Thursday, December 25, 2014

DIY Gingerbread Birdhouse

Tufted Titmouse
I made a "gingerbread" birdhouse this year and was intending to sell these at the holiday market, but there are too many steps involved to make a large quantity of these birdseed homes - so I thought I'd just share the construction steps...

I made the house and roof of the birdhouse completely from birdseed using my recipe for "birdseed glue" that I use to make birdseed wreaths and ornaments.

Birdseed Glue Recipe
Dissolve 1 packet of unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup water in a large pan over medium heat.
Add 1/2 cup flour and 3 Tbsp corn syrup.

Mix over medium heat until all lumps are gone and the mixture forms a smooth thick paste.
Add 4 cups birdseed. 

Mix well until all the seeds are coated and spread the mixture into a greased cookie sheet. Press the seeds down firmly into the pan with the back of a greased spoon. 

White-breasted Nuthatch
The sides, front and back of the house are made of a mixed birdseed or finch blend. The roof is made of black oil sunflower seeds.

I used Wilton's Gingerbread House Cutter Set to cut out the shapes of the house. The entrance hole is simply a circle cookie cutter. To make it the dimensions I wanted, I cut one side shape in half (one half for each side). I also cut off about 1 1/2" off the length of the roof shapes. Allow the house shapes and roof to dry thoroughly for a few days (turning the shapes a couple of times a day).

Downy Woodpecker
To assemble the house I made my above "glue" recipe (without the birdseed) and used a small plastic squeeze bottle to apply the glue along the edges of the house and
roof edges. If the glue starts drying faster than you can assemble the house, just microwave it for a few seconds and it'll be easier to work with...  At the peak of the roof - where the shapes join - I put a thick layer of glue and added more sunflower seeds. I finished decorating the birdhouse with holly berries and a few sprigs of red cedar. ~ The perch is a pretzel stick that I "glued" on - or you could use a twig - or go perchless...

I made the base of the birdhouse by filling a clay saucer with more of the "glued" sunflower mixture and a pathway of mixed seeds outlined in holly berries.

I saw a similar birdseed house in a bird supply store priced at $45. Once you purchase the house cutter set and birdseed, the price of constructing your own gingerbread birdhouse would be minimal. This would be a fun craft to do with children or make as a Christmas gift for a bird-loving friend.

Carolina Chickadees

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