a basin of dimension 15x23xm is dug from the front.
We build the remaining wall of the basin of thickness 12 mm in concrete. This wall is built on plastic sheets on all its sides so that it can be removed afterward to discharge all the remaining sand.
Do not forget to make a hole in the wall of 1cm diameter at the bottom of the basin so that the water can pass through to the pumping chamber.
Then we build the ceiling of the water pumping chamber 2cm thick. Always with the same principle, between the first layer and the second in fine mesh. Do not forget to make a 9cm diameter hole for the passage of the electric wires and the tube of the mini water pump.
Step 5: 1st Log - Sand Emptying
After at least 24 hours of drying, we move on to the stage of total sand discharge. To facilitate this emptying operation, I remove the removable wall from the basin. The sand area can be washed with a water jet to ensure the cleanliness of the pumping chamber. We end up fixing the wall permanently with cement in its initial position.
Step 6: 2nd Log - Sand Casting
The same operations described in the step of making the sand mold of the 1st tree log are followed, except that the dimensions of the mold of the second tree log are: 33x19x13cm.
Step 7: 2nd Log - Concrete Basic Shape
Step 8: 2nd Log - Making the Spout
We go directly to the building of the spout of this part of the fountain. The spout is important for directing the flow of water. At the bottom of the tree log, we open a rectangular opening of 2x8cm dimension. Using the same wet sand, we form the shape with the dimensions shown in the attached photo. We cover the sand with the same thickness (1cm) of the concrete. After a period of between 30-60 minutes depending on the temperature of the room, we cut the excess parts using a new cutter blade while following the operations shown in the attached photos.
Step 9: 2nd Log - Basin
The same operations described in step 4 are carried out to unload the sand and dig the basin. the dimensions of the basin are 14x19xm. Then, to build the support of the 3rd tree trunk, we cover the sand with concrete and put fine mesh to give more strength. I made a rectangular hole for the passage of the pump tube and to allow the discharge of the sand after drying. The dimension of the hole is 10x12cm.
Step 10: 2nd Log - Sand Emptying
After drying (24 hours), I remove the rectangular piece and start the sand discharge. The sand emptying is done using a spoon. I also used a water jet to better empty the sand.
Step 11: Making the 3rd Tree Log
This is the last and simplest tree log. The dimensions of the sand mold are 16x15cm. Now we have enough experience to redo the previous steps to arrive at the desired tree log shape and presented by the attached photos.
I made the hole with the same pump tube (6mm). Be careful not to let the tree log dry out completely otherwise you cannot easily dig it. Regarding sculpture, I always use the same tools already mentioned. I really like mushrooms, that's why I added several of them in this project :). The spout of the tree log has the same dimensions as the 2nd log presented in step 8.
Step 12: Paint
Step 13: Coat With Epoxy Resin
Adding epoxy resin to a painting or art piece enhances the colors and gives the piece a glossy, clean finish. A clear coat of resin also provides added protection from general wear or scratches. Although the results glisten for themselves, the process requires patience, preparation, and care. In our project, epoxy resin is also used to hardening, waterproof, and prevent leakage.
I chose to make epoxy resin layers inside mini barils, the spouts, and the basin only, that is to say in all the surfaces in contact with water. But, you can do a full epoxy resin coating of the whole fountain.
You need 2 disposable cups for mixing, a Stirring popsicle, Gloves, Protective eyewear, and a brush.
Make two coats of resin spaced 24 hours apart for drying.
Step 14: Pumping System & Fountain Assembly
For the circulation of water and to operate the fountain, we need a submersible mini-pump, a PVC tube of the same diameter as the pump (6mm), and a universal AC / DC 3-12v adapter for the variation of the water flow.
- Connect the pump with the tube,
- Put the mini-pump into the pumping area through the 9cm hole.
- Put the 2nd tree log on the 1st log. Be sure to pass the pump tube through the lower and upper holes of the 2nd log
- Put the 3rd tree log on the 2nd log. Make sure to enter the pump tube into the 6mm hole in the 3rd log.
Mini Water Pump minimum 800 l/h Submersible: Link
Step 15: Start-up
To put the fountain into operation, it is necessary to start by pouring a quantity of 6 litres of water into the basins. We turn on the 3-12V adapter and I varied the voltage from 6 to 12V until the best flow is reached.
To use the fountain outdoors, be sure to better protect the wires and electrical connectors from the rain.
Watch the video tutorial 👉 Link
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