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Bee and Butterfly Waterer

It’s officially spring. The bees are out in full force and we all know they need as much help as they can get. I haven’t seen any yet but the butterflies won’t be far behind.

glass dish filled with blue and green glass gems on a metal pole for a DIY bee waterer

A few years ago I pounded a few pieces of electrical conduit into the ground in my front flower bed with the intention of turning them into either something for the birds or a Bee and Butterfly Waterer.

You could easily make this into a platform bird feeder by filling it with birdseed but I decided to go with pretty gems and water. The glass gems make it pretty but also serve a practical purpose.

They attract the bees & butterflies with their pretty colors and give them somewhere to land so they don’t get stuck in the water and drown. Like my ladybug vs bumble bee tic-tac-toe game this is an easy afternoon project that doesn’t require skill.

Bee and Butterfly Waterer Supplies:

Turn a dinner plate into a pretty Bee & Butterfly Waterer in minutes with easy to find supplies
  • Electrical conduit, 1 inch, cut to size (desired height plus 12-16 inches)*
  • Wooden dowel that fits easily but not loosely into the pipe, 12 inches
  • Outdoor-rated glue
  • Dinner plate, make sure it’s deep, a shallow plate won’t hold enough water (This is from the Pioneer Woman Collection at Walmart)
  • Glass gems – Check the Dollar Tree
  • Water

*If you can’t get your conduit cut you can replace the metal pipe with a flower pot turned upside down, if you get lucky the plate will sit snuggly on the flower pot and you won’t have to worry about glue!

How to Make a Bee and Butterfly Waterer

Turn a dinner plate into a pretty Bee & Butterfly Waterer in minutes with easy to find supplies

Start by pounding your pipe into the ground. I pushed it in as far as it would go and then placed a piece of 2×4 over the post and hit it with a hammer until it was about a foot in the ground.

Each spring I check to make sure they’re still secure.

Turn a dinner plate into a pretty Bee & Butterfly Waterer in minutes with easy to find supplies

Glue the dowel to the bottom of the plate as close to the center as you can get. Let the glue set according to the package directions

Turn a dinner plate into a pretty Bee & Butterfly Waterer in minutes with easy to find supplies

Stick the dowel into the pipe, add gems and water

Turn a dinner plate into a pretty Bee & Butterfly Waterer in minutes with easy to find supplies

Depending on where your butterfly waterer is located you might need to add water every day or every few days, same with cleaning. Luckily it’s easy to pull up the plate, give the rocks and plate a quick cleaning (in straight water!) and put it all back together.

Obviously, direct sun will lead to more algae and water loss but if you stick it under a tree you’ll be cleaning out leaves and tree residue.

Check out my DIY Garden Projects page for more ideas or start here:

wood stump with painted tic tac toe board with sontes painted like ladybugs and bumble bees for game pieces
handmade barn quilt tutorial

Larry Wachtel

Wednesday 5th of February 2020

The very best glue to use is two part epoxy, available at any hardware or big box store. Once mixed and applied to the surfaces to be bonded, you won't be able to separate them without breaking them.


Sunday 11th of April 2021

@Melissa B, Alecia:

Instead of gluing the plate to the dowel, glue the plate to a small jar or skinny vase with glass glue or E6000 glue. Then place the glued plate/jar over the dowel or rebar (you probably only need one or the other by doing it this way.)

This also lets you remove the plate for easy cleaning.

Melissa B

Saturday 13th of February 2021

@Larry Wachtel, thank you!!! I came looking for what glue is best and you answered that. I happen to have some two part epoxy. Gotta check if it’s for glass though...I bought extra when repairing a hard plastic lawn chair that the leg broke on.


Saturday 28th of December 2019

Such a great idea. I would love to try but concerned about mosquito larva?


Monday 30th of December 2019

I ended up refilling almost daily, it's a shallow plate and it doesn't hold a lot of water. If you clean it out every few days or even just overfill it and let the excess run off to clear out any eggs you won't have any issues


Monday 19th of August 2019

I want to try this, seems so lovely however I sometimes have young granbabies visit. Would it be safe to glue the stones in place so little hands can’t grab them? I was wondering if the glue might cause the water to be tainted🤷‍♀️ Thanks


Monday 19th of August 2019

I wouldn't glue them, you could probably use fish tank sale silicone adhesive without harming the butterflies but it would be very difficult to keep it clean. I keep mine in the middle of a clump of cone flowers, the kids can see it but they don't go into the flowers and they can't reach the stones.


Tuesday 19th of March 2019

I am going to do this and just place the plate on a small table so I don't have to use the dowel and conduit and glue. Simple. And then easy to clean.

Rose Tomlinson

Thursday 22nd of February 2018

I use E600 Industrial glue for all things I planned to put outside. I think I made flowers from plates using this glue about 4 years ago and it's still together.