As autumn quietly approaches, I catch the first sight of tumbled leaves upon the ground, their summer grasp has let go and they’ve turned the most beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. It’s what I’ve been waiting (and longing) for – the season of holidays.
As someone who was taught at a very early age that homemade gifts are better than store bought ones, I often begin planning this time of year what to DIY for family and friends. Additionally, because it’s almost the season for parties-a-plenty, I’m also on the hunt for hostess gifts.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to take inspiration from our feathered friends who are just beginning to prepare for winter, foraging for twigs, branches, and woven grasses to fluff their nests. Why not give them a hand with a homemade birdseed ornament? These kid-friendly-to-make mini-feeders will not only check off a few of your neighborhood birdies’ grocery list items, they’ll delight and impress your friends, family and the mostest of hostesses!
Homemade Birdseed Ornament Recipe
Making this recipe is a little trickier than it seems. It’s important to get the right consistency when using this seed in molds and/or cookie cutters. It’s also important for it to dry out completely before hanging. I was very successful at turning on my oven to warm it (like a warm day), then I turned it OFF. Finally, I placed my ornaments on the center rack and let them sit overnight in the oven.
- 2 cups birdseed (the smaller the seed, the better)
- 1 pkg. unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup water
- 1 Tbsp. corn syrup
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- In a bowl, add ¼ cup of water.
- Add gelatin to the top of the water.
- Pour in ¼ cup of boiling water, stir to dissolve.
- Next, stir in corn syrup and flour, then stir to mix.
- Pour in birdseed, then incorporate all ingredients.
Note: if your mix is a little watery, add a bit more birdseed. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to stiffen when using in molds or cookie cutters.
Ice Cream Cone-a-Copia Ornament
These cute coo-coo cones are perfect Thanksgiving hostess gifts – just wrap in cellophane or butcher paper and a ribbon. Give them away as party favors and/or group 5 or 6 of them inside a glass vase of acorns or tie them to a chandelier for a super cute hanging centerpiece!
- sugar cone
- peanut butter
- autumn-colored ribbon
- sharp-tipped knife
- Using a sharp-tipped knife, carefully poke a hole approximately 1” from the top of your cone. NOTE: this is the only “Grown-Ups ONLY” portion of this how-to.
- Thread your ribbon through each hole, then tie off. Start from the outside, then pull through and up the cone to tie, then pull the knot taut so it’s hidden inside the cone.
- Spread a thick layer of peanut butter around the rim of the cone, then dip into the birdseed. This is the MOST FUN part of this project!
- Optional: if you’d like to add a little perch for your birdie friends, press a toothpick down and into the peanut butter. Add a little more peanut butter to secure.
- Fill cone with birdseed and hang!
Vintage Bedspring Fruit Feeder Ornament
Seasonal fruit will be much appreciated by your nestling neighbors. What’s also fun, is that kids can watch as birdies nibble, then replenish their ornaments when needed.
- vintage bedspring (or wire hanger)
- ribbon or twine
- seasonal fruit (i.e. apples and oranges)
- Tie ribbon or twine around the wide end of the bedspring. NOTE: if you don’t have an old/vintage bedspring, you can use a wire coat hanger – using a needle nose plier, bend and curl it around the end of a broom, then form into shape.
- Stuff fruit down and into the spring. You can also cut the fruit big enough to have to jam between the springs or even poke the end into a piece. Birds aren’t picky!
- Hang and enjoy!
Twig Ball Nester Ornament
As much as birds need to eat, they also need a place to live. With this super cute and functional orb ornament, you’ll be providing the most comfortable nest decor and fluff fledglings have ever seen!
- Twig ball
- ribbon or twine
- pillow stuffing
Optional: decorations like pine cones and berries (note try and keep embellishments natural and edible)
- Cut a handful of little pieces of yarn. NOTE: the pieces should be small (approx. 1-1 ½” long) so as not to get tangled in the birds’ feet or around their necks or chicks’ necks.
- Mix with pillow stuffing. Pull stuffing apart and mix yarn to help it stick together.
- Stuff stuffing inside twig ball. Again, this is the FUN part!
- Tie ribbon and add embellishments to the top, then hang.
Bird Nest Birdseed Ornament
Talk about the most wonderful time of the year! Your birdie friends will be tweet-tweeting “Seedson’s Greetings!” when they discovered you’ve hung these adorable bird nests for them to feast upon! They’re great gifts for friends, family and hostesses (and actually, all year long!), as well as party favors for holiday and any-day parties, weddings and baby showers.
Fill them with more birdseed or something special like sunflower seeds and cranberries. You’ll definitely make the “Nice” list this year!
- ball ice cube molds (or muffin tin)
- ribbon or twine
- birdseed for formed ornaments (see recipe above)
- 2 Tablespoon spoon (or 1 Tbsp if you don’t have one)
- Prepare your birdseed. Chill in fridge for 10 minutes to stiffen the mix.
- Cut (2) two, 2-foot pieces of ribbon or twine for each nest.
- Fold in half to find the middle, then criss-cross both ribbon’s center at the bottom of each mold.
- Fill each mold with birdseed. Be sure to press down firmly into mold in order to create nice, tight nests.
- Carefully scoop out the center with a spoon, then press down the center with your 2 tablespoon spoon. Be sure to keep the edges at least ½” thick to avoid cracking your nest when hanging. Pressing the center again with your tablespoon will also help keep your nest tight and less likely to crack.
- Allow to dry out for 48 hours. This is where patience is a virtue – the KEY to these cute ornaments is to allow them to dry out completely- TOP and BOTTOM. It should take about 48 hours. NOTE: Try not to un-mold your nests until they’re completely dry. You will be able to feel that they are hardening with time.
- Dry them in the oven by turning on your oven to 170 degrees-it’ll be about as warm as a warm day. Next, turn your oven OFF, then place ornaments (in mold) inside overnight for 24 hours.
- Unmold your nests, then flip them upside-down onto a rack on a cookie sheet in order to dry the bottoms. Return to the oven (repeat step 7).
- Tie ribbon, fill with more feed, then hang. Or you can package them up as gifts and give them away! Enjoy!
View the video tutorial here:https://www.youtube.com/embed/YdSWaDCZzIE