How to Make a Wishing Well

Updated June 18, 2018

Mini wishing wells are classic wedding table decorations. Full-size wishing wells create a focal point in your landscape design, while smaller versions are a whimsical afterthought at the base of a large tree. Wedding wishing wells are usually decked in lace, beads and satin. Garden versions are made from planters, staggered bricks, pavers or landscape timbers, and have round, octagonal or square bases.

Spray paint a 12-inch square plastic planter white or cream, or your chosen wedding colours. Allow to dry overnight. Apply a second coat, drying it overnight again.

Mark the centre points on the right and left sides of the planter, at the top and bottom, with a permanent marker. Snap a chalk line between the two points on each side. Drill a 1/4-inch-diameter hole two inches from one end of each furring strip.

Apply rubber cement to one furring strip and centre it along one of the chalk lines on one side of the square planter. The rubber cement provides a temporary hold. Repeat for the other furring strip. These are the uprights for the wishing well.

Make a new chalk line down the centre of each furring strip. Mark along the line, two inches from the bottom and two inches from the top edge of the planter. Drill 1/8-inch-diameter pilot holes through the strip and the planter at all four positions.

Insert the machine screws through the 1/8-inch holes. Secure them using hex nuts. Insert the dowel rod through the 1/4-inch-diameter holes to serve as the winch.

Tie one end of an 10-inch piece of kitchen string around the dowel rod and wind it around six to eight turns before you tie the other end around the handle of the wooden mini bucket.

Cut a slot in the 12-inch square of cardboard, 1/4-inch wide and 6 inches long. Paint the cardboard cream or white and allow it to dry. Draw designs on the square using wavy lines.

Apply bead strings along the wavy lines, using a hot melt glue gun and clear glue sticks. Wipe away excess glue as you work. Lay the decorated square piece on top of the square planter as a lid.

Apply lace eyelet around the top edge of the planter as a final touch. Coil a length of real or silk ivy vine around the uprights and the dowel rod. Attach flowers that echo the ones in the bride's bouquet to complete your wishing well. Staff at Funny Wedding Ideas advise using seasonal flowers to decorate your wishing well.

Level a circular area, 6 feet in diameter, by removing all the grass and digging down four inches. Sift out rocks and roots. Lay a spirit level on a board across the area. "When the bubble is centred between the lines on the vial, the surface is level..." states David Darling of The Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living.

Drive two 6-foot lengths of 2-inch diameter, black-steel pipe into the ground 2 feet deep and 3 feet apart, using a sledge hammer. Lay a keystone paver with the 5-inch side touching one of the black-steel pipes. Lay a circle of keystone-shaped pavers with their 5-inch side facing the inside edge of the circle.

Mix concrete, following package directions, and use it as mortar between each row of pavers, if desired. Because the wishing well base will be filled with dirt, this is only necessary if you want the added strength. Start the next row of pavers so they overlap the ones below them. Repeat laying pavers until your well base is 3 feet high.

Fill the inside of the well with rocks, wood trimmings from your garden and shredded newspaper to reduce the volume of dirt you will need to fill your wishing well planter. Fill remaining space in the wishing well base with dirt. Filling the well base before proceeding with the wishing well ensures that the pavers are supported.

Slide each end of the 1.5-inch diameter landscape tubing into one of the black-steel pipes to make an arch. Apply instant adhesive to a 4-inch-wide section at the peak of the arch. Tie a wooden bucket on a string from the highest point of the arch. Wrap the bucket around the landscape tubing until the instant adhesive is covered by rope.


Plant ivy and clematis at each end of your wishing well and train it to grow up and over the landscape tubing.

Things You'll Need

  • 12-inch square plastic planter
  • White or cream spray paint
  • Permanent marker
  • Chalk line
  • Power drill, 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch diameter bits
  • Rubber cement
  • 2 furring strips, 1/4-inch by 1/2-inch by 24-inch
  • 1/8-inch diameter, 1-inch long machine screws
  • 1/8-inch hole-diameter hex nuts
  • 12-inch long, 1/4-inch diameter dowel rod
  • 10-inch piece of kitchen string
  • 2-inch wooden mini bucket
  • 12-inch cardboard square
  • Hot melt glue gun, clear glue sticks
  • Lace and eyelet trims
  • Bead and sequin strings
  • Toothed rake
  • Level
  • 8-foot board
  • 2-inch diameter, threaded black-steel pipe, 2 pieces, 6-feet long
  • Sledge hammer
  • Yardstick
  • 300 keystone-shaped landscape pavers, 5-inch wide at the back
  • Rocks, wood trimmings, shredded newspaper and soil
  • 8-foot-long, 1.5-inch black landscape tubing
  • Instant adhesive
  • Wooden bucket
  • 6-mm cotton rope, 6 feet long
  • Ivy and clematis plants
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About the Author

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.