I have two wooden ducks for outdoor decor donated by my parents. Applying the permaculture principle of “produce no waste”, the plan is to fix them up and put them in the children’s garden section of the backyard once we are at the implementation phase. Miss Z always loves the sculptures whenever we visit a nursery and this way she’ll have her own ducks to peek out of the plants. Our property has a caveat of no farm animals, which means no horses, donkeys, cows, sheep, goats or pigs, and strict limitations on poultry and how they are housed. Luckily, we also have a lake nearby with lots of birdlife, so with all our visits “duck” was one of her first words.
As you can see, the ducks are dry, weathered, and the texture is quite rough. Their feet rotted away in the garden, but otherwise look like they can be fixed up to my untrained eye. I’m not particularly crafty or into DIY although I love seeing what other people can do, so there is a learning curve in this for me.
I asked for advice at the local Bunnings about whether to use an oil or other paint to preserve the ducks and chose a deck stain. This means no sanding involved (too fiddly with set up and maintenance and I just know I wouldn’t do it), and no need for careful painting. It’s also a sample pot, which keeps the costs down. I chose European Oak to give a more naturalistic duck appearance.
After one coat of deck stain, this is how the ducks looked.
Really rich and wet, don’t you think? Then with some drying time, you can see the stain really sunk in.
I like the little nail eye.
The ducks look a lot darker with the second coat. I stood them up so they could dry all over without sticking to the newspaper.
And this is how they look dry. I’m very happy with this, and I notice the rain beads on them nicely so the deck stain is doing its job.
Ducks $0.00 (donated)
Deck stain $14.95
Pack of 2 paintbrushes $1.99
Off cut of sleeper wood as a base $0.00 (excess from installing new sleepers in the front yard)
I think that’s very reasonable for preserving two cute additions to the backyard.
As a little aside, there is a point to consider – the clean up. Again, I’m trying to produce no waste here. The paint recommended using turpentine to clean the brushes. Used turpentine is a highly flammable and volatile substance and definitely not to be poured down the sink, and I have no intention of ruining the soil in the backyard by pouring it on there. So, what do you do?
Ehow says Do not use a plastic container to dispose of turpentine; the solvent will corrode the plastic.
- So use a metal or glass container, preferably with a lid, and grab a sticky label so you know what it is
- Handle turpentine in a well-ventilated area
- For small amounts, leave the container outside (away from children and animals) to let it evaporate
- For larger amounts, put the lid on and leave the paint to settle. You can pour off the clear liquid to be reused in another labelled container. Then add an absorbent such as cat litter to the solids remaining until it becomes completely dry.
- If you’re not sure, contact your waste collection centre, local council or other environmental agency for advice and disposal
Back to the ducks, there are 2 more steps to finish. 1. Find a way to stand up the ducks, and 2. Place in the backyard.
Number 1 will be tricky as the ducks’ legs are slim and have a nail embedded through them. I want to find a way to prevent more of the ducks from rotting as they would if they are just staked into the garden as they are. I’m happy to use the off cut sleeper if I can find an easy way to make it work. Or try something else, like a duck nest maybe?
What would you do to settle the ducks into the backyard?