How to Make a Tin Tub Water Fountain


Water fountains bring tranquility and beauty to the home. Store-bought water fountains run the gamut from inexpensive resin models designed to emulate more expensive materials on up to gigantic fountains carved from stone, which are quite pricey. You can save yourself some money and get creative by building your own fountain from a tin or galvanized tub and a pump. The size of the fountain will determine whether you can place it on a table or if it will look better in the corner of a room or on a porch or patio. Tin tubs lend a rustic or country look, but from there the way you decorate it is entirely up to you.

Things You'll Need

  • Tin or galvanized tub
  • Submersible fountain pump with tubing
  • Clean river rocks or other filler
  • Water
  • Decorative elements such as marbles, beach glass, polished stones or shells.
  • Fountainhead, such as a glazed pot with hole in bottom
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Set the tub in the desired fountain location, such as on a table or balcony.

  • Attach the tubing to the outlet valve on the pump, if it is not already attached. Set the pump in the tub, guiding the electrical cord and tubing out over the side of the pump. Note the height of the intake valve, so you know how much water to add when testing the pump.

  • Place a few heavy, clean stones on and around the pump to weigh it down, while being careful not to cover the intake. Add filler, such as smooth river rocks -- nothing fancy because they won't be seen -- to the remaining bottom area of the tub. Continue adding the stones, until the tub is half filled. Cover with a layer of decorative stones, shells, marbles or other material.

  • Add water until the intake valve on the pump is under water. Do not run the pump unless the intake submerged. Point the open end of the tubing back over the tub and plug in the fountain to test it. Water should come out of the tube and return back into the tub. Unplug the fountain.

  • Decorate the inside of the tub with materials, if you wish, which could be anything that can sit in water: large, polished rocks, craft store items such as turtles or frogs, a ring of pretty river rocks surrounding a center area of polished cobalt blue glass gems -- experiment with your ideas.

  • Run the tubing through the fountainhead. For example, if your fountainhead is a glazed pot with a hole in the bottom, set the pot atop the stones in the tub, angling it if desired by aligning a few rocks underneath for balance. Disguise the tubing with additional filler, such as material that matchs the fountainhead.

Tips & Warnings

  • Fountain pumps are available in various pumping capacities known as gallons per hour. A 100 GPH pump is large enough for a fountain 1-foot high with a basin of 18 by 18 inches. Fountain pumps come in packaging that tells you the height and the amount of gallons per hour they can pump. Purchase one to fit your fountain.
  • Add additional decor such as a small gazing ball inside the top decorative pot for a different look. The options are many. For example, drill a hole in the bottom of a garden watering can, and run the tubing through the hole, so that your fountain becomes a watering can with an endless supply of water.
  • If you have pets, don't use any materials that are toxic to them because pets will, if they can, drink from the fountain.
  • Replace water as it evaporates, and don't let the pump run without water. Running the pump without water will damage it.
  • Make sure all elements are clean beforehand to prevent fountain water from becoming dirty or the pump getting clogged.
  • Don't use anything in the tub that has little pieces that could crumble and clog the pump. Because river rocks are smooth they make a good filler.

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