Many years ago I purchased a froggy fountain while attending a garden festival. I had never really liked the bluish-black color of the fountain, but he was just too cute to leave behind that day.
Over the years, I've used him outdoors for summer parties on the deck. Occasionally after a party, I would leave him out for a week or two to enjoy before tucking him away for the next party.
Though he wasn't used that much, he had really started to show some serious wear. I have a feeling he was never painted with paint meant for outdoor use.
As I began to look closer, I was shocked to see what poor shape he was really in. There was a lot of rust inside the bowl, but fortunately it hadn't worn through the bottom.
To get him back in tip-top shape, I used this set of mini-wire brushes to scrub away all the loose rust inside the bowl and on the top of the fountain.
Here's how it look after a good scrubbing with the brushes.
Rust-Oleum makes several products you can use to prime a metal surface with before painting it, like this metal primer shown below.
I was dismayed to see the rust had literally eaten through the front of the fountain, leaving little holes all across the front.
After a bit of research, I purchased Bondo All-Purpose Putty which works on lots of different surfaces including metal.
It took a couple of tries to repair the holes. To start, I mixed up the Bondo, and the hardener that came with it, as the directions on the can recommended. Bondo begins to harden up very quickly, so there's no time to waste. I spread it quickly over the holes across the front of the fountain.
After it was dry, which only takes about half an hour, I was able to start sanding. While sanding I reached inside and broke off the pieces of Bondo that had squeezed through the holes on the inside of the fountain. When I did, the Bondo popped out of the biggest hole, leaving the hole wide open again.
I place a piece of tape with a small piece of paper towel stuck to it on the inside. Then I reapplied the Bondo putty to the large hole and a few more teeny holes I had spotted. Once dry and sanded, here's how it looked.
I wish I had thought to sand down the runs from the original paint job but I was so focused on repairing the holes, I didn't think about those at the time. The fountain also had a dent in the front that I thought about hammering out, but with all the little holes across the front, I decided it wasn't worth the risk.
Tip: Be sure to wear a good mask when sanding...very important!
I used Rust-oleum primer on parts of the fountain, black Rust-Oleum paint on the inside of the fountain and a pretty "Moss Green" color for the exterior. Another great option is X-O Rust Anti-Rust Enamel Paint & Primer, which comes in several different colors and can be applied directly to metal surfaces.
I spray painted the fountain outdoors on a piece of plywood, again while wearing a mask. Once it was almost completely dry, I brought it into the basement for the evening.
Now for the fun part!
These were the colors I wanted to use on the fountain. The previous paint job had been so drab, I wanted to give it more of a summer feel, something whimsical and fun. As pictured in the previous photo, I ended up using the Rust-Oleum Moss Green color on the body of the fountain, but I decided to save the other colors for larger paint projects since I only needed a little of each color.
For the other colors I used small bottles of outdoor craft paint. Remember how Mr. Froggy Fountain looked before?
He's a much happier frog now, sporting a whimsical paint finish.
I like having the inside painted black, it helps to camouflage the little mesh stand that goes inside and limits the splashing.
I hope he'll last many more years now. My only regret is that I waited so long to refurbish him. Fortunately, I think I caught him just in the nick of time before the rust completely ruined him.
I'm looking forward to using him out on the deck this year, all dressed out in his summer garb.