Friday, May 1, 2015

How I Transformed a Stone Bird Bath with Outdoor Acrylic Paints

A few years ago a dear friend gave me a bird bath which he primed with gray and black so I could paint it as I wished. This Spring I finally decided to add some color to the bird bath.

Since the shape of the bowl and base reminded me of a flower, I decided to use the "Ring of Fire" Sunflower as my inspiration.

Photo courtesy of All-America Selections

2001 AAS Flower Award Winner:
Sunflower 'Ring of Fire'
National Winner

I have used outdoor acrylic paints on my rocks and thought they would work just as well on this stone bird bath. Here are the paints I used. (My choice of brand was solely based on the color I desired and these are all 2 oz. bottles.)

  • Anita's Yard & Garden Durable Outdoor Paint - Marigold Garden
  • DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic All-Purpose Acrylic Paint - Burnt Umber (not pictured)
  • Anita's All Purpose Acrylic Craft Paint - Brick Red
  • DecoArt Patio Paint Outdoor - Orange Poppy
  • DecoArt Patio Paint Outdoor - Splendid Gold
  • DecoArt Patio Paint Outdoor - Sweet Pea
  • Anita's Yard & Garden Durable Outdoor Paint - Garden Gate White

Step 1

I did not want to take the time to re-prime the bird bath bowl. So, I first sanded the rough areas where the gray primer had worn away.

Step 2

I applied 4 coats of "Marigold Garden" (yellow) outdoor paint to cover the gray primer and added a brown center using "Burnt Umber" Crafter's Acrylic.

Step 3

To add a little pizazz, I painted a line of "Splendid Gold" Patio Paint around each petal shape.

Step 4

To paint the "ring of fire" around the brown center, I mixed "Orange Poppy" Patio Paint with "Brick Red" Acrylic Craft Paint and brushed strokes out from the center toward the petal shapes.

Next, I stroked lines over the reddish-orange "ring of fire" using the "Splendid Gold" and "Brick Red" paint.

Step 5

To finish up the bird bath bowl, I painted "Splendid Gold" around the brown center and dabbed the same color inside the brown circle. Lastly, I painted "Splendid Gold" ovals inside the petal shapes.

Step 6

Because the base was primed with black, I primed the petal shapes around the lower portion of the base with white outdoor paint. 

Next, I used the "Sweet Pea" (green) patio paint to cover the stem and leaf section of the base. Once I painted the light green hue over the base, the leaves sculpted in the stone base became more visible and I decided to leave them "as is" rather than detail them any further. 

"Splendid Gold" was painted around the top portion. (The very bottom remained the existing gray color.)

Step 7

Although I used paint formulated specifically for outdoor projects, I also sealed the bird bath base and bowl with 3 coats of Delta Ceramcoat Satin Exterior/Interior Varnish (a polyurethane sealer).

Here's a bird's eye view of the brightly-painted bird bath in the garden.

Tips & Ideas

One, 2-oz. bottle of paint (in the colors mentioned above) was enough to cover the bird bath with plenty left over for other projects.

Bird bath bowls can become slimy and icky. I've been told hydrogen peroxide can be used to clean the bowl. In addition, salt or baking soda can be used to scrub off the slime.

My solution to a slimy bird bath bowl is to place a plastic coffee can lid in the center. The lid is easily removed to toss the old water into the garden and add fresh water for the birds.

I also surround the plastic lid with stones as a perch for the birds. I have noticed my visiting birds prefer drinking over bathing. 

Useful Link

© Cindy Thomas Painted Rocks 


  1. gr8 tips...colors look vibrant! <3

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa. I enjoy sharing what I learn. This project's biggest surprise was that 2 oz. bottles of paint were plenty to cover the bird bath with enough left over for other rock painting projects.

  2. Very Creative, stylish and colorful designs of Stone Bird Baths best for outdoor home decor. Thanks for sharing article!

  3. I just found your site. Very creative ideas. Love how you painted the flower on this birdbath

    1. Thanks, stamperwithdayjob. Painting the birdbath was a nice change from painting rocks.

  4. I'm trying to repaint a fiberglass/resin birdbath. I love your sunflower. Where do you buy outdoor patio paint?

    1. Thanks for the compliment about my sunflower, Carla. I purchased the patio paint at Hobby Lobby. There's another paint that is meant for outdoors and available at Walmart. I would have used it on my birdbath had I known about it. Here's the link to my blog post about this paint: