Decorating a bird bath in your garden can be super fun if you have a plan. Do you want to paint over your metal bird bath but don't know what paint is safe? Is it a good idea to paint a bird bath? We have done some digging into these questions and have the answers below. Let's dive right in!
For those wanting to paint their metal bird baths, you need to find a non-toxic paint. Generally, you can find oil, water, and even acrylic paints that adhere to metal, although not all of them are safe for birds.
Therefore, here are some options we found that won't harm any potential animals:
- Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Eco-Friendly Paint
- Milk Paint By Fusion Eco-Friendly Paint
- Majic PAINTS Interior/Exterior Satin Paint
On top of these, you can also usually use anything low VOC, water-based, and non-toxic, as it won't harm the birds or other critters in your yard.
As we start this post, we will cover all things metal bird baths and show you how to paint one. Whether you want to take on a DIY project with the family, have an old bird bath needing some TLC, or need more information on painting metal, we're here to assist. With that said, let's begin!
Can You Paint A Metal Bird Bath?
Yes! As long as you use paint that can withstand the outside elements and isn't toxic, it will work perfectly for a metal bird bath. Generally, you want to stick with water-based formulas, although some oil, acrylic, and latex paints will be sufficient.
One of the main factors you need to consider is what paint will adhere to the metal. Additionally, your bird bath's interior bowl will also be wet constantly, so your paint needs to resist water.
Therefore, it might also be worth it to seal your bird bath, so water damage like rusting doesn't occur. This project will require a few different steps, so make sure to be patient and allow enough time.
According to Birding Outdoors, using oil-based paints inside a bird bath is not a good idea. Instead, you want to use oil-based paints on the exterior of your structure, where birds and water won't come in contact.
Unfortunately, some oil paints are very toxic to humans and animals, so even though they're durable: they aren't always ideal for outdoor DIY projects.
That said, let's explore the options we listed earlier:
1. Montage Signature Interior/Exterior Eco-Friendly Paint
This interior/exterior paint has an eco-friendly formula, offers superior coverage on metal surfaces, contains pollutant-free materials, has an improved sealing technology, comes with a warranty, and is available in one or three-gallon containers.
2. Milk Paint By Fusion Eco-Friendly Paint
This interior/exterior paint is durable, eco-friendly, has zero VOC, won't chip or peel on surfaces, is all-natural, and comes in various sizes and colors.
3. Majic PAINTS Interior/Exterior Satin Paint
This exterior/interior paint works well for metal surfaces, has a satin finish, is great for DIY and professional applications, is enamel, and comes in a one-quart can.
How Do You Waterproof A Metal Bird Bath?
One of the easiest ways to waterproof a metal bird bath is to use a non-toxic, safe sealer such as polyurethane. Generally, polyurethane products will protect your metal from rusting, as well as be safe for people, pets, and in this case, birds.
Many experts recommend products from Gorilla, Flex Seal, Krylon, and Rust-Oleum for this type of DIY project. Using a product that can stand the test of time outdoors is vital.
Metal is one of the more temperamental materials for bird baths, as it doesn't naturally repel water. Therefore, if you live somewhere near the water or where it rains often, this can become a problem.
Luckily, sealing a bird bath is easy, whether you decide to paint it on or use an aerosol spray.
Rust-Oleum Stops Rust Spray Paint
This spray paint protects metal from rust, is clear, has a satin finish, waterproofs surfaces, dries in 2-4 hours, covers up to 15 square feet, and comes in a 12-ounce container.
What Happens If I Don't Waterproof A Metal Bird Bath?
A few things will likely happen if you forget to seal a metal bird bath. Metal bird baths commonly develop rust over time, which can lead to structural issues.
In addition, metal bird baths need a sealant to prevent weathering and age-related damage. Therefore, not sealing one is letting nature take its course on your bird bath.
On top of that, you want to seal a painted metal bird bath to maintain its color. So, if you value your bird bath's structural and aesthetic integrity, we recommend applying a waterproofing agent.
What Is The Best Material For A Bird Bath?
For those wondering what material works best for a bird bath, there are a few we suggest. According to the experts, a few bird bath materials that hold out well and don't require much upkeep are:
- Glazed Pottery
As you can see from this list, metal isn't included. One of the main reasons for this is that metal is prone to rust and age-related damage and doesn't always take paint well.
In addition, metal surfaces can become dangerously hot if the temperatures are high, which isn't safe for birds or any critters nearby. Metal, however, can still be good for birds if you paint and seal it, so don't think you need to throw yours away.
Getting a metal bird bath ready for guests will take some extra time, but you can do this!
Furthermore, you can switch the bowl of your metal bird bath for a concrete or plastic one if you prefer, so there are many ways to do this.
The less reactive the material, the better it will suit being used as a bird bath.
What Kind Of Bird Bath Do Birds Prefer?
Now that we know what materials are best for humans let's switch focus to what birds need. Ideally, a bird bath should mimic a natural body of water.
Therefore, birds will flock to your garden if you can create a bird bath that feels like a puddle and is also shallow with a gentle slope. Think of this as creating a wading pool for potential birds.
On top of that, finding a bird bath that won't break or fall over easily is also a good idea. For example, if you live somewhere windy or prone to heavy storms, you don't want a flimsy plastic bird bath.
The same goes for a metal bird bath: it may not be ideal if you live near the ocean or somewhere wet. Although a material might do well outdoors, that doesn't mean it can always handle traffic and constant moisture.
Do Metal Bird Baths Get Hot In The Summer?
Yes. One of the major drawbacks of having a metal bird bath is that it can become very warm if the weather is hot outside. As we said before, metal is very reactive.
Therefore, it can quickly become hot (or cold), often shocking the water and birds inside. However, if you place a metal bird bath somewhere with partial shade, you may not have to worry about it becoming dangerous for your birds.
Again, this can be hit or miss, so if you don't want to risk it, you might want to switch the bowl out of your bird bath to a less reactive option.
Experts also claim that warmer water in a bird bath can breed algae and bacteria. This higher amount of bacteria can make your bird bath less desirable, often driving potential visitors away.
Moreover, some paints can release toxic chemicals if they become hot, sometimes a recipe for disaster in your bird sanctuary.
How Do I Keep My Metal Bird Bath Cool In The Summer?
The best way to keep the water in a bird bath cool throughout the summer is by adding ice. Although this sounds almost too easy, placing a few ice cubes into a warm bird bath can work to bring its overall temperature down.
According to Kaytee, you can also place larger chunks of ice into your bird bath if the weather is scorching. In addition, you might also want to try freezing larger cubes or blocks of ice overnight to fit your bird bath, adding them every morning.
As we mentioned above, placing your bird bath under a nearby tree or shaded structure might also be better long-term. However, you don't want to make your bird bath unnoticeable to those flying above, so try to expose some of it to the sky.
The key here is less full sun, more ice through the summer, and non-reactive bath materials.
To Tie It All Together
Whether you have a metal bird bath or want to get one, you'll likely want to paint it. Luckily, we found this is pretty simple as long as you use eco-friendly, non-toxic paint.
Some great options are usually water-based, although oil, enamel, and acrylic can also be sufficient. However, you only need to use safe paint for animals and water inside your bird bath bowl.
If you ignore this detail, you could create a toxic environment. Furthermore, it's also good to seal your bird bath with a waterproofing agent, to prevent rusting later on.
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