Making a bird bath


Working regularly with handcraft. Listen and learn from each other and practice language skills.

“It is always nice to be able to do good things with their hands, to make a bird bath is both creative and a beautiful thing that can be a delight to the eye.”

Description of the activity

Preparations, and completion of casting concrete to create a bird bath. For the group to feel engaged in the activity, which consists of three immigrants and three Swedes and one teacher, everyone can participate, and migrants get to learn the different chores they should do. Everything that is to be included in the activity is discussed in Swedish and migrants can practice the language in speech and read the instructions that apply to this activity.

This activity requires participants to collaborate and listen to each other, come up with opinions and experiences when it comes to molding concrete. The participants feel supported in the task and that means that they have better self-esteem and are willing to speak Swedish, even if the pronunciation is not correct. This activity is done twice a week and the difficulties that may arise are sometimes misconceptions regarding the language.


To make concrete casting of birdbaths, not much background knowledge is not needed. This makes it a fun and stimulating activity. All the participants can help and develop their skills gradually. The teacher who teaches the skill has experience of concrete casting and can answer the questions that arise.

Steps for the implementation of the activity

When we are going to engage in an activity like making bird baths in concrete, we need to plan for this. The gardener and the staff together with the participants in the studio make a plan together. They must plan for purchasing materials and what day they should do the activity.

Preparations for the group to do this activity begins with the teachers dividing the group into smaller groups to have a review of the activity. They have books on the subject and they go through the various steps in this activity. They make a list of the material and how much to buy. Then they go together and buy the materials for the activity. When they do the purchases together, the participants and the immigrants are trained to be more social and that they use the Swedish language as training.

After they have all the material, they start to manufacture the bird baths and some of the bird baths are placed in the studio garden. Some of the participants want to keep their own and others choose after they have participated in an art exhibition and exhibit these together with paintings they painted and then they choose to sell them.

Materials and methods

To be able to create bird baths in concrete, it is necessary to have access to an outdoor space. This is because concrete casting is a technique that is messy and it is best to do this in a garden. Therefore, this is a suitable activity to have in the garden studio.

Materials and human resources:
In the garden they have one gardener and one therapist and one teacher. These three together form the team that can educate and support the participants who are in the garden who are those with Swedish and with foreign backgrounds. Materials required are Sand, fine concrete, water, ladles, plastic bags, containers for mixing concrete and water. The table or ground is covered with plastic bag and other water-resistant material are needed for substrates. Sand is needed to get a slight elevation under the blade. Aprons and rubber gloves are required to protect clothes and hands from the concrete that burns into different materials. Rhubarb leaves or similar large, strong leaves can be used as a shape. A shower bottle is used to shower over the concrete after it has “burned” the first day to maintain moisture so no cracks occur.

This activity takes 6 hours which includes buying materials together with the participants. The activity of preparing, mixing concrete and performing the casting takes around 4 hours. Finishing work such as removing the protective plastic, scraping off dried leaves that have stuck to the reliefs in the bird baths, polishing the concrete from unevenness, cleaning surfaces that have had sand as the foundation for the molds, takes 3 hours. In total, it takes 13 hours over 3 days / occasions. This activity requires 2 staff hours then becomes 26 hours together.

The cost of making a bird bath in concrete is: 8 Euro. Purchases are made of buckets to mix concrete in, ladles to touch concrete and water, concrete, protective gloves, plastic bags to the surface between sand and leaves that give relief, sandpaper to trim the finished work. The sum of the purchases will be 50 euros, and this is shared between 6 bird baths, so each bird bath costs 8 euros.

Learning outcomes for the participants

When we make bird baths in concrete, all participants can participate in this activity. This means that they cooperate and speak Swedish with each other. This contributes to increased understanding of people between each other and provides a secure environment for everyone. It also strengthens their self-confidence when they see the fine results of concrete castings, and that others want to buy them.