Flying insects are usually annoying. Mosquitos bite you, leaving itchy red welts. Bees and wasps sting. Flies are just disgusting. But there’s something magical about dragonflies. – smithsonianmag.com
Create these garden stakes out of recycled bottles, and catch the sunlight in your garden! This cool bottle cutting tool may be found at glass distributors and retailers, and Diamond Tech has a convenient store locator right on their website! Click here.
dragonfly garden stakes
designed by Lauren DiSanza
For product information, see sources below.
• Diamond Tech
Precision 2000 or Precision 2000 Deluxe Band Saw
Jennifer’s Mosaics 1/2” gems, one package
Studio Pro lead-free solder and soldering iron
• Small repurposed olive oil, wine, or liquor bottles (two)
• Plant stakes, three
• 7/32” copper foil, fid or wooden craft stick, flux and flux brush, long tweezers, painter’s or masking tape, sandpaper or scythe stone, soap, towel, water
Important Tips: Always, wear safety goggles when using glass-crafting tools. Everyday eyeglasses have only impact resistant lenses. When using a band saw, let the blade do the cutting, never try to push a cut. Read and carefully follow instructions contained within Precision 2000 operations manual.
1. Set the Precision 2000 up for wet cuts, using diamond blade. Raise blade guide arm up as high as it will go so it will clear bottle. To do so, loosen hex nut on water nozzle arm and move water nozzle out of the way, raise blade block as far up as it will go, and lock into position with thumb screw in back of saw. Adjust water nozzle so that it sprays on front of blade, then tighten hex nut to hold nozzle into position while you cut.
2. Place one bottle at a time on the saw’s cutting table and cut it lengthwise in half, from neck to base.
3. Repeat with second bottle.
4. Cut each half into halves or thirds depending on bottle size and how small you want wings.
5. Once each section is cut, use saw to round off each wing by cutting off corners of glass to achieve a nice, rounded curve.
6. Dry wings thoroughly.
7. Select and clean 5 – 8 similarly colored 1/2” gems for each dragonfly body.
8. Use sandpaper or scythe stone to rough up edges of each gem.
9. Foil outside edge of wings and gems (begin with 7/32”, 1.5 ml thick copper foil). Peel back 2” – 3” of backing from foil, hold glass with edge toward you, and apply foil to edge of glass so that it extends evenly over both sides of glass.
10. Fold or crimp foil over edges, making sure to fold corners neat and flat. Burnish foil using fid or craft stick. Press foil flat against glass on outside edge first, then both sides of glass—don’t scrub as you may rip foil.
11. Tin edges of each piece by applying flux to copper foil and lightly coating them with solder.
12. Referring to color photo, arrange pieces in the shape of a dragonfly. Gems should be positioned flat-side down and bottle pieces curved-side down. Apply flux to all the joints where glass pieces meet, then tack solder in place.
13. Apply more flux to glass edges and solder all seams. Puddle solder in-between wings and body to fill in open areas. When seams have all been soldered, use long tweezers to flip piece over. Apply flux and solder over seams on back side.
Note: If garden stakes have a protective coating, use a craft knife to peel it away. Plant stakes from a garden center may have a coiled tip—use pliers to uncoil it.
14. Bend stake into a curve, matching line of dragonfly’s body. Wrap foil around stake, beginning at base of curve and working your way to the tip. Use fid/craft stick to burnish foil to stake.
15. Align stake to underside of dragonfly body, either to the left or right of gems; this will hide stake from view.
16. Place dragonfly upside-down on work surface and apply painter’s or masking tape at center of dragonfly to secure stake into position. Apply flux to upper and lower portions of stake and solder into place. Remove tape and continue to flux and solder stake into place on dragonfly.
17. Repeat steps for remaining dragonflies.
18. When cool, wash with warm, soapy water and place in your garden!
This project submitted courtesy of Diamond Tech.