I have been making PVC pipe birds for quite a few years now and love it. They are so unique and are a fun craft to make and even sell at your local farmers market or right from your home.
Ok, let's get started!
Start by creating a pattern on a piece of paper. This part is frustrating and can get rather expensive and time consuming trying to create an even and proportional pattern. I wasted a lot of time and even more money trying to get a pattern that looked great once it had been cut, heated and reshaped.
I have now created 35+ pvc pipe patterns for making birds, pets, parrots, holiday pieces, little kids and so much more. I've also put all of my patterns into a PDF so that you can download and print my patterns and get started today.
You will need:
heat proof gloves
4" PVC pipe
sandpaper or file
drill and drill bit
spray paint for plastics
clear acrylic spray sealer
Step 1: Trace and Cut Out Your Pattern
Next, trace your pattern onto a 4" PVC pipe.
With your pattern traced onto your pipe you are ready to start cutting it out. Put on your safety glasses and get out your jig saw. Use your jig saw to cut around your entire pattern. Once you have your pattern cut out, use some sandpaper or a file to smooth out all of the sharp edges. Make sure to follow your manufacturers directions on your jig saw so that you are safely and properly using your equiptment.
Step 2: Heat and Shape
Now put on your heat proof gloves for this step as heat guns get extremely hot and your pvc pipe can get extremely hot too, if you're new to this! Also be sure to follow your manufacturers directions so that you are properly and safely using your heat gun.
What you're are going to do is heat up your pvc piece to just warm/hot enough so that you can reshape it. You are not melting it. I like to work from the top of the bird down, but you can do it however you would like. Start by aiming your heat gun at the area you plan to reshape. Heat the are just enough to make it pliable so that it will bend into it's new shape. Keep it in it's new shape until it has completely cooled. I like to hold it in place so that I can make little tweaks to it while it continues to cool. Alternatively, you can place the area into a bucket of cold water to get it to cool down faster.
Continue heating and reshaping your entire PVC piece until you have the entire piece reshaped.
Step 3: Make Your Bird Stand Up
You will need a way to make your bird stand up so we like to drill a hole in each foot so that we can use screws to attach him to something such as a concrete brick, a wood block, etc.
Take your drill and drill bit and make a hole into each foot. Make sure the drill bit you use is big enough to fit the screw through, but not too big so that the head of the screw will still anchor your bird.
Step 4: Paint
Once your bird is all cleaned up he is ready for paint. If your bird has manufacturers ink on it you can remove it with some acetone and a white cloth or even by using a little sander and sanding it off.
Next you're ready for paint. Make sure to use spray paint that is meant for plastic. When you have your piece painted, I like to give my piece at least 2 coats of a clear acrylic spray sealer to help protect the paint job.
Step 5: Display Your Piece
This will completely depend on which PVC piece you made and how you plan to display it. Some of my pieces will sit on a step of a ledge and some need to be secured to something so that they stand up right.
I like to secure my free standing pieces onto a small concrete brick so that he won't tip over and so that I can easily move him if I want to.
Here you can see how I secured my woodpecker to my tree by putting some screws right into the tree and sliding him in place. My small egret is attached with screws into a neat piece of driftwood that I had found.
Step 6: More PVC Art Pieces
Here's just a few photos of some of the other pieces I have done. All of the patterns for these pieces are also available in PDF format so all you have to do is download and print.