Introduction: Slate Tabletop Fountain

Sure you could buy a tabletop fountain. But you they are so overpriced and you can make it much better one yourself for under $25.00. If you have done any tiling, you should have some or all of these tools from you tiling project. Otherwise you can pick up all of these at your local Home Do it yourself store.

Materials you will need:
1. 3-4 pieces of 12x12 inch Slate Tiles (or any other ceramic or stone tile) Preperably something that is safe for bathrooms so it doesn't absorb too much water.
2. Tile adhesive. I prefer a high stick wall adhesive similar to OmniGrip. You only need a little bit so the smallest container you can find.
3. Tabletop fountain pump. (Mine cost $10.00 from a garden store)
4. silicone caulking.
5. (optional) Water sealant for tile. You only need this if your tile absorbs moisture over time. Slate and some stone tile do absorb moisture.

Equipment you will need:
Wet Tile Saw

Step 1: Determine the Size of Your Fountain Base.

If you are making an all slate fountain you are limited to a base of 12x12 inches. Personally unless you have a really big fountain planned, I recommend not having a base larger then 8x8 inches. This gives you lots of space to create an overhang upto 12x12 inches.

For this example we will be creating a 8x8 inch base with an 9 inch top. This allows about 1 inch overhang over the base.

To build the base is pretty simple.
1. Using a wet tile saw, cut the 12x12 tile down to 8x8 inches.
2. Cut two 8x2 inch stripes from the remaining 4x8.
3. You can take the two 2x8 pieces and place them on the 8x8. Using a pencil and either a scrape piece of tile or a new tile, measure the size of the tile to finish the box. It should be 8 inches minus the width of 2 tiles. Mine was 7 1/2 inches. So I cut two 2x7 1/2 inch tiles.
3a. If you chose, you can cut a little notch into one of the side walls. This hole will be used to feed the pump into the unit so that it can't be seen. Keep in mind, you will have to seal it so will make it almost impossible to replace the pump if it breaks down.
4. Assemble the 5 pieces to make a slate box.
5. Use Tile adhesive to bond the pieces together. I am pretty liberal with the adhesive. Once it has set for a few minutes, I come back with a damp cloth and clean up the edges.

Step 2: Creating the Overhang for Your Base.

The overhang is very important for the look of the fountain.

You don't need to do an overhang, but it gives a nice finish to the base unit and it hides the adhesive we will use to glue the base. To make the overhang you need to cut a tile so that there is a square in the middle. Now I'm sure you can somehow cut the center out without cutting the tile in two, but I'm taking the easy way out.

What you want is a hole that is smaller the the base about 1/2 inch to keep the look of the base very clean. I usually do the overhang about 1 1/2 inches.

1. To cut the overhang on a wet saw you start with a tile and cut it down to the base size (8x8 inches) + 1 inch (ie 9x9).
2. You then cut the square into 2 equal triangles.
3. Finally you cut two smaller triangles into the bigger triangle. the size of the triangle should be the size of your base unit (8x8) minus 1/2 to 1 inch. In my case I did 3/4 of an inch.

Step 3: Building the Tower.

Well we have a dish now. We need some height for the water. We need to build a tower. To build a tower is really simple. Cut 4 pieces of slate the same size. In my example, I did 2x7 inch strips. The next step is to bond them together using tile adhesive. I recommend doing the butt joint method. This way when the adhesive is dry, we can apply some grout if needed and cover up any joints that have white adhesive in them. If you can find grey adhesive, I recommend using it so you can avoid grouting anything.

Once the adhesive is dry you can use some grout to hide any adhesive is showing. If you don't have grout, you can use a black permanent marker to darken any white adhesive to hide it.

Step 4: Making the Top of the Tower.

The top of tower is simply a square with a hole in it. Your water pump should come with the output hose. Figure out the size of hose and cut a hole to fit the hose in a piece of tile. The piece of tile doesn't have to square or even a clean cut. All that it needs to be is larger then size of the tower so the water flows over and down the tower. To cut a hole in the tile, I used a simple drill and cut a hole. I recommend putting some water on the drill bit so it doesn't overheat or break the bit.

Step 5: Assembling the Whole Thing.

When you are ready put the water pump in the middle of the dish. Then put the tower over top of it. Feed the pump output tube up into the hole at the top of the tower. Put some adhesive on the top of the dish edges and press the overhang on top of it. Once the adhesive dries I recommend putting some water in the dish and see if the water leaks out. If you have a leak, I recommend some silicon caulking to fix it. Anyway, when you are ready, put some water in it and you have yourself a fountain.