I have wanted a fountain in the backyard for a while, both because of the calming and soothing nature of water, along with the added benefit of drowning out some undesirable noise from around our neighborhood.
What we wanted:
- A relatively small fountain due to limited space in our yard
- A fountain that would fit in with our personal vibe
- EASY to make
We happen to drink English Breakfast Tea nearly every morning and sometimes in the late afternoon as well, so I decided on that for the theme of the fountain.
In this Instructable, I will show you how to easily make this beautiful fountain. Perhaps you will be inspired and come up with your own personal fountain idea while using the basic elements of this tutorial.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Parts, Materials, and Tools
- Teacup pot planter
- Teapot - I got mine off eBay, but search around on Craigslist, garage sales, thrift stores, etc.
- Polished river rocks (these can be found at art supply stores like Michael's) - I used 4 bags
- Marble accent stones (also found at art supply stores) - I used 2 bags
- PVC Vinyl Tubing, Clear, 1/2" inner diameter. x 3/4" outer diameter, sold by the foot - I used 10 feet
- Submersible water pump
- E6000 craft adhesive
- Epoxy putty (I chose Fix Your Things PC Marine from my local hardware store)
- 2' of 1/2" diameter copper tubing or piping (local hardware store, hopefully they cut it for you like my store did!)
- 2 x 1/2" copper male adapters (local hardware store)
- 1 x 1/2" copper 45° street elbow (I didn't know what a street elbow was, but your hardware store will)
- 2 x 1/2" galvanized floor flange + 4 galvanized screws (not pictured) to attach one of the flanges to a post
Tools: (pictured throughout Instructable)
- Diamond drill bits
- Electrical tape
- Knife or scissors
Optional: (pictured throughout Instructable)
- Extension cord for exterior use if the cord from the pump doesn't reach an outlet - mine is a 10 foot cord
- Latex (or similar) gloves (not pictured)
- Cotton swabs for applying E6000 adhesive
Oh yeah......and WATER!!
A brief note:
This Instructable looks as if it has a lot of steps, but is really quite a simple project, easily done in a weekend, with most of the time being spent waiting for some glue to dry and cure.
Step 2: Find Your Spot!
Look around your location and find where the most desirable position will be for your fountain. Make sure you choose a spot where you have fairly close access to a plug for your water pump, and also a place where you can attach the "arm" (copper tubing) that will hold the teapot in place.
Place your water receptacle (teacup) and your water fountain (teapot) in their approximate positions to get a feel for what it will look like. You can also approximate the length of the clear PVC tube you will purchase, along with the length of your copper tubing coming out from the fence/wall. Don't forget to figure in the length of the cord from your pump, and if it won't reach your outlet, you will need to get an extension cord for exterior use.
Once you choose your spot, it really helps to draw a diagram on a piece of paper to help figure out where the clear PVC tubing will run. Same with the water pump cord and extension cord if you are using one. Plot out everything!
Since I was using a wrought iron plant stand with a glass top, I had to figure out if I was going to drill a hole through the glass to accommodate my cords or if I would run the cords along the top of the table and then to their respective places. I opted to drill holes through the glass so I could run both the pump cord and the clear PVC tubing down through the bottom of the planter pot (I drilled holes in it) and then through the glass so they would be as inconspicuous as possible. The pictures in the next step should help with this concept.
Step 3: Drill Your Holes....carefully!
This was a nail-biter for me as I had never drilled through ceramic or glass before. So with a little research, I found that diamond drill bits were necessary to do this, along with continuous or semi-continuous spraying of cold water to keep everything cool. Turns out it was pretty easy!
I found a diamond drill bit kit on Amazon for a pretty low price of under $10 and it had great reviews so I purchased it.
With the help of my wife (she sprayed the cold water while I drilled), I successfully drilled a hole into the bottom of a ceramic pot as a test run. Success! It was actually pretty easy. Here are the steps I took to drill holes through the teacup planter pot, the teapot, and the glass top to the wrought iron plant stand:
- Using the diagram I drew of my plans, I figured out where each hole needed to go, and I marked the correct size hole with a dry erase marker. You can use pencil, or permanent marker, or whatever, but know that once water sprays on it, it may wash away. But once you start drilling, it won't matter because you already are in the spot you want to be in.
- Choose and attach the correct size diamond drill bit to your drill, and start drilling at an angle to the piece you are drilling into. Keep the drill at a rather low speed. This is a somewhat slow process. You don't even want to push down on the drill much at all. Let the drill bit do its work slowly but surely, all the while keeping cold water from a hose sprayed onto bit and the hole you are drilling to keep it all cool. If you don't spray water, it will all get HOT and can crack/shatter! Not good! Be patient!
- Once you feel that a groove has been made, you can then start drilling straight on to the piece. In other words, you no longer have to drill at an angle. That is only done to get the groove started, so slowly start tilting your drill so it is facing straight on to the piece you are drilling into. See the videos for examples of how I did it.
- It helps to have a second person helping you, but if you are by yourself, it can still be done. Just drill for a 5-10 seconds, and then stop, spray for a few seconds, and then continue drilling. This makes for an even slower process, but it can definitely be done.
- Keep drilling until you finally pop through the other side. Wash out any residual ceramic dust/pieces, and if drilling through glass, there WILL be tiny glass shards, splinters, dust, etc. I did mine on a towel both to keep the glass from getting scratched, but also to catch any glass as I drilled through. This was a smart move.
I first drilled a large hole through the bottom of the planter pot (there was already a small drain hole in the bottom of pot).
After drilling the large hole , I placed it on the glass table, and then drew circles with my dry erase marker ONTO the glass table top THROUGH the holes in the bottom of the pot. This insured that the holes would properly line up, enabling me to insert the water pump cord and the clear PVC tubing through their respective holes in the planter pot and then through the glass table top.
I then drilled two different size holes through the glass table top. Sure enough, they lined up perfectly the holes in the planter pot.
I had one hole left to drill into the teapot for the clear PVC tubing. The water will be coming in the teapot from the PVC tubing. I would have liked to have drilled into the bottom of the teapot but that is where the galvanized floor flange was going, so I opted for a hole on the back side of the pot, a little bit to the side and down from the lower part of the teapot handle. It was the best spot possible for the PVC tubing from a visual standpoint.
All holes were drilled successfully and took maybe 10-15 minutes for all holes to be completed. Not bad at all, and in my opinion, the hardest part was over.
Step 4: Cords, Tubes, and Rocks!
Time to feed your pump cord and your PVC tubing through the holes that you made in the planter pot. But wait!
Instead of drilling a very large hole so the PLUG of your pump cord can be fed through, we are cutting the pump cord with wire cutters or scissors, and feeding the pump end of the cord down through the bottom of the planter pot. When cutting the pump cord, cut about 8-12 inches distance from the plug. This leaves you with most of the pump cord still attached to the pump itself, and gives you quite a bit of slack when feeding the wire through the hole and also when reattaching the cut wire to the other cut portion of the pump wire. See pictures above for specifics.
After cutting the pump wire, you will want to strip about 1/2" or so of the insulation off the ends of the wire. You will see two copper wires in the end of your cut portion. Using your fingers, or the tip of your scissors (or knife), split this wire in half so the two copper wires are separated. See the sixth picture above to see what the wire looks like once separated. Then using either wire strippers or carefully using a knife, strip the 1/2" or so off the end of each wire. If using a knife, do not cut the copper wire! Only cut the insulation (rubber part) off the wire.
Once done, feed that part of the wire down through the hole in the bottom of the pot (there can be some loose cord left IN the planter pot next to the pump so you can move the pump where you want to a little later.
Now you will need to close up that hole in the bottom of the pot so no water can leak through. This is where your marine putty comes in. The marine putty I used was super simple! I did wear gloves though the package said it wasn't necessary unless you have sensitive skin. I didn't take a chance so I wore them. Break off enough of the putty to fill the small hole. The putty has two different colors, green and white. You simply mash them together with your fingers until the color of the putty becomes uniform which means it is ready for use. I recommend putting some putty both on the inside of the pot and also on the outside bottom of the pot to completely fill in and cover the small hole around the pump cord that you have just fed through.
This putty gives about 15 minutes of work time, enough time to work with it before it hardens and you can't change anything, but it only took me about 20-30 seconds to fill the hole. This putty takes about an hour to fully harden. This part could not have been easier.
In the meantime while that hardens, connect your PVC tubing to the pump, again, leaving some extra slack within the planter pot. I curled some of the PVC tubing around the inside of the planter pot like a cat curling up on a pillow in a warm sunny window. The tubing shape naturally wanted to do that. Once connected, feed the rest of the tubing through the large hole previously drilled in the bottom of the pot. Once done, use more epoxy putty to cover the larger hole in and around the PVC tubing, again, both in the pot and also on the outside bottom of the pot.
I propped the planter pot up a little bit so the putty wouldn't dry and harden on my table. You may want to do the same.
I took a little break at this point to let it all harden.
Once hardened, move your planter pot to the glass table, inserting both the pump cord and the PVC tubing through the holes drilled in the GLASS table top (a perfect fit, hopefully!).
Well done so far!
You can start to fill your planter pot with your rocks/stones at this point. Make sure your pump is where you want it to be, along with your cord and PVC tubing. You can always remove the rocks and move them if you have to though.
Fill the planter pot to the brim, making sure to cover your PVC tubing so it can't be seen. I had to move a few rocks around to do this, as part of the PVC tubing was a bit close to the rim of the planter pot.
Leave the cord and PVC tubing that is hanging through the bottom of your table. We will work with them a little later.
Step 5: You Can't Have Tea Without a TEAPOT!
Time to put together the parts that will attach to your teapot, and then attach it all to your fence or wall.
Get out your E6000 glue, your teapot, your galvanized floor flanges and screws/bolts, copper elbow, copper male adapter, and copper tubing.
****Make sure you have adequate ventilation when using the glue. I started off inside the house but quickly moved outside.
Using a cotton swab, put some glue around the threads of the copper male adapter and then screw it in to one of the galvanized floor flanges. Then using the swab, put some more glue onto the smaller end of the 45° copper street elbow and insert this piece into the other end of the male adapter. Again, using the swab, apply enough glue to adhere the whole piece (floor flange, adapter, and street elbow) to the bottom of your teapot.
NOTE: MAKE SURE IT IS LINED UP CORRECTLY!
You want to make sure the 45° street elbow is lined up correctly with the teapot handle and/or teapot spout. The best way to do this is to hold the floor flange up to the bottom of the teapot BEFORE gluing it on. If it isn't lined up correctly when you glue it onto the teapot, the teapot will not sit the right way and it won't look authentic. The teapot will be tilted.
One more piece to glue....... the other street adapter to the other galvanized floor flange. This is the flange that will be screwed into the fence or wall. There is no 45° street elbow for this piece. It is only the copper male adapter and the galvanized floor flange.
We are NOT gluing the straight copper tubing so the whole unit can be taken down at any time, either for cleaning, or for the winter, or any other reason.
Leave all pieces to dry and cure, preferably overnight and upwards of 24 hours.
In the meantime, let's reconnect the cut piece of the pump cord.
Get your electrical tape, scissors/knife, and go back to your planter pot where the cut cord awaits. Of course, make sure you have the piece with the plug attached to it. Match up the correct ends of the split wires. One wire will almost always have some writing on it while the other one will not. Make sure the wires match up! You do not want to short out your pump! Twist the copper wires of each matching end together and then cover well with some electrical tape. Wind the tape nice and snug around the exposed copper wire.
Do this for the other split piece until your pump wire is made whole again.
Step 6: Almost Done!
With all the glued parts now dry and cured, it is time to start putting all these pieces together to finish off the fountain!
Insert the copper tubing into the male adapter on the TEAPOT and hold it up to the fence/wall so you can see if it is at the height that looks best. Adjust as necessary, and then mark the spot on the fence so you know where to screw in your galvanized floor flange.
Screw the galvanized floor flange (the one that ONLY has the male adapter, not the one with the adapter and the 45° street elbow) into the fence or wall using the appropriate screws or bolts. Make sure it is in line with your table with the planter pot sitting on it so everything will line up properly. If you have the space, the table/planter pot can always be moved a little to catch the water from the teapot in the right place. Hold the floor flange up to the fence or wall and with a pencil, mark your screw holes. Remove the flange temporarily while you drill holes in the wood, then put the flange on with the screws.
Once done, insert the copper tubing as far as it will go into the male adapter (the one on the fence/wall). Then pick up your teapot and insert the 45° street elbow onto the other end of the copper tubing. Your teapot should now be 'floating' mid-air!
Step 7: Secure and HIDE Your Water Pump Cord and PVC Tubing
For aesthetics, run your cord and PVC tubing down along your table legs and the ground, behind any plants if possible, hiding it all as best you can.
You can opt for twist-ties, zip-ties, Velcro straps, tape suitable for the outdoors, or as I did, string. I'll probably replace the string at some point as I suspect it'll get dirty and will wear out over time, so I see some twist-ties or zip-ties in my future.
I did my best to hide the PVC tubing with some leaves and soil on the ground, and then tucked it into a corner post of the fencing behind some jasmine, finally running the last part along the long piece of copper tubing and ending up in the teapot. From certain angles, yes, it is visible, but overall it blends in nicely. Put the end of your PVC tubing into your teapot or your own personal idea for a fountain.
If you have excess PVC tubing, see how much of it you will need to insert it into the hole you drilled in the teapot, and then running it as much as you can into the INSIDE of the spout. You will then cut off the excess with a knife or sharp scissors. I did not have to do this as I measured pretty well.
NOTE: I did not put epoxy putty in the drilled hole of the teapot as I didn't expect the water to get high enough to leak out. If it ever does, yes, I will seal it with epoxy putty.
After hiding the clear PVC tubing, you will want to do the same with the water pump cord. I plugged mine into a bright orange extension cord and I will either bury it or paint it brown to blend in with the ground.
If you are using a teapot for your fountain, remember to put the lid on! :)
Step 8: Water! or Should I Say....."tea"?
Is your mouth watering? Good! Because it's time to add your water. Fill up your planter pot with water up near the rim.
Plug the water pump into the outlet (or extension cord if you need more length to reach the outlet), and the water should now flow from the pump in your "teacup" through the PVC tubing, out of the planter pot and up to your teapot, creating the illusion of the teapot pouring "tea" into your "teacup" (or creation of your choice).
You may need to adjust the position of your teapot and/or table to catch the water in the right spot. I moved mine several times. I also realized my pump was too strong to have the teapot at the height I had it, so I moved the teapot down almost a foot. This involved drilling new holes for the galvanized floor flange and moving all the copper parts and teapot down to the new level. This solved the problem of too much splashing and water loss. If you lose too much water, the pump will run dry and burn out. Not good. Keep it filled and wet!
I added tan/brown river rocks along with golden marble accent stones to give the illusion and color of English breakfast tea.
All I need now is a giant scone with some butter and jam to go with the "tea"!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I do hope you enjoyed this Instructable and that it inspires you to create a fountain of your own, providing you with a soothing atmosphere, peace and relaxation! I would love to see what ideas you come up with. You can post a link and main image of your Instructable in the comments below.
Please feel free to ask any questions at all. I am happy to help guide you as best I can.
Thank you for reading!
Second Prize in the