Thursday, September 11, 2008

How to make a Mushroom Decoration for the Garden

I want to share with you how to make these Mushroom Sculptures. With all the cool rainy weather its been perfect weather for mushrooms, sprouting up all over the place. About 4 years ago I read about these mushrooms in Family Fun Magazine. They were supposed to be for the kids to play with but I decided to make them into garden decorations. Four years later and they are still holding up strong.
When I used to participate in Farmer's Markets they were always my biggest seller.

-set of stainless steel bowls, red spray paint (I used tractor paint and it has withstood 4 Canadian winters), white or cream colored acrylic paint, paintbrush, a good outdoor sealer (I use Decoart Duraclear Varnish in gloss) a drill, a nice log approx. 18-24 inches high (choose one with lots of good bark texture), some heavy duty screws 3 inches or so(don't use nails as they may split your log)

You want to first prepare your bowls for painting. Using Windex or Fantastik, clean the outside of the bowl. You can also handwash in hot soapy water. Sometimes they have an oily film on them and you want to degrease them. Next take some sandpaper and lightly rough them up, not a lot as you don't want the scratches to show thru the paint.

Take them outside and lay on some newspaper. Give them a good spray with your red tractor paint. I found mine in the hardware section of Wal mart. Let dry and then give them another coat. You don't want any drips so watch closely as you spray. While you have the spray paint out take the screws you plan on using a give the tops of them a quick spray.

When dry start painting spots directly onto the red paint. You want to vary the sizes . Let dry and give them an extra coat of paint ( or two).

Let the paint dry for a full 24hrs ( even if it feels dry it won't be cured, if you seal to early the paint may lift off on you ).

Paint a good coat of sealer on. Let dry and then do a second coat.

The next step is to make sure you log is level, you may have to cut the ends until it sits right.

Drill two holes in the center of the bowl, go slowly as you don't want to damage the paint. If you do damage the paint you can do a touch up once your mushroom is put together. Place bowl on log and mark where the two holes are.
Take off bowl and pre drill your holes in the log. Put the bowl on top of the log and line up the holes. Now take the screws you have painted and attach the bowl to the log. Try to get as tight as you can so it won't wobble. Do any paint touchups.

You now have some great mushrooms for the garden. They look especially nice in the fall with all those complimentary colors in the leaves. Make one or three or five. I have kept mine outside for four years thru all types of weather and they still look great!

Good luck mushroom hunting.

see you later


  1. Been reading thru your blog, and you have some really neat ideas here. I would like to add you to my blog favorites list if that's OK.

  2. Tom, that will be fine, thanks for visiting. I'm glad you like the blog. I checked out your blog and would like to add yours to my bloglist as well.

  3. Gail,
    You might know from my blog that I love toadstools...I love this idea!
    You really are a creative genius!

  4. Hi!
    I love this idea and was wondering whether I can post it on my blog (as a link back to you)?
    My blog:
    Thanks, and congrats on the site :-)

  5. Crafter-holic, sure go ahead, Thanks for asking.

  6. We did this project, too, after seeing it in Family Fun using those laminated woven wooden bowls from the thrift store and regular acrylic craft paints and they too have withstood the test of time. It is the logs that are rotting away before the paint wears away!
    Just came across your site and will be back for more inspiration.

  7. Just found this post via a friend... I live in the woods and have lots of logs and love fun crafty things like this! They will live happily in a corner of our yard and also along the side of our "nature trail" out back. Thanks so much for the great idea!

  8. Hello - I am so excited to find your website!! I've looked at the exact same mushrooms which are pretty pricey -- these will be so fun to make. Thanks so much for your artistry. I will be following you & looked at all the great ideas you have.

  9. Hi, my name is Margaretha. My grand daughter is having her 7th birthday party in our garden. It will be a Tinkerbell party. Our garden is mostly green and no flowers, no colours. I was happy to find the easy way of creating some mushrooms for the fairytale garden. Can't wait to make them. You have exciting ideas. It looks great and thanks for that. Keep on creating.

  10. Gail,
    I noticed that the mushrooms in the top picture are different from the ones in the bottom pictures. Did you make those as well, and are the bottoms wood painted white?

    1. Hi Anna,
      The mushrooms in the bottom picture are small, only 2-3" high and were part of a series of Gnome dolls that I was making 8 yrs ago. I just really liked the picture I took so I included it.

  11. I hope you can help with a problem. I made garden mushrooms...i used craft paint to make dots on plastic bowls, than i strayed with a sealer 3 times, but i noticed that the dots are peeling off some of them, can you maybe tell me why?? they came out really pretty though.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Dee,
      I think the issue is that they were plastic bowls and the paint does not stick so well to them. Some ideas you could try when painting on plastic, sand them a bit to give the bowl some 'tooth' or texture for the paint to stick to. You could also try painting them first with acrylic gesso.
      Hope that helps and I glad you like they way they came out.