There’s something truly magical about taking a cast off piece of home decor and turning it into a beautiful sun stake. In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll guide you through the process of transforming a weathered wooden platter (found at the swap shop of my local transfer station) into a whimsical sun face garden stake. With sticks from your own yard as radiant sun rays, you can create a unique and charming piece of outdoor decor that will infuse your garden with a touch of rustic elegance and personality.
Gather Your Materials:
- wood platter
- spray paint
- 1/2″ x 4ft PVC piping
- scrap wood (you may or may not need depending on the thickness of your wood platter)
- PVC 1/2″ T joint
- screws to attach T joint
- acrylic paints
- paint pens
- wood glue
- E6000 glue
- weatherproof clear silicone caulk
- waterproof sealant
- 4ft rebar stake (optional, for stability)
- EZ cutter or small hand saw
- paintbrushes, assorted sizes
- drill and drill bits
- rubber mallet
Make the sun
From your yard or other wooded area, gather sticks of similar thickness and length. These will be your sun “rays”.
Paint the sticks. I used spray paint to try to speed things up.
Blunt cut the end of each stick so they’ll be easier to attach. I used this handheld cutter.
Put the sticks aside and move on to creating the sun face.
Paint a base color onto your platter.
I started this project so long ago that I didn’t take a before picture lol. This platter had seen better days and was actually split in half. I used mending plates on the back to help hold it together.
Use a pencil to lightly sketch out a sun face.
I used acrylic paint for my sun face features, which required two coats. A paint pen is great for fine details.
Add the rays
Next, it’s time to attach the stick “sun rays” to the platter.
As best you can, match the diameter of a round drill bit to diameter of sticks for sun rays. Drill holes around the perimeter of the wood platter. The deeper you are able to drill each hole, the more securely each sun ray will be attached.
I eyeballed the distance between each hole, you may want to measure and mark with a pencil.
Attach sticks to wood platter using wood glue.
I dipped the end of each stick into wood glue and then stuck it into the pre-drilled hole. It definitely helps to have plenty of space to work and something to hold the sticks level while they’re drying. I rested the platter on top of an Ikea Raskog cart and that worked pretty well.
After the wood glue has dried at for about 24 hours, seal around each stick/hole with silicone caulk. This can be messy ~ learn from me and wear gloves. Work the silicone into each perimeter hole and around each stick sun ray.
Let the silicone for about a day.
Once all the adhesive has fully dried, the sun rays should be secure.
In order to protect your sun stake from the elements, apply several coats of outdoor sealer to the entire project (front, back, sides). I’ve had good luck with Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane.
If you decide to hang your sun instead of making it into a garden stake, you can attach a sawtooth hanger and call it a day. A cheerful, upcycled sun face would look adorable hanging on a fence or attached to a birdhouse pole in the garden.
Complete your sun stake
To make your sun face a decorative garden stake, it needs to have some type of hardware/mechanism for attaching a stake. Due to the unique nature of upcycled materials, every project will be different. I used a rebar stake, pvc piping, and assorted hardware to create my stake.
Attach the PVC T to the back of your sun face
I first glued on some scrap wood because my platter isn’t very thick. I used wood glue, E6000, and silicone caulk to attach the scrap wood to the platter. Let dry thoroughly. Next, glue the T onto the scrap wood with E6000, let dry. Yes, there’s a lot of drying time in this project :-). Pre-drill holes into the PVC T and then use exterior screws to securely attach the T to the sun face.
Time for installation
Drive the rebar stake into the ground using the rubber mallet. Put the length of PVC pipe over the rebar stake. I had 1/2″ pvc piping and it was a tight squeeze–the rubber mallet was very helpful. Fit the top of the PVC pipe into the PVC T and your sun face is now a (removable) sun stake for your garden!
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