Looking for a quick craft to add interest and color to your garden? How about a gift without spending a lot of money? Glass Garden Flowers, also known as plate flowers, are the perfect fit!
- tube e6000 glue
- cotton swab
- various plates, saucers, cups, candle holders, lids, condiment dishes, etc.
- PVC elbow pieces, conduit connectors, bud vases, etc. for back
- paper towel
- sheet/drop cloth – not mandatory, but will make clean up easier
- Pipe or rebar, to act as a “stem”
Gather various ceramic or glass pieces. Plastic ones work, too, but may not hold up in cold weather. I picked up an assortment while at a thrift store. Turned out to be “50% off everything” day. The pieces I picked up ranged in price from $0.25-$1. I could have spent more, but was looking to make several without spending a lot out-of-pocket.
Clean pieces. To get glue, residual stickers, and marker off, use a cotton swab dipped in acetone. (You can pick up a bottle of finger nail polish remover and cotton swabs from the Dollar Tree if you do not have any.) I find it easier to pour a bit into the lid and wet the swabs from there.
Pair pieces together to get the look you want. Play around with the arrangements. Not all combinations looked like I thought they would, while others surprisingly worked.
Once you get them arranged like you want, take a picture if you plan on moving them. 😉
Glue pieces together. Working with one group at a time, deconstruct the stack. Working from the bottom up, glue pieces together.
Glue connector on the back. After letting the pieces dry enough not to move, flip the stack over and glue a connector piece on the back.
There are many various ways to do this. I tried three – using a bud vase, using conduit connectors and using PVC pipe elbows. Each has their benefits and drawbacks.
Bud vases – can be found cheaply and often in abundance. However, if the vase is too big, the flower will “dropped” on the support post. These also add weight.
Conduit connectors – cost a bit more (around $0.40 each in a pack of 5), are stocked at local hardware stores, and lighter in weight than vases.
One potential downside I noticed is the open side pointing up. This means rain can go down your support pipe, if it also happens to be hollow. If you live in a cold region this may result in snow, ice, or freezing of precipitation in this area. A solution would be to glue a coin or small metal piece on top of these.
PVC elbows – light weight, cost me around $0.40 each, found commonly at local hardware stores (or leftover from a DIY project), easy to attach, and snug fit to post. Not sure how these hold up in cold weather, as I have not tested them.
One lesson I did learn, thankfully before the glue cured completely, was to place the metal connectors far enough back from the edge of the plates so the posts can actually fit into them. Be aware of the lip along the bottom of the plate!
Create, install, and attach to a support stem. This can be a variety of items, anything which is strong enough to support the weight of the flower. Some use rebar, conduit pipes, or other metal structures. PVC pipe is too flexible to use and would potentially break under the weight and deteriorate from being exposed to the weather.
If your flower is small enough, you may be able to use copper pipe. I love the color these add, though it is more expensive and was too flexible for the weight I was working with.
I cut my poles to 2.5 ft, pounded them into the ground about 6 inches (till they felt secure), then placed the flowers on top. While I did not use rebar the help support the flowers, I believe I will do so in the Spring, due to the kind of soil we have. Inserting a foot or foot and a half into the ground, then sliding the “stem” over it would be an even sturdier option in my garden.