"" sewing tutorial | KIDS | crafts | handmade gifts | bread bags | fort kits | diy hang tags | saltwater-kids

12.09.2010

thrifty gifts:: bird seed ornaments (for outdoor use)


 My boys spend hours perched in our front window, just watching birds.

They especially love putting out treats for their feathered friends.

It is amazing how quiet and still a three & five year-old can be - completely memorized. 


So, for gifts this year we are keeping it simple - giving an experience rather than just more stuff.  We are giving the experience of spending a few moments watching nature - a few moments to slow down, and relax.


These molded bird seed ornaments are a lot of fun to make, and very inexpensive. You may already have all the materials you need in your home - we were able to make gifts for all the wonderful friends in our life for around $3.

I found this recipe here, and it worked great!

You'll Need:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tbsp. corn syrup
4 cups birdseed
molds (muffin tin, cookie cutters, etc.)
nonstick spray
drinking straw
waxed paper
ribbon/twin

1: Combine the flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined.

2: Add the birdseed to the mixture, stir until well coated.

3: Spray your mold(s) with cooking spray, and spoon birdseed mixture into each mold. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it down, and make the top smooth.


Poke a hole through top of each birdseed mold using a drinking straw, making sure it goes all the way through.

4: Leave the birdseed mixture in the molds for two to three hours. Then, remove the straws and lay out a sheet of waxed paper. Gently remove the hardened ornaments from the mold, and place them on the wax paper upside down. Allow them to dry for at least two to three more hours, or overnight.
5: Cut your ribbon and carefully put it through the hole. 


6: Package them up!

I made gift boxes from materials around the house - check out the how-to!

Happy Holidays!


103 comments:

  1. I'm heading out to buy the gelatin while my older boy is in preschool -- thanks for a fabulous idea! They'll love it and so will their nature-loving friends!

    ReplyDelete
  2. what a cute idea and a great way to get the children observing nature. Love it!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another great idea!!! thank you!!!

    -Amy
    Crafting by Candlelight

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is the perfect gift for my daughter to make for her friends and cousins. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It sounds like there will be many happy bird with full tummies this holiday season!

    Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, I truly appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for this idea and instructions for how to do it! We love it!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. what a fabulous idea. Thanks for a great tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great idea and lovely pictures to go with it! Looking forward to making these with my 2 year old son. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great idea and lovely pictures to go with it! Looking forward to making these with my 2 year old son. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  10. could you use flavored (red) jello? I know most birds love red.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe instead of flavored, you could add a few drops of red food coloring? I don't think all the extra flavorings and preservatives in Jell-o would be too good for the birds.

      Delete
  11. I love it! My kids will be able to make these for the neighbors instead of the typical Christmas cookies.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Such a great idea--thanks! Saw this on blog.craftzine.com ...

    ReplyDelete
  13. this is so great! I hope I can squeeze this project in, my family loves bird watching so this would be perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love this idea.

    How long do these last outside? I'd like to make a larger one and have a mold in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love this idea.

    How long do these last outside? I'd like to make a larger one and have a mold in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I can't wait to make these with my daughter. Most recipes include peanut butter which she can't come near! Thanks! ! I thinks its a lovely gift idea.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Can't wait to go out and get supplies to do this.................don't have any gelatin. We got a bunch of snow here yesterday, so I know those little birds will be hungry!

    ReplyDelete
  18. to: CherishedHearts Vintage - Ours have not lasted very long due to the squirrels, but if it was not exposed to too much moisture (and little critters), it might last for quite a while.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is one of the cutest gifts I've see this season. Then you add the adorable red box. I can't wait to give these a try. You made it look easy! I think my grandson would love to help.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you, Emily!

    The thrift store had the star jello molds that I was hoping to find. Even if the squirrels enjoy more than the birds, these will be fun to make and gift.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a neat gift idea! I now know what my 2 year old will be making to give everyone for Christmas this year. Thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. A quick alternative version is to melt marshmallows, like with Rice Krispies treats!

    ReplyDelete
  23. How did you make the circle ones with the hearts in the middle? They're beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Made these tonight. Lots of fun with my little guys. It will be nice to give to neighbors and grandparents.

    ReplyDelete
  25. this is a sweet idea. i'd like to try it with honey in place of corn syrup.

    someone asked if they could use red jello. i just wanted to mention it's generally a good idea for all us living creatures to stay away from artificial food coloring. use a red bow instead of putting the red in the food itself! :)

    thank you for posting this lovely idea!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Just had a fun time making these up with my kiddos. Thanks for posting this... I'm really excited to see how these turn out and package them up for neighbors and friends!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would suggest not making this with bird seed with sunflower seeds in it - harder to cut! I put a piece of waxed paper in a baking pan, sprayed with spray, and then put the entire batch in that. Then, I took a regular dining knife and cut into squares... and poked the holes in those. It might take a bit longer to dry, but is easier to make. These are just for little play group friends anyways! may try making the fancier versions for the family as gifts from my 2 year old.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow, these look good. can't wait to ty it!

    ReplyDelete
  29. to: Kim - I put the seed mixture in a muffin tin, and then pressed a heart-shaped playdough stamp into the center.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Just found you via notmartha.org via metafilter. Totally charming and practical gift. Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  31. what a cute idea - i think my 2 little ones would love making these and then watching the birds. thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am thinking we'll make these as a post-holiday project along with popcorn and berry strings to re-decorate our tree for the birds to enjoy for a few days.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I made these and discovered a little issue... mold. At least here in humid Texas, these don't have a long shelf life without growing some fuzz. I would suggest freezing these while waiting for gift giving time or when you plan to put them out. Don't want to poison our feathered friends!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm super excited to try to make these with my kindergarten class this week! Thanks for such a cute, simple idea that promotes kids loving nature!

    ReplyDelete
  35. sorry, i meant to ask...how many did you get out of one batch? i think i will use small canning lids so they are all the same (not that 5 yr olds would EVER fight over shapes ;) i just want to make sure i have enough stuff for all my students!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks Christy, these would be fun for a Kindergarten class! When I made these I used many different shapes and sizes, so if I had go guess I would say you could make 15-20 with each batch.

    ReplyDelete
  37. We did this today at school and THEY LOVED IT! We called them 'birdseed cookies' and it's all they talked about for the rest of the day. I can email you some pictures if you are interested in what it looked like on a larger scale (I have 14 students). Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Christy, I would LOVE to see pictures! I am so thrilled that your kiddos enjoyed making the birdseed cookies - great name by the way. I tried to email you, but I couldn't find an email address on your profile page, so I hope you get this message. Thank you - neighbor!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Love this idea--We read The Night Tree by Eve Bunting this year (it's about making a Christmas Tree for animals). Next year when we read it we will totally be making these!

    Awesome!

    www.mobmom.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. This is a great idea! I would love to receive these as a gift! These would be neat on trees for a party instead of candles.

    Lisa

    From: http://charlie-the-cavalier.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  42. I just finished making these with my girls for Valentine's Day. My husband made little tags to go on the ribbon that said "hang me out side for your "tweety" friends". Then my girls made tags that said "you're so Tweet" and "You're the Tweetest" It was so much fun!!! Thanks for the tutorial. Kim

    ReplyDelete
  43. Kim, I love the "tweet" tag idea! If I hadn't given these to everyone for Christmas I would be making some "tweet" tags right now! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Loved your tutorial! We made some ourselves. There are a few pictures on my blog:

    http://greeniezona.livejournal.com/395373.html

    ReplyDelete
  45. My two and four year old made these for Valentine's Day! We had a lot of fun! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Great project! I just wanted to let you know that we featured this project on our Facebook page with over 14,000 fans. We’d love it if you’d use our Featured Blogger button, available at: http://www.dailycraft.com/thank-you-for-crafting/. Our audience loved the project and we look forward to sharing more from you. Please let us know if you have any questions or projects you’d love us to feature! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  47. I found this post through pinterest and I absolutely love it! I can't wait to do this. I have put it on my autumn bucket list, which I will be blogging about later today, with a link back to you. Thanks so much for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  48. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thanks for a great Christmas Decoration blog, found it very informative
    Christmas Decoration Ideas

    ReplyDelete
  50. I made these the other day, and they turned out very well - cute! I used rather large Wilton cookie cutters for my molds, packed them full and got about 9 ornaments per batch. Important to note that they do not last long if hung in a place exposed to the elements - they dissolve in rain/wet weather and fell off the ribbons as the holes were some of the first places to dissolve... I might try to embed a wire hanger throughout the mold to give it a little more longevity. (though the hole and ribbon (or pipe cleaner) hanger is much more appropriate and easier for the little kiddos!)

    ReplyDelete
  51. Use a couple of satay sticks or a pair of toothpicks so that you aren't cutting up plastic straws and gifting them to a landfill forever!

    I love these ornaments and can hardly wait to make them.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Awesome going to make the and decorate my tree outside. I'm sure the birds will love them.

    ReplyDelete
  53. how long do they keep? just wondering when is the earliest i can make them without them starting to get funky. (we're giving them to my mom for christmas)

    ReplyDelete
  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hi Julia, I had a few extras left over that hung around our house for at least 3-4 weeks. The only possible issue I noticed was that they started to crumble a little - but that might be because they were shuffled around from pile to pile. I didn't have any type of mold or mildew issues, if that is what you are worried about.
    Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  56. I tried these today. They came out a bit "ashy" looking. I used the 3/4 cups flour...do you think I should use less or can I maybe wipe them down with water to take that away (didn't want that to ruin them by accident though). Any suggestions would be helpful! Thanks! I love these.

    ReplyDelete
  57. We tried these a few days ago with our garden club at school - we left them in the shed overnite to dry out (we are in so cal so maybe 45 degrees low). I am hoping that this was the problem b/c the next afternoon they were very crumbly. They are so cute I really want them to work. I will try to keep them inside to dry and will try again with the garden club next week! Thanks for such a fun activity for kids!

    ReplyDelete
  58. I tried these last night and they crumbled all to pieces this morning when the were dry! Sad... Did I need more liquid, gelatin... ? Followed the directions exactly and to the touch this morning, they seemed hard and dry... but upon touching them to pull out the straws, they crumbled apart... i salvaged a few, but am afraid the string holder won't hold... if you know what I mean...
    HELP! We loved making them, but are dying to give some of these for homemade gifts! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hi Jamie,

    I am sorry that you are having problems with the ornaments. I have heard a few other people say they had similar results, and the only explanation I can think of is the differing climates/temperatures. My only suggestion would be to try adding more gelatin like you mentioned. Prior to trying this recipe, I tried one that was all gelatin and no flour (similar to this one: http://themagiconions.blogspot.com/2010/07/darling-little-birdseed-cakes.html) and it turned out too soggy - so maybe you will have luck trying a happy medium.

    I'm sorry I don't have a fool proof recipe, and I hope you find something that works (and if you do, I would love to know your recipe).


    Have a wonderful Wednesday!

    Emily

    ReplyDelete
  60. My 4yr old and I had a blast making these today. Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
  61. We used "songbird food" which is heavier on sunflower seeds. You need to add a little more corn syrup and a little oil (coconut oil worked for us) if you use a bird food mix with a lot of big seeds.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
  62. My kids are packing these into cookie cutters as we speak. Do these get too hard to poke a hole through after they harden? I don't have any straws!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hi Marie, I if you read this before they dry, I would suggest using skewers, pencils, or even sticks, because you may find that the ornaments will crumble if you try to break through them after they have hardened.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Hi! Question for you - this is going to be decorating a tree in my neighbor's yard, but there is a dog which eats just about anything. So, the question is, what would be a good solution for "twine"? I don't want to use twine or ribbon or wire...

    I'm assuming that the ornaments will fall off the tree in high wind or once the birds eat enough of the ornament, and I don't want Pup to have a tummy full of ribbons and the like.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  65. I have linked to your post from my site and used your picture. If you would like me to remove the link and the image, feel free to say so. But the image just fit perfect :-) http://hobbiesonabudget.com/2012/01/21/feed-the-birds-2/ Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  66. Love these! We have a lot of feathered friends around here, and my 20 month old loves to watch them. It's summer right now (so he's watching the hummingbirds), but I will definitely be making these come winter! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  67. I made these the other day with my 2 little girls. We all loved making them, they worked a treat, and hanging them up outside, but then.....it rained, they got soggy and fell of their ribbons, leaving all of us very dissapointed (I was getting geared up to making a big batch as Christmas gifts!). Any ideas or solutions? Anyone else have this problem? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Loved making these with my daughters but.....it rained, they got soggy and fell off their ribbons - 2 very disappointed girls and one disappointed mum. Any ideas/solutions please!

    ReplyDelete
  69. Thanks for the new recipe! Will have to try it this year. I've made these before but always looking for a new twist. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I seem to have the same problem with the sogginess. Would you mind sharing the new recipe and let me know if it worked for you. Maybe I used too much corn syrup or didn't let the dry long enough. I have made two batches and would like to try the new recipe on the 3rd... Thanx so much.

      Delete
  70. Yet to try these and hoping they will be ok for weiros.

    with the puppy situation maybe you could make the holes bigger (more like a donut) and slip them straight onto the branches of the tree!

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  71. Terrific ornament! Share your ornament (or more) on our Linky List to get exposure for your own blog and share with your community. http://muddymonkeys.me/2012/11/28/wanted-homemade-christmas-ornaments-for-children-and-kids/

    ReplyDelete
  72. Terrific ornament! Share your ornament (or more) on our Linky List to get exposure for your own blog and share with your community. http://muddymonkeys.me/2012/11/28/wanted-homemade-christmas-ornaments-for-children-and-kids/

    ReplyDelete
  73. If you wanted to make them totally biodegradable for hanging outdoors, you could use natural rafia for both the hanger loop and the bow. I don't know how well it would hold up to rain/show, but then the seeds aren't going to stick together in a huge downpour either. (I am considering hanging them on a pine tree outdoors and don't want to have to go back and search for ribbon loops once the birds eat the seed.)

    ReplyDelete
  74. I love the idea but don't think it's a good idea to give birds corn syrup... humans shouldn't eat it, either!

    ReplyDelete
  75. Hi Emily!

    My grade ones made your birdfeeders this week in science!

    Check out my blog post on it!

    Renee

    The Reading Corner

    ReplyDelete
  76. Hi! I'm so excited to make these. I needed something to do for the different families for Christmas. This will be perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  77. I had so much fun making these! And while a few crumbled they all smushed to the ground on the first rain. Anyone else have this problem? I was really looking forward to sending these as gifts as I already made 2 batches but they'll just end up feeding the squirrles. If I bake them, do you think they'll hold up better?

    ReplyDelete
  78. I just love this. Thank you for SUCH a great idea for family and friends when everyone is carting around cookies and bars! :-) <3

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hi! Thanks so much!!! Just made these today. I needed something for different families for Christmas. They are just lovely. They turned out great! I used a mixture of cookie cutter molds and a muffin tin. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  80. When pressing the mixture into the molds, the seed tends to stick to your fingers. I used a folded piece of waxed paper to put between the seed and my fingers. The seed does not stick to the waxed paper, and you can easily mold and press the seed!

    ReplyDelete
  81. i made these with my preschool class last week and they turned out great. THey are giving them to thier parents for christmas. I am also going to have my daughters make these for grandparents. I just love the idea of feeding the birds that stick around in winter. Thank you for the great idea :)

    ReplyDelete
  82. what an awesome idea! i think we will try it this weekend. my daughter will love it!

    ReplyDelete
  83. Thank You for posting this...
    My husband and I just finished making these cute little fird feeders!
    We found the perfect heart mold today @ the GW and hurried home to give these a try after stopping for the birdseed...
    Now waiting....for them to dry!!!!
    Merry Christmas season to you and yours...

    ReplyDelete
  84. I made these with my daughter! http://toddlefast.blogspot.com/2012/12/birdseed-ornaments.html I ended up using toilet paper tubes as molds since I didn't have enough cookie cutters. It worked great. Also as I was watching the birds I saw that when I put them on a bare tree they had trouble getting to the ornaments to eat them. I like the idea of slipping them on the branch directing or I put them on a pine tree so they were easier to get to - the branches were close enough together for them to perch and eat them.

    ReplyDelete
  85. THanks for sharing your recipe! I blogged about our experiences with it here:

    http://learningwithmissjenny.com/2013/02/07/literacy-fun-with-an-unhappy-ending/

    ReplyDelete
  86. What a great idea, going to do this tomorrow with the grandkids, school vacation looking for something to do thanks

    ReplyDelete
  87. I love that these don't have peanut butter in them. Most of the other homemade bird feeder recipes do, and we can't use peanut butter for projects at school. I'm excited to try these!

    ReplyDelete
  88. Going to try this with my senior citizens group

    ReplyDelete
  89. What a fun & easy craft! Thanks so much for sharing! My kids and I enjoyed it so much and we are continuing to find ways to make fun treats for the birds. I blogged about our experience here: http://frumpybumpkin.com/2013/11/14/chandelier-bird-feeder/

    ReplyDelete
  90. wow what a good idea i love it

    ReplyDelete
  91. Hi there. I'm going to make these for our friends his year. We live in a rainforest climate, and my idea is to gift these with a square piece of cardboard in the package, which will act as the 'tag'. On the tag I'll write 'keep this treat dry and cool' and then there will be a hole in the centre of the cardboard. They can thread twine/ribbon through the hole before they hang it, and it'll be like a little roof for the ornament, to wad off at least some of the rain. :)

    ReplyDelete
  92. I would leave the straw in, cut it close, and have a "tunnel" for threading the ribbon with ease.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Love this, i posted this on my blog and gave a link back to you

    ReplyDelete
  94. thank you for this great idea! Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  95. This was a much welcome treat and life saver here in New Brunswick, Canada where the temps have dipped to -10℉ the last few nights and days only +10℉ at most the past few days. I always have suet and seed for them, but this was amazing for them!! My cold feathered friends thank you!! and so do I :-)

    ReplyDelete
  96. I made this exactly as directed and they fell apart. Eve the small ones. :(
    I am shocked that so many others did well. I do not believe I have missed any steps.

    ReplyDelete
  97. I did this exactly as directed and they all fell apart. Even the small ones could not stay together. I threw it all outside for the birds. :(

    ReplyDelete