Create Your Own Bonsai-Themed Desktop Fountain With This Guide

You can actually keep fish inside this contraption.

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Looking for something a little different to add to your desktop? Do you find the sound of running water very soothing?

Then you might want to consider making your own desktop fountain? If you’re interested, follow this simple guide to making your own bonsai-themed desktop fountain from a simple pump and lots of concrete.

Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

As you can imagine, you will need tools and materials before you get started, like any project of this nature.

Materials and equipment needed

With all the equipment and materials ready, it’s time to move on with this great little build.

Step 1: Design your bonsai

The first step is to take your piece of wood/branch and think about how you want the bonsai to look. You may want to carve the wood or cut twigs or other parts of the wood to make it look more like a small tree trunk.

office bonsai tree trunk
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

If you wish, you can also use your angle grinder to remove the old bark from the branch, depending on your taste.

Once that’s done, you’ll want to mark a line along the piece of wood to indicate where the plastic tubing will start from the pump.

Then use your angle grinder or small saw to cut the bottom of your branch piece so it can be flush with the base (if necessary). Keeping your hand on your angle grinder, you can also cut a groove/channel along the leg to hide the rubber tube inside later.

desktop bonsai channel
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Next, take a chisel and cut out a small, elongated rectangle halfway up the branch. This part will need to be large enough to accommodate a short length of plastic pipe.

desktop bonsai piece
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Once done, cut a short length of plastic tubing about 6 and 57/64 inches (17.5cm) long, to fit in the cavity you just dug in the branch. Next, drill a series of five holes along the edge of the pipe at regular intervals.

desktop bonsai drill rod
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Once done, plug the holes using plastic pipe fittings that act as nozzles. Seal one end of the pipe using a small plastic disc and glue in place using hot glue or plastic glue.

With that done, take your plastic pipe and glue it in place to the other end of the plastic pipe.

desktop bonsai tube pipe
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

With that done, use your hot glue or two-part plastic adhesive and glue the tube and pipe in place in the cavity of the tree branch.

desktop bonsai glue tube
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Step 2: Make the base

Next, take an old laundry basket and cover it with a plastic tarp. Glue the foil to the side of the basket to hold it in place.

Mix your cement and pour it onto another sheet of plastic in a heap. Fold the corners of the plastic sheet, collect the cement and place the bag inside the laundry basket.

Next, take handfuls of pebbles and place them outside the bag containing cement. This done, release the plastic sheet containing the cement, smooth it over the top of the pebbles

Make sure the cement and pebbles never touch each other, we use them as a mold to create a textured pattern on the cement.

bosai base desk
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Shape the top of the cement into a bowl shape with your hands, then press the bottom of the tree trunk into the cement mixture. Make sure the exposed end of the pipe does not touch or get stuck in the cement when doing this.

With this done, cover the end of the pipe and cover the rest of the pipe with cement to hide it in the base.

cement base for bonsai
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Let the cement harden.

Step 3: Complete the base

Once the cement has completely hardened, remove it from the hamper. Loosen any pebbles that may have stuck under the plastic sheet, then remove the plastic sheet from the concrete base of the bonsai fountain.

Use a lighter to burn off any stray or trapped pieces of plastic sheeting.

complete bonsai base
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

With that done, take a bunch of popsicle sticks and cut them into small pieces. Then cut the top so they look a bit like fence posts.

Take each and glue them in place around the edge of the concrete base to make a fence.

bonsai fence base
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

With that done, take a few more short lengths of popsicle sticks and add the rails to complete the fence all the way around the base of the bonsai fountain.

You can make the fence as rickety or precise as you want.

bonsai fence rails
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

With that done, mix some light gray paint and paint all the side surfaces of the inside of the base of the well. For best results, thin the paint slightly so that it flows smoothly.

You may need to add a few coats until all the cement is fully covered.

desktop bonsai painting base
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

With that done, mix in a darker blue color paint and paint the very center of the well. This will simulate deep water after the fountain is complete. Mix the two paints together as needed where they meet.

Next, mask off the parts of the base that you don’t want painted green. Once done, hand paint or use spray paint to paint the rest of the top side of the base green to simulate grass.

bonsai base grass
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

With a darker shade of green, you can add texture to the green areas of the base as needed.

Using brown paint, paint the fence posts and rails. Alternatively, you can do a brown wash and apply it to the fence posts and rails instead.

desktop bonsai fountain painting fence
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

For the underside of the base, paint by hand or use spray paint to color it a deep dark brown. Let all the paint dry before moving on to the next step.

bonsai under the base
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Step 4: Decorate the tree

Then use your hot glue gun to add small drops of glue to strategic places around the trunk of the tree. Once added, glue foliage or plastic flowers in place to give the tree a lively look.

bonsai fountain decorate tree
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Keep adding foliage around the tree until you are happy with the look. Once done, add more foliage around the base as well.

Keep adding until you are happy with the final look.

Step 5: Add the pump

Now that the aesthetic aspect of the fountain is complete, we can move on to the functionality of the fountain. Take your pump and attach it to the exposed pipe in the middle of the base pond feature.

Coil and hide the electrical cable among the foliage of the base of the fountain as best you can. With that done, add some dark colored pebbles around the pump to hide it.

With this done, add water to the fountain pond. If you want, you can also add fish to the water, but make sure you follow the right procedure so you don’t accidentally kill them.

bonsai fountain add water
Source: RustiKraft/YouTube Channel

Then you can plug in the pump and watch your wonderfully designed bonsai fountain come to life! Now all you have to do is find a suitable place to display it.

Oh, and if you added fish, be sure to feed it well!

If you liked this project, you might like to create another decorating project based on the office. How about, for example, making your own coin-operated fountain?

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