Build a Tabletop Water Fountain!

Build a Tabletop Water Fountain!

By Paris Mannion

Water, the essence of life, finds charming expression in a bubbling tabletop fountain garden and provides a grounding connection to nature. The imaginative play involved in crafting a personal fountain meets other needs, too, for self-expression, relaxation, and creativity. Table top fountains are wonderful stress reducers and room beautifiers. Gather the kids, favorite shells and crystals, a casserole dish or punch bowl and a submersible fountain pump and have a blast!

There are also many benefits to having a fountain at home or work:

* Fountains release negative ions, said to promote better moods and concentration.

* Fountains humidify dry air and encourage lush growth in nearby plants.

* The gentle, calming water sound helps you relax into sleep. If you find later that the noise is irritating rather than soothing, then the fountain has done its job of stirring the energy to a better balance. You can then turn the fountain off at night or move it to a different room.

* Fountains are a unique gift, made with your own creative touch.

* A fountain dish of memories can display shells, crystals, special stones and other accents.

* As a sanctuary and meditation tool, a table top fountain sets the stage for going within -- physically coming to an attractive water setting and also mentally journeying into oneself.

Let's look at the basic how-to's of fountain building:

1. Select a small submersible pump from an aquarium, hardware, or garden supply store. Or from fountain suppliers on the web. The Hagen Aquapump, for instance, has a water flow regulator, suction cup feet to hold pump securely, quiet motor, simple maintenance, output of 80-85 gallons per hour. Cost: about $20.

2. From the same source, fit plastic tubing on the pump spout and get about 8" of the tubing to elevate the water . The most common tubing size is 1/2" inner diameter, 5/8" outer diameter. Cut the tubing length to fit your bowl and design.

3. Find a waterproof bowl at least 2" deep. Look for ceramic, glass, seamless metal, plastic, or water sealed wood. Check Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, second hand stores, garage sales, flea markets. Look in your cupboard for a pasta, casserole or serving dish, punch bowl, or fruit bowl if you're in a hurry to make a fountain.

4. Search outside for stones or visit a garden center or landscape yard for flat, round, or smooth stones. Use big ones for filling the bottom (generally won't be seen) and smaller ones for accenting the visible top. Scrub off grit and /or rinse in a water-bleach bath to clean off dirt.

5. Read the pump directions. Attach the pump's suction cup feet, locate the propeller (behind the front cover) for easy cleaning in about 3 months. Set the water flow bar in the middle to test the effect. Cut 1-2" of plastic tubing and fit over the pump spout.

7. Put pump in bowl, add tap water to more than cover the intake valve (2" minimum); plug pump into electrical outlet.

8. Unplug pump and adjust water flow if needed. Add larger rocks to fill bottom of bowl and hide the pump. Disguise the cord going over the edge of the bowl by placing a tall rock or plant cutting in front of the cord. Or tape the cord to the outside of the bowl and place a scarf over the cord on the table.

9. Stack smaller rocks on top near the pump spout. Express your self by adding accents such as candles, flowers, shells, crystals or figurines to your fountain. Plug in, adjust the water volume and stones as needed, and enjoy!

10. Suction excess water from the bowl with a turkey baster. Check water level daily for the first week, adding fresh water as needed to keep the pump completely covered. After three months, take fountain apart and clean the pump. Pull off the front cover, remove debris from propeller and screen, wipe the bottom. Reassemble your fountain, experimenting with a different bowl and accents.

Bonus tip: Ask family members to add a special accent each for a "dish of memories".

About the author:

Paris Mannion, author of Create Your Indoor Fountain and Create Your Own Tabletop Fountains, publishes a free newsletter Design on Tap. Visit for indoor fountain supplies, fountain photos, top ten lists, step by step illustrated fountain projects, fountain books and more.


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