How to Make a Wishing Well in 3 Easy Parts

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22-11-2022, 04:10
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Want to add something new to your yard? Why not add a cute wishing well? Wooden wishing wells can be used as a decorative planter or septic tank cover, and they’re surprisingly simple to make. In this article, we’ll take you through the process of making a wishing well step-by-step. So, grab your tools and some wood because we’ve got a DIY wishing well to build.

Making a Barrel Base

  1. Consider using a preexisting barrel or box as the base. The easiest way to form a base for a wishing well is to use a wooden container. A small container or barrel can be used to make a quaint planter box, while a larger container can make something closer in size to an actual well. If you decide to use one of these options, skip ahead to the next section on attaching a roof.
  2. Gather lumber to assemble your well base. If you have access to a table saw, consider making the well base yourself. For the project, you’ll need these raw materials cut to these measurements:
    • 16 pieces of 1 in × 4 in (2.5 cm × 10.2 cm) or 8 pieces of 2 in × 4 in (5.1 cm × 10.2 cm).
    • The more pieces of lumber you have, the wider your wishing well’s base will be.
    • Make sure all but 2 pieces of wood are around 2 feet (0.61 m) long (this may require some cutting).
    • Ensure that the other 2 pieces of wood are at least 5 feet (1.5 m) long, as these will be the roof supports.
  3. Use a table saw to bevel the edges of the lumber. Beveling or angling the long edges or sides of each piece of lumber will ensure they fit together tightly when arranged in a circle. Take a protractor, rafter square, or angle gauge to measure and set the angle of your saw as follows:
    • For a 16-sided barrel, cut each edge to an 11.25º angle.
    • For an 8-sided barrel, use a 22.5º angle.
    • If you don’t have a table saw to bevel the wood edges, make a looser fitting barrel by arranging the lumber with gaps between each plank. Each gap should be equal to the thickness of the lumber divided by 2.6. This will ensure that the barrel fits together. Then, nail 2 galvanized metal straps across the boards and roll the slats together to form the barrel.
  4. Form and glue the lumber into a barrel shape. Lay the lumber out flat on the ground, with each plank touching each other on the beveled edge. Push them against a straight edge to make sure the bases line up. Once the beveled lumber is laid out, rotate one slat of lumber onto the next so the angled edges fit together. Try using wood glue between the slats to hold the planks together. Repeat until the barrel shape is formed. Then, clamp the ends together with 2 hose clamps to help it keep its shape.
    • Consider using a third clamp near the middle of the barrel if it seems loose.
    • You may need help holding up the planks, so don’t hesitate to ask a friend, family member, or colleague to assist you.
  5. Add a bottom to the barrel for extra support. This step is optional but can add more integrity and stability to your wishing well. Trace the outline of the barrel’s base onto a large piece of paper or wood with a pen or pencil. Use a tape measure to measure the barrel’s diameter (the inside width of the circle). Cut a single piece of lumber the diameter of the barrel’s base. Once cut, wedge the wood inside the barrel, and repeat with new pieces of wood until the bottom of the barrel is covered.
    • Try using a hammer to tap the wood in place gently.
    • Make sure the planks at the bottom of your barrel are even and flush with each other.
    • If you leave your wishing well without a base, consider slipping the barrel over a septic tank or exposed pipe.

Attaching a Roof

  1. Nail the roof supports to the inside of your barrel. Take the 2 longer pieces of wood from before, and cut 1 end of each to a triangular point using 2 45º angles. Place the cut roof supports on either side of the barrel, parallel to each other. Nail the roof supports to the inside base of the barrel and again near the inner lip.
  2. Build a roof frame for your wishing well. Begin by cutting 4 pieces of lumber to serve as the frame for the roof, using the same size lumber as the roof supports. Cut 1 end of each piece to form a 45º slant. This will ensure that 2 pieces can fit over each peaked roof support and slope downward. Drill holes and attach wood screws down through the frame and onto the support from above.
    • The length of the roof frame is up to you. Typically, a small roof that doesn’t extend past the edge of the well is used.
  3. Construct the rafters for the wishing well’s roof. Work from the top down, and lay 1 in × 2 in (2.5 cm × 5.1 cm) planks from one side of the roof’s frame to the other. Use 1 to 2 wood screws to attach each side of the planks to the roof frame, so there are 2 to 4 screws in each plank depending on the size of your plank. Make sure the planks are flush with each other for a flat look.
    • Consider adding shingles to your wishing well’s roof to protect it from weather.
  4. Add trim to your wishing well's roof for strength and curb appeal. Start by attaching a 1 in × 4 in (2.5 cm × 10.2 cm) piece of wood across the open triangular frame at its lowest point. Position the plank horizontally across the roof frame, so it extends under the awning. Use finishing nails to nail the trim to the roof’s frame and/or roof supports. Repeat on the opposite side, then connect them with another 1 ft × 4 ft (0.30 m × 1.22 m) beneath the lowest rafter.
  5. Paint your wishing well to make your yard pop. Consider giving your wishing well a coat of paint to protect the wood and bring more color to your yard. If bright colors aren't your thing, stick with a clear finish or wood stain for a more natural look.
    • If you’re painting the well in a garden, keep in mind that the products you use may harm nearby plants if they reach the soil, so lay down a tarp before you start.

Adding a Bucket

  1. Create a spindle to hold your wishing well’s bucket. Use a 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick dowel, or consider using a piece of 1 in × 1 in (2.5 cm × 2.5 cm) lumber if you can’t find a dowel thick enough. Cut the dowel or wood to extend across the full outer diameter of the well, plus at least an additional 6 inches (15 cm).
    • The extra 6 inches (15 cm) will allow the spindle to fit through the holes you’ll add to the roof supports later.
    • Save the scraps of wood from cutting the dowel or lumber for later if you want to add a handle to the spindle.
  2. Fit the spindle through the roof supports. Pick where you’d like your bucket to hang, and mark the spot with a pen or pencil on the outer side of both roof supports—we recommend a location high up on the roof support, so your bucket can dangle over the well’s base. Measure the distance from the well edge and your mark on both sides to make sure they’re even. Then, drill holes large enough to fit the spindle with a drill or hole saw. Push the spindle through the holes.
  3. Attach the spindle to the roof supports using homemade washers. Take the scraps of lumber from before, and cut out 2 pieces of square or round wood that’s 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) long. Drill a 1 inch (2.5 cm) hole through your 2 cut pieces—you’ve made a wooden washer! Push a washer onto each end of the spindle until it is flat against the frame. Then, squeeze wood glue in-between the pieces to secure everything in place.
  4. Create a handle to spin the wishing well’s spindle. Cut a piece of wood into a 2 in × 3 in (5.1 cm × 7.6 cm) rectangle, and drill 2 1 inch (2.5 cm) holes into it on either side. Place one hole onto the spindle and attach it using wood glue. Cut a piece of dowel or lumber about 6 inches (15 cm) long, then stick it through the remaining hole in the rectangle and attach it with wood glue.
  5. Tie a bucket onto the spindle. Use a piece of rope or string to attach a bucket to your wishing well. Simply tie a knot around the handle, and then use the other end of the string to tie a knot around the middle of the spindle. Turn the spindle with the handle, and watch as your bucket lifts up and up!
    • Consider using super glue to fasten the rope permanently to the spindle, especially if you're wishing well is for decoration.
    • Your bucket doesn’t necessarily have to be a “bucket.” Think about tying a coffee mug, cooking pot, or hanging flower pot to the spindle.
  6. Fill your wishing well with foliage. Create a beautiful landscape in your yard by filling surrounding the wishing well with rocks, flowers, and/or plants. You can even find blue foliage that looks like water for an abstract but whimsical look.
    • Hang a garden flag next to your well for some extra decor.
    • Place a gnome or statue by your well to create a whimsical space.

Tips

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden barrel or box (optional)
  • Table saw
  • 16 pieces of 1 in × 4 in (2.5 cm × 10.2 cm) or 8 pieces of 2 in × 4 in (5.1 cm × 10.2 cm)
  • Protractor, rafter square, or angle gauge
  • 2 galvanized metal straps (optional)
  • Straight edge
  • Wood glue
  • 2 hose clamps
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Wood screws
  • Finishing nails
  • Clear finish or wood stain (optional)
  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick dowel or 1 in × 1 in (2.5 cm × 2.5 cm) lumber
  • Drill or hole saw
  • Super glue (optional)
  • Bucket
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