I live in a gated courtyard building in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood. We have two columns at our entryway that I wanted to design large, realistic, but thematic statuary for their tops during the Halloween season. I also love crows, and that classic Edgar Allen Poe- haunted aesthetic. I think they look great on these columns, but there are many places they could look just as dramatic. You can build these without too much trouble for far less than you would spend on similarly sized statuary.
Step 1: Materials
For each statue, you'll need:
-Crow decoy, Carry-lite brand Model # 5650P, available from many online resellers.
-Plastic squirrel baffle with a diameter that matches the interior of your planter. I've used a two-way domed baffle. Buy this squirrel baffle here.
-Plastic urn planter, available at your local home improvement and garden center and some online sources. I've used the Southern Patio Model # UU1906
-Paint: Gold spray paint, flat black spray paint, flat black latex paint, turquoise color "patina" paint. A spray bottle will also help.
-Spray Foam: Great Stuff:gaps and cracks
-Epoxy putty:Loctite or other brand
Step 2: Preparing the Crow Decoy
Your crow decoy has holes running through it for the ground spike it comes with. Using spray foam insulation, fill in the cavities to provide some support for the epoxy putty in a later step. Mount the crow to the squirrel baffle, placing the hole of the decoy over the center post of the baffle. Using four longer screws to secure it in place from within the baffle into the decoy base. Then continue using the spray foam insulation to fill in the space between the decoy and the baffle.
Once all the foam insulation is cured and firm, trim away any excess to permit you to effectively apply epoxy putty as the finished solid surface. Working in small batches, mix the two parts of your putty together and press into place around the base of the decoy, fusing it to the squirrel baffle. Finish filling the holes of the decoy, adding impressions to blend the patch with the surrounding plastic.
Step 3: Paint Process
Begin by painting everything with gold metallic spray paint intended for use on plastic, or first with a plastic primer.
Once dry, paint about a 75% density coat of bronze finish spray paint on the decoy/baffle component, though I've learned a flat or satin finish black spray paint might be just as effective.
I used a 50% water diluted flat black latex paint over planter. The planter is less exposed to the elements and the latex paint is less likely to wear off in the rain on that component. The diluted latex paint permits more control over shading and texture than the spray paint.
The top coat is an aprox. 75% water diluted turquoise paint sprayed at all items with a squeeze spray bottle. This method will create a patina in a natural formation. I recoated 2-3 more times until I got the look I desired.
Step 4: Assemble and Display
Using sharp and sturdy snips, I carefully cut a few tiny v-shaped notches from the base of the baffle to permit rainwater to drain into the planter base, where it can drain through the base. A plastic gallon jug of water placed inside the planter adds weight. If you are using the materials I specified, you will see that the squirrel baffle fits perfectly together without the need for further connectivity, otherwise you may need an adhesive to hold those elements together.
I think they look realistic enough to add a sophisticated and dramatic air of mystery wherever they are displayed.
I wanted to add some architectural-style uplighting to them for night time illumination. To create the illusion of lighting installed in the column, I used super low profile, low-power, waterproof LED lights. They were warm white in color, but I used a light brown theatrical gel to match them to the nearby existing architectural lights. I added two lights below the urn on the surface of the column, and two more hidden in the seam between the urn and the squirrel baffle in order to uplight the crow portion of the statue as well. They are all soldered together to a 12v power supply which is safely suspended inside the urn, just under the crow to prevent any potential moisture damage. "Little Dot" SMD accent light