Friday, October 1, 2010

Making Egrets from PVC Pipe

This week, the boys and I got busy and made 10 white egret figures to be sold at a fund-raising concert for the benefit of the IMC ministry.

We've known for quite a while how to make these figures, but just hadn't just hadn't put the pedal to the metal until now.  The man that taught us how to make these beautiful figures of a white egret cut from PVC pipe was Henry Van Barneveld from Canada.  Henry makes them every now and then to sell at craft fairs.  They really are attractive and fairly simple to make. 

The 2008 Canadian team, l to r, Stu, Scott, Jack, and Henry
Henry, and three other members of Zurich Mennonite Church in Ontario, Canada, came to Granja Peniel in September 2008, where they worked for more than a week making many improvements to the workshop.   Thanks, again, Henry, and the rest of the team, for all your help and support - it is still paying dividends!

Fabian Perdomo cutting, Anderson Mora and David Rocha holding the pipe.
 The first step in making the birds is to mark out the shape on a 3-foot long piece of 4" PVC pipe, using a pattern.  Henry left us two patterns to use, one large size and one smaller one.  Then we cut out the shape using a jigsaw.  Sounds easy enough, but if your technique is poor, the plastic just vibrates and won't cut...

Then the boys drill holes for the eyes and mounting screws.

And apply some heat to bend the plastic into a shape more representative of the bird...

Finally, glue on the eyes with some hot silicone...

Duvan Guayara drilling the hole for the rebar spud
And cut some short logs to mount the birds on, attaching three wraps of white rope near the top and a rebar spud to stick into the ground....

And you're ready to send them off to market.  Actually, the marketing here is the hard far we only sold two of the birds, even with a rather low price of $20,000 pesos (about $11 US).  Apparently, Colombians haven't yet arrived at the point of appreciating yard ornaments?

But the boys and I had some fun making them, and they are strikingly beautiful.  Perhaps it will just take a while before they catch on, let's hope!


  1. Dear Grant,
    I am a Christian woman/woodworker/artist/massage therapist living in Pennsylvania. I have tried over the years to find a pattern to make PVC egrets, since I saw them once in a store on Long Beach Island, NJ. I haven't seen any since then.
    No one seems to want to share a pattern. It seems such a shame because they are exquisitely beautiful.
    If I send you a nice donation, to an address that you supply, could you please send me a tall egret and a pattern of the tall and shorter one?? I would be very grateful if you could.
    If you arranged to utilize Pay Pal, and got your mission publicized on others sites,
    i'm sure you would sell your egrets, or other things, (like birdhouses), quite easily.
    If this can be arranged, would a money order work for you in your country?
    Virginia Nicholas

  2. Dear Virginia,

    Thank you for your comment and your interest in the egrets. Unfortunately, I haven't been reviewing comments, so I didn't see yours until now - Sept 8, 2011. I'll follow up with an email to you - I'd be happy to share the pattern with you.


    Grant Bye

  3. well Virginia Nicholas from your title christian woodworker/artist we all know what your planing to do with that pattern.. shame on u since these boys want to raise money for their church and you just want to profit from them.. the real christian thing you could do Virginia Nicholas is to pay the boys to make them for you and then you could resell them for your profit.. don't be greedy christian women Virginia Nicholas..

  4. These PVC pipes are best known for it durability and for a strong plastic. i like the creativity you shown here..looking great.
    great work done. thanks for sharing such good post.
    Pvc Pockets