Friday, April 27, 2012

Garden Glass Totems

I'm finally back home and am enjoying getting to work in my yard again. It gives me great pleasure to sit out on the back porch and watch the birds, see what's growing and "be still" for a bit and try to listen to what God is trying to tell me for the day.

This week I decided that I needed to bring some "homey-ness" into my backyard. Some people call it "yard art" and the internet is full of sites that show you how creative you can be by copying what others have done to dress up their gardens.
One such project is called "Glass Totems". They are simple and fun to make. Essentially, these are arrangements of colored or clear glass items (bowls, candle holders, vases, plates, ash trays, candy dishes, etc.) that are stacked and glued together to make a sun-catcher ornament to tuck among the plants in a flower bed.
To make one you need to go on a "treasure hunt" for items you might have around the house that you can use, check out garage sales for inexpensive odd glassware, or browse a flea market or junk store for colorful, clear, pottery, or milkglass pieces that would look good stacked together. The ones that work best are heavier pieces that have a very flat base so that pieces will stack together nicely. I found that the glass ones are prettier (and have more sparkle) if you use faceted glass (inexpensive cut glass) or pieces with some pattern to it.
You'll also need a tube of GE Silicone II (clear) for Windows and Doors. You can buy this at the local hardware store or Walmart but be sure and check the expiration date on the tube to make sure you are getting a fresh tube.
And lastly, you'll need a piece of rebar, copper tube, PVC pipe or stake to mount your totem on to show it off in your garden bed.
Now for the fun part - assemble your glass pieces, and start stacking them in an arrangement that looks good to you. Remember, some pieces will be used upside down on your totem - others used right side up.
You will need to wash each piece and dry it completety before you begin to glue the pieces together. (this is not a picture of my living room, by the way!)

After you get your "totem" pieces arranged as you like them, use a thin line of glue to put 2 pieces together at a time. Keeping the glue from coming out too thick of a bead depends on how you cut the end off of the tube. Cut it near the tip and at an angle and it won't come out in a blob - as long as you keep the tube moving.

Glue in sections, let dry completely (24 hrs), then put all the pieces together to make whole "totem" unit. (Now for the hard part) ....When the totem is complete, let it dry for a full week before putting it outside in the garden bed. This will help it last through the heat, cold, rain or snow (!) and assure that the pieces will not come unglued over time.

Mounting instructions using copper tubing, pvc pipe or stakes is explained in greater detail (along with some of the pictures in this post) at a wonderful site on the internet at
Here are some of my favorite examples that I found on sites all over the internet to show you how creative you can be with this project ... but let me warn you ... it can be addictive!!
This one was made using a clear bud vase - turned upside down, then a silverplated bowl - turned upside down on top of that, then add a candy dish (inverted) then top it off with a small bowl.

Getting the idea ??
Check out some more ....

This is NOT a picture of my yard ... yet :-)

When I get my totems finished, I'll post some of my very own pictures and show you my flower beds "adorned.


  1. Wow love these. Thanks for posting. I have lots of glass items from my family just sitting in boxes in our basement. I didn't want to get rid of them because of the memories but this will allow me to enjoy them in my garden.

  2. I have been making these wonderful glass flowers for about 4 months. They are wonderful in the yard but now winter is here and the potted plants are dying off in the cold I will be making more. Lovely to look at through the kitchen window. Gillian. Melbourne. Australia.

  3. May I ask what adhesive do you use . I've had trouble mine sticking to PVC. Your display is breathtaking