These easy DIY birdseed ornaments make a perfect homemade gift at Christmas. They also make a nice ornament for your tree and serve a functional purpose by feeding hungry songbirds in winter. And all you to make them is a bit of birdseed, some gelatine and a little water.
A Fast and Frugal Homemade Gift Idea
I first tried making these birdseed ornaments for Christmas a couple years ago. The process was pretty easy and I ended up making half a dozen of them as gifts for people. But when I had finished making them, I put them in an airtight container to store them until Christmas. Big mistake.
The container trapped the moisture that remained in the gelatine mix and all of my ornaments went moldy! Needless to say I did not give them as Christmas gifts that year.
I decided to give them a go again last year, but I allowed them to cure in the open air for longer (about a week) and then I packaged them up in little gifts bags with “breathing” holes punched in them. This worked great! My mom still has the one I gave her and it’s like new.
I decided to make another small batch this year to gift to a couple of friends and (one to keep for ourselves). Ours is currently hanging on our Christmas tree:)
I picked up a 15 kg bag of birdseed from Costco for $11.99 (because it was cheaper than the 5 kg bag another local supermarket was selling for $17.99). I got a 12 pack of gelatine for around $6.00, and I already had some cookie cutters, so all in all this project cost me less than $20.00 and would yield at least 60 ornaments before I ran out of gelatin, with birdseed to spare. This makes this a super frugal handmade gift idea averaging around 30¢ an ornament. Box up a pack of 3 as a gift for friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, teachers and bird lovers in your life!
This project is also super quick and easy, and although I prefer to let my ornaments cure for at least a couple of days before I hang them, you could also make this the day before gifting it and it would be just fine. It only takes 3 ingredients (including water) and under 20 minutes to make and uses ingredients you can pick up at your local supermarket (if you don’t already have them on hand).
So if you find yourself a little late on your Christmas shopping or gift-making, these birdseed ornaments make a great last-minute homemade gift idea and don’t require any great level of skill to put together.
So break out your festive cookie cutters and get that list checked off! Or just make a few for the birds, and bring some life back into your own garden this winter. I don’t know about you, but by about February I’m more than ready for spring to make a return. A few songbirds hanging around in winter help me to remember that warmer, more bountiful days are just around the corner:)
Happy (merry) making!
- 2 cups mixed birdseed
- 2 packages powdered gelatine
- ½ cup of water
- Some cookie cutters in various shapes
- A few plastic straws cut into pieces (to form the holes for the ribbon)
- Some ribbon or twine (ribbon works best for hanging outdoors as twine is a more natural material that breaks down in the weather)
- Bring ½ cup of water to a slow boil on the stove. Add in 2 packs of gelatine and stir well to combine. Stir until gelatine is dissolved and then remove from heat. Let cool for a minute or two.
- Add in 2 cups of birdseed and stir to mix well and coat all of the birdseed.
- Place cookie cutters of choice on parchment paper and scoop birdseed into the shapes, pressing down firmly with the back of the spoon. Fill the cookie cutter shape all the way to the top and then some, pressing firmly to pack tightly.
- Insert a straw wherever you'd like the hole for the ribbon to be. Then pack birdseed mixture around the straw as well as you can. Use a square of parchment paper to press birdseed into cookie cutter with your hands.
- Let moulds set for a couple of hours while they harden. You can put trays of them in the freezer to speed up this process. Then when they're ready, gently push them out of the cookie cutters and take the straws out. Make sure that the straws have punched a hole all the way through.
- Tie the ribbon or twine through the hole and then allow ornaments to cure in the open air for at least 24 hours before packaging them up in breathable packaging. This can be done sooner if it is a last-minute gift and you're in a hurry. But the longer you can leave them to cure for, the better:)
- Gift to someone special or hang them in your own backyard and enjoy the songbirds all winter long!