Nature fun idea No. 4 on our Countdown to Christmas list was to design birdseed ornaments.
This is a great activity for cold winter days when you’re looking for an indoor activity that connects kids to nature. Kids will enjoy mixing up the ingredients, but know that molding the birdseed ornaments is a slow process – it’ll take several hours to an entire evening before these creations are dry enough to hang.
You can find the complete recipe for making birdseed molds on eHow, but I’ll save you the trip and provide it for you here. (Aren’t I nice like that?)
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 3 tbsp. corn syrup
- 4 cups birdseed (whichever is popular with your local birds)
- Molds (think muffin tins & cookie cutters)
- Nonstick spray
- Drinking straw
- Waxed paper
- Ribbon, twine or yarn
*Makes about a dozen medium-sized ornaments.
- Combine flour, water, gelatin & corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined.
- Add the birdseed to the mixture, stirring gently to coat the seeds.
- Spray your mold (muffin tins or cookie cutters) with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon some of the birdseed mixture into each mold. Pack down the seeds in the molds & make the tops smooth.
- Poke a hole near the top of each mold using a drinking straw. Make sure the hole goes all the way through the mold. Leave in place.
- Leave the birdseed mixture inside the molds for 2 to 3 hours. Lay out a sheet of waxed paper on a flat surface. Remove the birdseed mixture from the molds and gently place them upside down on the waxed paper. Allow them to continue to dry for 2 to 3 more hours (or overnight).
- Cut your ribbon, twine or yarn and carefully string it through the hole. Tie a knot & it’s ready to hang!
A few tips for fun and success making birdseed ornaments with kids:
- Allow enough time for the molds to dry completely. We tried stringing a couple of ours after just 3 hours’ worth of drying on each side. They broke apart! After letting them dry overnight, all the remaining molds were break-proof.
- For a seasonal tie-in, use holiday-themed molds. We made a Christmas tree, a snowman & a star along with the heart pictured above.
- Let the kids hang the ornaments. Pick an area you know your backyard birds will frequent.
Other DIY options for feeding the birds this holiday season (and all winter long) include:
Debi Huang says
Actually, honey is not safe to feed birds. Best to keep a watchful eye on the birdseed and remove the ornament if you see mold.
Old crow says
Could maybe adding honey to the birdseed mixture keep it from molding? Or a honey glaze so to speak?
Debi Huang says
Hi Teresa! Thanks so much for stopping by GoExploreNature.com – and for your question!
I didn’t have any mold grow on our birdseed ornaments, but I wanted to get you a better answer than that. A quick Google search turned up this post that I think will help:
Birdseed Wedding Favor Hearts
Scroll to the end of the post to see this note from the author:
“Note: A couple of brides left comments stating that they made the favor hearts a couple of weeks prior to their wedding, and they molded. If you are making these before your wedding, don’t make them more than a few days ahead just to be safe.”
Hope this helps!
I was wondering how long these would last without growing mold. I am thinking about making these as wedding favors but would hate for them to go bad before big day. Any suggestions??
Yay you! Have fun! :-0
Colleen Lanin at Travel Mamas says
I will try to make these during my kids' holiday school break. No promises, but I'm gonna try!
I hope our birds like it, too! 🙂
What a lovely idea and great for the birds. I love it!xxxx