While we’re in the habit of creating holiday bits and baubles to decorate our homes, it’s also a good time to think of things we can do for the other creatures in our community. Winter is a harsh time for all the animals in our ecosystem. Cruelly, they need more food to fuel their metabolisms and stay warm when there’s not as much food available. It’s a simple thing to set out salt licks for deer and maintain birdfeeders for our feathered friends, but–if you’re feeling crafty–you can find ways to make attractive, edible ‘ornaments’ for the creatures, too.
This is one such craft. You essentially bind birdseed together with flour, gelatin, and sugar and press it into attractive molds, then suspend the ‘ornaments’ from tree branches outside.
If you’ve got a collection of seasonal cookie cutters, feel free to use those. Snowflakes, stars, and gingerbread men look adorable and catch a lot of attention. Of course, a muffin tin will work, too. My favorite is just to make thin circles using my canning jar rings, or thicker ones using old tuna fish cans (which I’ve repurposed for English Muffin molds). See what you have lying about and how creative you can become.
You Will Need:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons corn syrup
4 cups birdseed
A variety of molds (muffin tin, cookie cutters, etc. I use a lot of canning jar rings.)
drinking straw or thick nails
biodegradable twine or raffia
- Combine the flour, water, gelatin and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well-combined.
- Add the birdseed to the mixture, stir until well coated.
- Spray your molds with cooking spray, and spoon birdseed mixture into each mold. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it down, and make the top smooth.
- Poke a hole through top of each birdseed mold using a drinking straw or nail, making sure it goes all the way through. Leave the straw/nail in the
- Leave the birdseed mixture in the molds for two to three hours. Then, remove the straws/nails and lay out a sheet of waxed paper. Gently remove the hardened ornaments from the mold, and place them on the wax paper upside down. Allow them to dry for at least two to three more hours, or overnight
- Cut your twine and carefully put it through the hole, knotting the ends to form a loop.
- Hang your ornaments on an outdoor tree.