Birdseed Ornaments

birdseed-ornaments-hanging

For several years now, my teaching teammate and I have organized a class business around the holidays. My fourth grade students develop, produce, and sell a product to our school community, and we donate any profits to charity. In the past, we manufactured and sold one product (like these Mason Jar Cookie Mixes) that families pre-ordered, and we had a limited production. Since I had clearly blacked out the incredible amount of work it takes to source the supplies and organize this little venture, I spearheaded an expansion of the business into a full holiday market with six products to sell.

Students filled out job applications at the beginning of the school year, and we have been running workshops every week to make all of the products. They have been calculating our costs to date and determining product prices. On the day of the market, students will man a booth where they will provide sales help and handle cash.

birdseed-heart-ornament

This week, we are making birdseed ornaments. This is a good low cost holiday gift. The ornaments are easy to make in bulk, and after we bag and label them, they will be the perfect gift for a party host, a neighbor, a teacher, or a co-worker.

Materials

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 3 T. light corn syrup
  • 4 c. birdseed (finch bird feed packs better into the molds)
  • molds (cookie cutters, muffin tins, chocolate or soap molds, etc.)
  • nonstick cooking spray like Pam
  • drinking straws cut into 2-inch pieces
  • waxed paper
  • cookie sheet, sheet pan, baking pan, tray
  • ribbon or twine
  • clear plastic bags
  • labels

Directions

  • Put a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet, tray, or baking pan. Fill the tray with the cookie cutters or molds you will be using. If you are using cookie cutters, and there is a sharp edge and a protected edge, put the cookie cutter sharp edge up. Spray the insides of the molds with the cooking spray.

birdseed-ornaments-with-cooking-spray

  • Combine flour, water, gelatin, and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl until it is well-combined and turns into a paste.

birdseed-ornament-paste

  • Add the birdseed to the paste mixture and stir until well-coated.

birdseed-ornament-mix

  • Spoon birdseed mixture into each mold. Pack the mixture down well and make the top smooth. The back of a spoon or the bottom of a measuring cup work well for smoothing the top of the birdseed.

birdseed-ornament-filling-molds-close

  • Poke a hole near the top of each birdseed mold using a drinking straw piece. Even though the straw will be near the top of the ornament, make sure you do not have the straw too close to any edge, or it will break apart later when you add the ribbon. Make sure the straw goes all the way through to the bottom. Leave the straw in place.

birdseed-ornament-completed-tray

  • Leave the birdseed mixture in the mold for 2-3 hours. Then, remove the straws and gently remove the ornaments from the mold. Place the ornaments on a new piece of waxed paper and let dry an additional 2-3 hours or overnight.
  • Thread a string or ribbon through the hole and tie, so the ornament can hang from a tree branch. I liked the natural look of twine rather than a colorful ribbon.

birdseed-ornaments-finished

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9 thoughts on “Birdseed Ornaments

  1. How long will these keep in their bag? We are making them as Christmas gifts, and I’d like to make them over Thanksgiving break.

    • I think they last awhile. We made ours when I did the blog post the week before Halloween. The completed ornaments sat on a tray for a few days, and then we bagged them in clear plastic gift bags. We will be selling them at our student market next week, so they will have been in the gift bags about a month. They do crumble easily if they drop, so bag and store with care. Have fun!

  2. Pingback: Reindeer Food Craft | TheRoomMom

  3. I love this idea and plan to make it tomorrow with my son’s second grade class. About how many ornaments does this recipe make? Thank you so much for the idea!

    • It depends on the size of ornament you use. If you use “medium” sized ornaments (about 3″ tall), you can probably get ~20. The birdseed mixture must sit inside the ornament for several hours to set up, so make sure you have an ornament for each student to fill. When I made them with my students, I went around after they were filled and pressed down the mixture and added a little extra mix to make sure the birdseed was packed nicely into all of the corners, so it would have a good shape and hold together well when dry. Have fun! Caitlin

      • How big were the ornaments you used? That definitely makes a difference. I think the ornaments that had fewer protruding parts held together better. I liked my star, circle, and heart that were between 2″ and 3″ diameters the best!

      • We used mostly thicker Wilton cookie cutters and we filled them all the way up. We only needed six for gifts, so we were not trying use the mixture sparingly at all. I agree, the simpler the shape, the better they turned out. Our heart and Mickey Mouse were our favorites. Our birds have already enjoyed our extras! My son really enjoyed making these!

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