Introduction: Tea Time Fountain
This cute little fountain is a perfect project for a tea-enthusiast. It could also be easily modified to suit a coffee theme, but no one drinks coffee in my household. This project takes several days to complete, due to the need for the waterproof sealant to cure.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
To start this project, you will need:
- A teapot
- A teacup (or two!)
- A bowl
- A basin
- A small pump
- Waterproof silicone sealant
- A glass/tile drill bit
- Masking tape
- A pen/marker
My teapot, teacup,bowl, and basin were all thrift store finds. I had the hardest time finding a small-ish teapot, so I would recommend starting with that. Use the size of your teapot to determine the basin. You'll need a bowl to hide the pump, so make sure that fits int he basin too, along with the teacup.
I used a pump purchased from Menard's specifically for small and tabletop fountains. It was about $15, I am guessing most other hardware stores would carry something similar for a similar price. Test your pump before you start making your fountain
My other supplies also came from Menard's. I used tubing with a 1/2" outer diameter and 3/8" inner diameter, since i wanted a moderate flow from my fountain. My drill bit was a 1/2" glass/tile drill bit. I would recommend getting the special bit if you don't want to crack your ceramic pieces.
Step 2: Bust Out Your Drill
You'll need to drill a hole in both your bowl and you teapot in order to create a space for the tubing to come through.
This was the hardest part of the project. I would recommend having a practice item to drill through if you've never drilled through ceramic before. It does take a while to get through a piece, so be forewarned. your bit is going to get hot, drilling might cause a little smoke, and wear earplugs because teapots sound angry when drilled.
I put a little masking tape over the surface I was drilling, and marked the spot for the hole with a pen. The drill bit does try to shift across the smooth surface, and the masking tape helps to reduce that effect a little bit.
Go slowly until you create a small divet so you don't end up with marks all over. I pulsed the drill while applying downward pressure, then just went for it.
Once you'be gotten through the ceramic, cut a small test piece of tube to see if it fits. If it does- you're done! If not, keep drilling! Don't worry if the hole is a little big. That's why you have sealant.
*My bowl had scalloped edges, so I didn't need to worry about where the pump cord would go. If your bowl is not scalloped, consider drilling a hole right at the rim of your bowl for the cord.
Step 3: Test and Seal
This is the step that might take a few days. I set up my fountain by using the bowl to conceal the pump and having a small length of tubing that ran through the bowl and the teapot. I did an initial test after drilling to see how much sealant I needed.
My teapot had a little drain thingy inside the pot that prevented me from running the tubing straight through the spout, so I chose to create a model where I simply let the pot fill, and have gravity force the water out the spout. I had small gaps around the tubing on both my bowl and my teapot. Really small gaps are not an issue, but big one are. Those cause leaks, and leaks do not fill teapots.
My first action was to seal the area around the tubing and the bowl. I put the tubing on the pump with the bowl on top, and marked where it came through. I removed the pump, and sealed the area I had marked. Silicone sealant has a 24-hr curing period, so I left my bowl and tube outside to cure, since the sealant smells noxious.
Once the tube was firmly secured to the bowl with no leaks, I put the teapot on top and added sealant around the base of the tube. Back outside for another 24 hours the whole thing went. After that, I put a line of sealant around the top of the teapot and stuck the lid on to prevent it from overflowing. (Sealing the tube and the lid should be separate steps to let the sealant properly cure.)
Step 4: Adding a Teacup
Once your sealant has cured (finally), it's time for another test run. The pump I used had a lever on the side that allowed me control the rate of intake for the pump. When I tested the pump after purchase on full, I had fears for my little teapot. I set mine to about 2/3 of full intake and that seems to work fine.
Once you have an idea of where and how quickly the water comes out the spout, you can go ahead and set your teacup. I used a demitasse cup (half the regular size) to help control water flow. The basin I used is a bit shallow, and it takes a lot of water to use the fill and pour method. Using a smaller cup helped me to ensure that I had enough motion to make the fountain cute, but not so a large a cup that I had more water circulating than my basin could hold.
Step 5: Finishing Touches and Final Notes
Neither my bowl/teapot or teacup is currently sealed down, since my fountain is semi-mobile and doesn't have a permanent home. It's easier for me to transport as separate pieces. You could seal everything down, but make sure that if you seal the pump underneath your bowl that it has some way to pull in water. A pump that can't get any water makes for a very dull fountain.
You could easily add pebbles, marbles, or even those weird rocks for fish bowls to add a little life to your fountain basin. Mine needed to be semi-mobile, so I am passing on those for now. Other accents like a second teacup, a creamer, a small figurine (use a clear spray coating to make it waterproof if it didn't start life that way), etc. can add a little interest to your fountain. I had two teacups to start with, but things happen when you're klutzy.