Well the holidays are right around the corner….have you started making stuff yet? Well I’m diy-ing birdseed ornaments. Since many of you seem to enjoy my “recipe” themed posts I thought I would share this one, since it’s very well timed for the holiday season. I remember doing something like this in grade school , , so I’m glad to know it’s still a popular craft.
You’ll be doing something nice for the birds outside your window, and they’ll be in cute shapes. In the spirit of Christmas, you could use Christmas themed cookie cutters (star, bell, tree, etc. shapes) There are several variations on the recipe, I will be sure to mention both of them…one involves the use of unflavored gelatin, and the other uses peanut butter.
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A substance that is both bird-friendly and enjoyable from their point of view, and the ingredients chosen need to bind together well. Regardless of what you have on hand in your pantry, you;ll be able to find a combination that will work out (plus substitutions if necessary.) So if you’re ready to get your holiday crafting on with this…
Regardless of which recipe you choose, you;ll need some wax or parchment paper, a narrow skewering object (e.g toothpicks etc.) mixing bowl and spoon and an assortment of cookie cutters.I’m using my old cookie cutter set. These are vintage…I don’t know how old they are but you may recall them from a couple of my other projects on here.
Tip: If you’ve looked everywhere and can’t locate any cookie cutters…..you could use a muffin tin or a silicone soap mold.
I was a little miffed as one of the cutters in that set is missing – the heart shape. I can’t figure out for the life of me where I put it…but I do know that I isolated it from my kitchenware because awhile back I used it in a bead melting project thus rendering it no longer “safe” for culinary use. Oh well. It may turn up when I least expect it, 9as all my missing craft stuff does.)
This is the gelatin variation. This is perfect for you if you’re in a cooler weather phase *most likely, during Christmas, you’ll be) You can hang these out any time of the year, but if you live in an area that’s very humid in the summertime it may be prone to melting, -so it is great to have out during the cooler months of the year.
Birdseed Ornaments Recipe – (With Gelatin)
2 cups of birdseed
3 tbsp corn syrup
2.5 tbsp unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water
Possible substitute for corn syrup include agave, honey or maple syrup. Just use whatever you have on hand.
Start by heating water on the stovetop to boiling. Slowly add the corn syrup (1), reduce heat, then sprinkle in gelatin. Stir together until gelatin dissolves (2). The mixture should have a syrupy constancy. Remove from heat.(3)
Add the flour, the mixture will be somewhat thick (4) if it’s too thick to stir (you’ll know as your spoon will start braking) add water by the tablespoon until a better consistency is reached. I added two tablespoons. Now mix in your birdseed (5) Interesting note to add, the original recipe I found called for 4 cups of seed, but that sounded a little too much, so I’m starting with a cup and a half, folding it in gradually. Two cups was just about right.
The resulting mixture will be stiff. Spray the inside of your cookie cutters with nonstick cooking spray, and begin with the seed/flour mix – using a spatula and your fingers helps – pushing it into the cutters, try to be sure it fills up the compartments well including the corners.
You may end up with that odd bit of dough that doesn’t fit any of the cutters, if this happens, roll what’s left up into balls, you can skewer these and still use these as ornaments.
Take your sharp object and pierce a hole near the top of each filled cutter, try not to get too close to the edge-about half and inch is good, and pierce. You can use a bamboo skewer, toothpick, whatever you have on hand that’s long, narrow and pointed enough. Allow everything to dry for at least 6-8 hours.
I let mine set up overnight. Now’s the time to pop out the seed cakes, it will be easier if the cutters have been warmed somewhat. Mine didn’t come out easily, so I put them in a shallow pan filled with hot water, which helped. Turn over and release.If they still stay put, a toothpick to the edge can help pry them loose.
So far, I’m pleased with how they turned out…save for the star, one corner looked a little crumbled. I see my cat Blaze, is taking an interest…It looked like she was trying to eat the loose birdseed that came off, which she wasn’t – just sniffing it.
Use twine, jute cord (my favorite) and a narrow ribbon to thread through he holes in each finished ornament, now you can hang them from a tree (real, or Christmas)
For preservation, you can wrap them in Saran wrap until you get ready to use them, or just wrap up the ones you aren’t planning to hang out.
Well, that’s how you diy birdseed ornaments…Here is the recipe variation without gelatin if you prefer!
Birdseed Ornament Recipe (No Gelatin)
2 cups of birdseed
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tbsp molasses, honey or syrup
1/4 cup flour
This won’t involve the stovetop….you can definitely get your kiddos involved with this – they’ll love it 🙂 It works well, just like the gelatin method, as the peanut butter and seed will stick together well, we are just going to adjust the ratio of each so that it will eventually harden up in the cutters or molds.
Mix the dry ingredients first and then fold in birdseed, the mixture will be stiff. Shape them into the cutters (spray the inside first) as you did with the first recipe. Follow with piercing the holes and allowing to dry thoroughly (it may take up to a day to fully “set’ .)
As a variation, instead of filling up cookie cutters (or molds) with the mixture, you could spread it onto another object – not too different from our approach with the timeless pine cones. Locating the right kind of objects that would qualify as ornaments may be a little tricky – I have heard of people using toilet tissue cardboard tubes, or round cardboard discs, it also needs to be an object that could be threaded with string easily too.
Hang on the branches of your trees outside, they’ll be eye catching and tasty, too…And don’t forget you can give some of these as gifts, too…(don’t forget to wrap them in something protective, like plastic wrap) first. If you hang them on your holiday tree I’d keep them in plastic wrap, as they could attract bugs. Have fun and happy holidays!