Homemade bird seed wreaths aren’t just for the birds. They are a simple and fun craft to do with kids of all ages! We are on our second year of making DIY bird seed feeders, and it’s quickly becoming a yearly tradition. I weeded through a bunch of bird seed feeder tutorials, tried a few new things this year, and I’m sharing all of the details with you below. These homemade bird seed feeders make a great no candy valentine, but they are also fun to make for your own yard!
We are looking forward to seeing what birds our feeders attract to our yard this year. Did you know that not all birds fly south during the winter? That’s right, there are many that don’t! And a few really like fruit. We’re hoping to attract them with the orange and cranberry combo I added to this year’s bird seed recipe. We really love bird watching at our house. In fact, we have a rafter of wild turkeys that roam the neighborhood. Wait a rafter? Fun fact! That’s the word used to refer to a “flock of turkeys.”
Let’s start with the recipe for the bird seed feeders. The recipe includes bird seed, plain gelatin, flour, water, and (typically) corn syrup. The proportions vary slightly between the version I’ve seen. The basic recipe that I like to use is here from HGTV. I’m also including it below with our modifications:
Bird Seed Feeder Ingredients
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 packet plain gelatin
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 3.5 cups of bird seed (use whatever seed you prefer. I like Wagners brand)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cups dried cranberries
- 2 oranges, sliced and dried
Bird Seed Feeder Supplies
- fork or whisk
- heart shaped cookie cutters (our are from World Market)
- baking sheet
- parchment paper
- no stick spray (Pam)
Mix the Ingredients
Mix the flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup in a bowl with a whisk or fork. Add the bird seed and dried cranberries and mix well until combined, using your hands if necessary. Both of my kids LOVE this part of the recipe since they are allowed to get their hands all gooey and messy. No tasting though – yucky!
Make the Birdseed into Wreaths
The idea to make wreaths is something new we tried this year after I saw a video from HGTV using mini funnel cakes. Since we didn’t have a funnel cake mold, we used two different sized heart cookie cutters instead. The process was a little bit fussy, but I’m really happy with how they turned out. To make the wreaths, first set up your working station with a baking sheet, parchment paper, and your cookie cutters sprayed generously with non stick spray.
Start to scoop the mixture along the outside edge of the cookie cutter, making sure to “over stuff” all sides and leaving the middle empty. Next, I took the smaller cookie cutter and wiggled it into the middle. Then I spent some time squishing the bird seed into the mold until it was nice and solid. From my experience last year, the better you pack the birdseed in, the more sturdy your feeders will turn out. Pack that seed in just like you would pack brown sugar. If you have a bit of seed in the middle of your wreath, don’t worry too much. Feel free to spend some time getting it out of the middle, but know that once the wreaths are completely dry, it is easy to knock the extra pieces off.
With my first wreath complete, I carefully remove the outside cookie cutter and begin filling the outside edges again. I left the inside cookie cutter in the first wreath until I was ready to use it on the next one. And so on and so forth until you are out of bird seed mixture! Now, with all of them complete, you can either leave them to dry or bake them for a little while until they are solid. I’m an antsy pantsy, so after letting them set for an hour (this timing is totally arbitrary) I stuck my baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes. If you decide to bake it, just be sure to check back frequently and remove the wreaths once they feel hardened and stiff.
If the wreaths seem too fussy to you, you could also just fill one cookie cutter full of birdseed and use a straw or skewer to make a hole for the string. This is the way we made ours last year! But back to the wreaths. Here is how our cookie sheet looked once full:
Add Dried Oranges
This step is totally optional, but one I am SO excited about this year. I got the idea from Garden Answer’s video about repurposing a Christmas tree into a bird feeder. Isn’t that such a clever idea? If you watch her video, you will also see a different technique for attaching twine to the bird feeders. In her video, she sticks the twine right into her muffin tin molds and then tops them off with bird seed. I haven’t tried this technique. But what I did learn last year is the type of string you use makes a difference. The tutorial I used last year showed bakers twine being used. For us, the bakers twine was too thin and ended up causing the feeders to break once they were hanging. So, I recommend using a heavier twine to hang your feeders. For extra measure, I doubled up the string to give a better distribution of weight (that’s a physics thing, isn’t it?).
Ok, that was a total tangent. Back to the oranges. To dry them, cut them thinly and place the slices on a wire drying rack atop a baking sheet. Bake them at 250 for up to four hours (wowza), taking care to turn them frequently so they don’t stick. You will want to turn them frequently anyway because they make your house smell AMAZING. Once dried, I attached these right to the bird seed wreath.
These wreaths are fun to make year round, but we really enjoy spoiling our wildlife with these during the winter months. If you decide to make these, please let me know how it goes! We will likely make these again, and I LOVE to hear what works well for you guys!
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