Saturday, April 14, 2018

Desk Zen Garden DIY

A few years ago, Patrick and I visited the insanely beautiful White Sands in New Mexico.
This is honestly the most breath-taking, enchanting place I have ever been. 

During yoga, meditation, or any other situation where I am instructed to “close my eyes and imagine a peaceful, happy place,” this is where I go.
Because the sand is composed entirely of gypsum crystals, instead of quartz-like your traditional sand-colored sand, it's actually white, creating the illusion of endless, untouched banks of snow.
(photo by Patrick)
I stashed a handful of this gorgeous sand in my pocket for some future DIY project.
And, here we are.
This Zen garden was crafted for Patrick's desk.
Any sand will work for this Zen garden. However, this is an excellent way to use sand collected from a special place or a vacation (because - let's be real: I know I'm not the only one out there that snags little souvenirs).
 Tiny Zen garden rakes are available online, BUT if you are feeling extra crafty, you can make one out of bamboo appetizer forks and a wooden coffee stirrer from Starbucks.

You will need:

for the garden 
terracotta saucer
black acrylic paint
small rocks
Buddha figurine (optional)

for the rake
3 bamboo appetizer forks
thin wooden coffee stir stick
wire clippers
super glue

The Garden 
Terracotta saucers used to collect excess water from a pot, make perfect little bases. You’ll find them at any garden center or hardware store. Mine is 6" in diameter. 
Coat the saucer with a layer or two of black acrylic paint and allow time for drying. I recommend a high gloss paint.
Pour in the sand, then add a few stones. 
Psst - the tutorial for this red glass Moroccan Candle Holder is here.
I found these lovely little rocks at the Denver Rock & Mineral Show, but you could collect them during hikes, or even pick up a pack from the craft section at the dollar store.
The tiny Buddha statue is from a little Colorado Springs shop called Everest Tibet
I don’t see them for sale on the website, but other online stores carry similar figurines.
Patrick's coworker brought the totem head statue from Hawaii.

The Rake
Again, you could purchase the rake online, but they aren’t too difficult to make – and handmade is better anyway, right?
Using the wire clippers, you will cut portions from all three bamboo forks and the coffee stir stick.
Snip the prongs off fork#1 right at the base.
Snip a section of the coffee stir to match the length of the two prongs.

For forks #2 and #3, snip off just the tips of the prongs. The tips should be about .25" long.

The first part you will make is the "head" of the fork (imagine this like the head of a razor).
Glue the 2 longer prongs to the section of the coffee stir with a space in the center for the "teeth" of the rake.
The head should look like this:
The four shorter prongs will become the "teeth," which are technically called tines.
Space them out evenly on the head and glue in place.
When completed, the head will look like this:
My tines (or teeth) are not exactly the same height, and they lean slightly in different directions.
Imperfections sometimes happen when items are handmade, but that's okay.

The bamboo handle from fork #1 will become your rake handle.
Glue it to the center of the head like this:
If your bamboo rake has rough or splintering edges, use the sandpaper to smooth them away.
You could also paint the rake to match the stones or saucer.
Personally, I prefer the natural bamboo look.
Create patterns in the sand or rearrange the rocks in your Zen garden to relax.

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