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How to Make a Cookie Cutter Bird Feeder

Updated on November 28, 2012

Bird Feeder Craft

Hang your cookie cutter bird feeders in the yard and enjoy watching your feathered friends!
Hang your cookie cutter bird feeders in the yard and enjoy watching your feathered friends! | Source

A Fun Bird Feeder Craft

Cookie cutter bird feeders use bird seed with a gelatin binding agent, and are a fun project to do with children throughout the year. These feeders can be formed into simple circles or placed into cookie cutters to create fun shapes to match the season.

Before you begin, here are a few tips:

  • Give the gelatin plenty of time to set up, or the bird feeders will fall apart. These feeders must sit for an entire day at room temperature, or will set up in about an hour in a freezer.
  • Place the hole (for hanging) in the center of the bird feeder. The first batch of feeders I made had the hole near the top, and the top ripped off because there wasn't enough material to support its weight. Placing two holes in the center is an even better idea, as it allows even weight distribution when hanging the bird feeder.
  • Do not mix peanut butter in with the bird seed, or the gelatin will not set appropriately.
  • Use twine or cotton yarn to hang the bird feeder - do not use plastic or non-biodegradable material to hang the feeder.
  • Do not place the feeder in the rain, as the gelatin binding material may dissolve.

Required Materials

You will need the following materials to make your bird feeder:

  • Twine (for hanging)
  • Bird seed
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Unflavored gelatin
  • Water
  • Cookie cutters
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Straws (to poke a hole in the feeder for hanging)

Bird Feeder Craft Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Line the cookie cutters with aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil.Pour three cups of birdseed into a mixing bowl.Sprinkle 2 packages of unflavored gelatin (0.25 oz. each, or 0.50 oz. total) into 1/2 cup of cold water.Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil and add the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to dissolve.Pour the gelatin into the birdseed, mix, and allow the mixture to cool. Pack the birdseed into the cookie cutters. Place a straw to create a hole for hanging. It is better to place the straw in the center of the bird feeder. Remove the bird feeder from the cookie cutters and tie a piece of twine through the hole.Hang the bird feeder outside and watch the birds fly in to enjoy a nice dinner!
Line the cookie cutters with aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil.
Line the cookie cutters with aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil. | Source
Pour three cups of birdseed into a mixing bowl.
Pour three cups of birdseed into a mixing bowl. | Source
Sprinkle 2 packages of unflavored gelatin (0.25 oz. each, or 0.50 oz. total) into 1/2 cup of cold water.
Sprinkle 2 packages of unflavored gelatin (0.25 oz. each, or 0.50 oz. total) into 1/2 cup of cold water. | Source
Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil and add the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to dissolve.
Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil and add the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to dissolve. | Source
Pour the gelatin into the birdseed, mix, and allow the mixture to cool.
Pour the gelatin into the birdseed, mix, and allow the mixture to cool. | Source
Pack the birdseed into the cookie cutters. Place a straw to create a hole for hanging. It is better to place the straw in the center of the bird feeder.
Pack the birdseed into the cookie cutters. Place a straw to create a hole for hanging. It is better to place the straw in the center of the bird feeder. | Source
Remove the bird feeder from the cookie cutters and tie a piece of twine through the hole.
Remove the bird feeder from the cookie cutters and tie a piece of twine through the hole. | Source
Hang the bird feeder outside and watch the birds fly in to enjoy a nice dinner!
Hang the bird feeder outside and watch the birds fly in to enjoy a nice dinner! | Source

Instructions

  1. Place aluminum foil around each cookie cutter - under the bottom and wrapped around the sides. This will keep the wet seed mixture in place.
  2. Spray the cookie cutters with an all-natural cooking spray. An olive oil spray is a good choice.
  3. Pour 3 cups of bird seed into a mixing bowl.
  4. Place two packets of unflavored gelatin (0.50 oz.) in 1/2 cup of cold water. Allow the gelatin to absorb the water.
  5. Bring 1 3/4 cup water to boil on a stove. Add the gelatin and stir until the mixture is dissolved.
  6. Pour the dissolved gelatin into the bird seed. Stir and allow the mixture to thicken and cool for about 1/2 hour. If there is an excessive amount of liquid, add more bird seed.
  7. Pack the gelatin/bird seed mixture into the cookie cutters. The seed mixture will be very loose at first.
  8. Place a straw into the center of each cookie cutter to create a hole for hanging.
  9. Let the bird feeders sit overnight until the gelatin is set. Alternatively, place the bird feeders in the freezer for about an hour. I placed my bird feeders outside in freezing weather to help them set up.
  10. Carefully remove the feeders from the cookie cutters. The gelatin will not be hard, but "squishy" in feel.
  11. Thread the bird feeder with twine and hang outside for the birds to enjoy.

Quality Bird Seed Mix

Aududon Park 12231 Cardinal Blend Wild Bird Food, 4-Pounds
Aududon Park 12231 Cardinal Blend Wild Bird Food, 4-Pounds

This seed mix is over 60% sunflower seeds to increase the number of songbirds to your yard.

 

Tips on Choosing Bird Seed

Different types of seed will attract different species of birds. The cheap bird seed found in many stores is packed with red milo, a seed favored by pigeons. Milo is inexpensive and used as a "filler" seed by many seed companies.

Black oil sunflower seeds are adored by blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers, and many other songbirds. Look for a birdseed mix with a high concentration of this seed. Thistle seed is appreciated by goldfinches and other small birds.

The best seed types for songbirds are: black oil sunflower seed, Nyjer (thistle seed), white proso millet, and sunflower hearts.

Bird Seed Types: Attract Colorful Birds

Seed Type
Birds
Details
Millet
Sparrows, juncos, finches
High in starch, preferred by small birds
Cracked corn
Starlings, quail, and grackles
Preferred by groud-feeding birds
Black oil sunflower seeds
Cardinals, blue jays, juncos, and many other birds
One of the best wild bird seed materials
Red milo
Pigeons, wild turkeys, and pheasants
Cheap and bulky, used as a filler by many seed companies
Thistle seed (Nyjer)
Goldfinches, siskins, and juncos
The best seed to attract goldfinches
Safflower seeds
Doves and cardinals
More expensive than sunflower seeds, and not as preferred by birds.

The Night Tree: A Christmas Tradition

Night Tree
Night Tree

A family goes into the night woods to create a special tree for the wild animals that live in the forest.

 

Yearly Tradition: Christmas Tree for the Birds

A great tradition is to use cookie cutter bird feeders to create a Christmas tree for the local bird population. Read the book The Night Tree, by Eve Bunting to children before doing this craft. In this children's picture book, a family goes out at night to decorate a tree in the woods with popcorn, sunflower seed balls, and tangerines to feed the local wildlife.

Make these bird feeders and bundle up for an evening excursion - either to the woods, or to your favorite tree in the backyard. Children will enjoy watching the local birds (and squirrels, deer, and other local animals) enjoy the "Christmas tree" created just for them.

Comments

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    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      They're fun to make! We had ours on the tree for about a day before a blue jay took the whole thing away. Make sure you let the gelatin set completely, because the shape will simply fall apart if it isn't totally set.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      5 years ago from California

      I am so excited for spring to get here! I can't wait to make these. We have lots of birds in the forest and they are constantly looking for the "goodies" Thank you so much for sharing!---Lisa

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, Glimmer Twin Fan! I love this feeder because there is no waste - the entire feeder is eaten (unlike those made from toilet paper tubes, etc).

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Up, useful and pinned. This is such a great idea for this time of year. Love these kind of eco friendly and beneficial crafts. Thanks!

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      We have a large number of feathered friends in our area of the country, Om. Cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers in the winter. We get a LOT of birds in the spring as they migrate north again - my favorites are the Indigo Buntings.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      How cute! What a fun and creative project to do. The little birdies must really love you.

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      I haven't tried to ship them - if the temperature gets too warm the gelatin might melt. Ours did fine on the trees until it snowed - the moisture from the snow caused it to fall apart. The gelatin binds the seed together, but isn't very sturdy. Make a test batch before you attempt to send some as a gift - you might be able to increase the concentration of the gelatin to make a stronger feeder.

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 

      5 years ago from USA

      Thanks Leahlefler, I will keep this in mind. I was thinking about giving them as a gift also. Do they travel well?

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, Lipnancy. I far prefer writing to acting! Thanks for the compliment!

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Still waiting for your TV show. Great hub.

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      We've had several blue jays and a cardinal stop by - along with an entire herd of deer. Perhaps I should have called these "wildlife" feeders rather than "bird" feeders, lindacee!

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      Many cheap bird seed varieties are just packed with Red Milo, KerryAnita, and the seed just attracts pigeons to people's yards. Black oil sunflower seeds and sunflower seed hearts are a much better seed!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      What a easy and enjoyable project for a snowy afternoon. I'm sure our fine feathered friends will certainly appreciate the effort! I just love your videos!

    • KerryAnita profile image

      KerryAnita 

      5 years ago from Satellite Beach, Florida

      I love this hub:) The video is great and thanks for sharing what type of seed attracts what type of bird!

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      It is a really fun project to do, tlpoague. The feeders can be a little fragile, so I recommend letting the gelatin set COMPLETELY before attempting to hang them. I have destroyed more than one feeder by not waiting long enough! It takes a full day for the gelatin to set.

    • leahlefler profile imageAUTHOR

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      Thanks, Dirt Farmer! It's a really fun project - and who doesn't like watching birds in the yard?

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 

      5 years ago from USA

      What a great hub! My mother has a variety of birds in her yard. I passed this on to her to try out. Thanks for sharing it.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      5 years ago from United States

      Voted up, shared & pinned. Awesome hub!

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