How To: Scrap metal owls in the garden…
An old box of metal odds and ends, kitchen implements and hardware can become garden art assemblages in the hands of a Flea Market Gardener. This is yard art of the most fun kind,…you can let your imagination do the rest.
Myra’s Parliament of Owls
Myra Glandon has made a parliament of ‘found object’ owls and installed them in her pine trees surrounding her garden. She says, “They’re fun, they amuse me, and will amuse my grandkids, too.”
Here’s how Myra made them:
First, collect odds and ends
I used two standing graters, a silver plated platter and a large black enamel lid off a canning pot for the owl bodies. I gathered the lids off water bottles, soda and beer caps, and lids from various foods such as pickles, pesto, dried beef, and even two red lids off the Kentucky Fried Chicken carry out containers. I used whatever I could find, which made each one a bit different.
Body and wings
I very lightly spray painted the graters brown. I didn’t want them to be perfect, I wanted light and dark on them, so they looked a little more like feathers, as you can see in the picture below. The owl below has wings made out of an old metal steamer. I removed the “fins or petals” and threw the main part of the steamer away. I bent the fins at the end to make a right angle and using a small bolt attached the wing. On the other side of the grater I had to drill a hole to insert the bolt. You attach a nut to the inside to hold them tight. (see bolt in picture)
These bottle caps had a smiling sun in the middle but I punched holes in the middle to add my bolts. I also punched a hole in the cap and lid underneath. If you look closely, you can see these lids don’t match, but they are close in size and both white. I used a small pair of old pliers I had in my scrap box for the beak and ears. I added a bolt to the middle and a nut to the inside of the grater to hold it securely.
Myra has perched her Parliament in her pine tree with airy branches so the owls can easily be spied by observant young visitors. As this show, they are hung with hooks or attached securely to branches with screws.
Myra made this owl, above from a granite-ware pot lid. The eyes are stacked red-orange plastic lids, jar lids and bottle caps. See how he’s screwed to the tree branch?
Hanging your owls
Myra’ Blue-eyed Grater owl has metal spatula wings and jar lid eyes. Notice how she bent the handle to make ‘horns’ A rusty wrench forms the beak.
For more detailed instructions for Myra’s owls, see Found object owls for our garden
Where to find Owl makings:
- Thrift shop kitchen departments
- Yard sales, …you know, in those boxes of guy’s garage junk
- Hardware stores
- Your own garage and junk drawers!
More Owlish Garden Assemblages
Andy Hamilton from Twisted Mind Rusty Metal in Lutz, Florida, welds together everyday tools and car parts to create unique recycled garden art. He calls these Florida Red Hoot Owls and custom made them for a delighted client, Liz.
Ann Elias made a clever owl from her found metal stash. She says, “I’ve been playing with my “art” supplies and I think I have this assembled how I want it. I just have to get a branch for its feet.”
Ann describes how she made it:
“The body is a pizza pan…the white part of the eyes are small ceramic bowls.. the silver in the eyes are parts to a poached egg tray…the blue part are napkins rings with a bottle cap for the center.
The beak is a serving fork… the feet are parts to a metal steamer and I’ll add a tree branch to them. The tail is the bottom to some kind of spatula. This was just me playing around with the lay out. But I will use screws and bolts to attach everything. I still want to find something to use as wings.”
Annie Grossart-Steen also made a ‘grate and gorgeous’ owl from found objects, which is her specialty. She started with a flat vintage grater for the body, which already has hash marks for ‘feet’ and forehead feathers.
She glued on antique tart tins for the wide eyes and the beak is the tip of a bottle opener. Stacked inside the tins are discarded meat grinder blades all glued together with E6000® Craft Glue and topped with black buttons. The branch is attached with wire ‘feet.’
Three of these women have their own web pages:
Myra My Mother’s Daughter
An Elias Our Garden Path Designs
Annie Grossart Steen Pondside Primitives