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by pitchick

What you'll need: 16 inch Planter saucer
(x3, if making more than 1 or 2)
8 inch Stainless steel dish/liner1
8-8½ x 1¼ inch Plastic ring2
80 pound Bag of concrete
(makes 3 bowls)

Optional, but advised:
4-5 Wood shims
Needle nosed pliers
Small 'beater' screwdriver
Dishwashing gloves (thick, long cuff)


feed dish

The stainless steel dish should be about 8" inside diameter and about 3/4" deep.  You can find these as either a candle plate or more often as an electric rangetop burner cover.  Just be sure they are 100% stainless steel.  I prefer them with a lip if I can find them, but usually the rim of the burner covers is just rolled.  Price varies widely.  I have gotten them for $1 each on closeout at Walmart, and seen the 4 cover set for about $15-18 if bought at full price, with many in between.

2 The ring can be made from pretty much any cheap 4-6 quart plastic bowl.  You'll have to cut the bowl at a place where the wall is still tapered, not too steeply.  It should be about 1/2 inch narrower (diameter) at one end versus the other.  Ideally the diameter would be 8-8½" but I was never able to find one that I didn't have to cut a piece out of and duct tape it together to make it the appropriate width to fit inside the stainless liner (see pictures below).  Doing so works just fine, but if you can find a bowl with the proper diameter it would make it last longer I'm sure.  I've used tin snips to cut some of them, on some I have used a hacksaw and some I have used a flat tip on a soldering iron, it depends on how thick and much 'flex' the plastic has.  I don't have a dremel, but that might do the trick.  Cutting out the ring is definitely the hard part of this project, but worth it.

Note:  It is best to make these bowls when it will be mostly clear and no lower than 50-55° and no higher than about 85-90° for at least two days.

Please be sure to read through and thoroughly understand the whole thing before starting!


Receipt for the 16 inch saucer and concrete I got at Home Depot:




Here is the packaging from a set of covers I bought.  I got them at Walmart for about $8-10 I think and there are 2 that can be used (2 that are too large unless making some for larger dogs, as noted below):

cover packaging


Example of the stainless steel liners.  This one is a candle plate:

stainless steel dish

This one is a burner cover:
burner cover


An example of the rings cut out and what's left of the bottom of a bowl after cutting one:

plastic rings


Close-ups of how the plastic ring fits inside the liners:

plastic ring in dish

ring in cover

Notice that it flares out from and fits looser in the one without a lip.
This is desired, in that it allows the liner to sit solidly in the concrete base.


Place the saucer on a level work area where you won't mind a little concrete spillage.  If you have used it in the past be sure to clean it out as much as possible.  A 'beater' screwdriver is useful here.  The cleaner it is, the better the bowl, and the easier it comes out more neatly.

Invert the ring as shown in the saucer:

feed dish setup


Place the liner over the inverted plastic ring:

feed dish setup

setup ready


I use dish gloves from this point on.

Mix up one 80 pound bag of regular concrete according to the directions on the bag.

Carefully place 2-3 heaping double handfuls around the edges and gently push the concrete up, under the lip while agitating the saucer a bit.   Be sure to keep it centered, and don't push it under too hard, but you don't want any voids either.  Smooth it around evenly then completely fill the saucer the rest of the way with concrete.  Once filled you may need to use the shims to make sure the saucer is relatively flat/level.

feed dishes poured


After that, gently agitate the saucer a bit more and smooth it with your (gloved) hands.

You want the air bubbles to surface, without all the rock settling.

feed dishes setting


Let them set as-is in their saucers for at least a day or two then turn over/pop out in a sunny, out of the way spot.  If you flip them upright you can usually just sort of pull the saucer off the bowl.  Rinse them off and out gently and let them sit out another few days to a week.

all concrete bowls


They're stronger when left to cure properly.

six dishes


It's pretty easy to get six of these made in a weekend if you make the first batch Saturday morning and the next Sunday late afternoon/evening during the summer.

six dishes


feed dish

These bowls are the perfect size for feeding dogs up to about 70 pounds.  They're deep enough to catch the food, even if tossed from a pretty fair distance, but shallow enough to rinse out easily.  Their flared base resists food going underneath and their weight helps them sit firmly in the dirt.  As with my water bowls, the stainless steel liner makes them easy to keep very clean and mostly prevents the dog from biting its food against concrete.

You could probably go to an 18" saucer with the 10" liners from the burner cover package for very large dogs if you adjusted the depth of the ring to about 2", but I have not tested that to be sure.

Be sure and check out the Concrete Water Bowl Instructions too.