I must admit, I’ve seen many recipes like this one from Under the Sycamore floating around the internet, and I’ve been skeptical. Very skeptical, in fact. I guess I was envisioning some sort of jello-y bird seedy concoction and I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that a hunk of seedy gelatine could last more than a few minutes (especially in the summertime) when tied to a string and hung from a tree.
I’m happy to say, our experiment was a success. Not only do we have trees sprinkled with pretty bird feeders (thus some very happy birds), but Gracen was able to do almost all of the steps on her own at our butcher block and there was no stove required.
Here’s what we used for the project… Bird seed, gelatine, boiling water, straws cut into 2 inch pieces, some baker’s twine, and some cookie cutters and pancake moulds.
We started off by emptying two packets (not boxes – the above photo is misleading) of plain gelatine into a very large mixing bowl.
Then I carefully poured in a little bit of boiling water (this is one of the only jobs I did for the project).
Gracen then stirred the mixture very gently until all of the gelatine was dissolved.
Next, we measured out our bird seed. We used a “wild bird” variety, but I think pretty much any type would work as long as the seeds and bits are not too big – I think a finer blend works best in this case.
Then Grae poured the bird seed into our gelatine/water mixture.
We stirred it for a few minutes, making sure that all of the seeds were evenly coated and that there was no longer excess water at the bottom of the bowl.
Next, we covered a tray in parchment paper and laid out our cookie cutters and moulds.
Using a teaspoon, Grae filled each cookie cutter with seed, one by one.
Here she is hard at work…
You want to make sure that they’re a little bit overfull, so be generous with the seed. (This recipe made these five feeders, plus a large bird seed “cupcake” too).
Because the mixture gets really sticky, we covered the cookie cutters with a layer of parchment and Grae pressed the seeds down into the moulds.
You want to make sure the seeds are packed very tightly – it’s part of what makes the feeders stay together well.
Next, we took our straws and carefully inserted them into the cookie cutters, making sure to not place them too close to the edges. Once the straws were in the seed, we pressed the seeds down around them to make sure everything stayed tight.
Next, we popped the entire tray into the fridge and let them set for a couple of hours before taking them out and letting them dry out on the counter. We left them for most of the evening, and before I went to bed for the night, I flipped them over so that the bottoms could dry out too. (It’s a bit awkward to flip them with the straw sticking out the way it is, but you could trim the straw if you liked.)
The next morning, we gently popped the shapes out of their moulds.
Then we plucked out the straws and made sure that the holes were clear all the way through.
For the last step, we took some baker’s twine (ribbon or jute would be perfect too), put it through the holes, and knotted the tops. Voila! Pretty little feeders for the hungry birds in our yard.
Cookie Cutter Bird Seed Feeders (a toddler-friendly method)
Adapted very slightly from this recipe
- 2/3 cup of boiling water
- 2 packets of gelatine (a box has 4)
- 2 cups of bird seed
- parchment or wax paper
- cookie cutters or silicone moulds
- straws cut into 2 inch pieces
Pour the water into a very large mixing bowl. Add two packages of gelatine and stir until it’s fully dissolved. Add the bird seed and mix well until everything is evenly coated.
Place cookie cutters/moulds onto a parchment-lined tray and scoop seed mixture in until heaping full. Place another piece of parchment on top of the cookie cutters and press down firmly to pack in all of the seeds. Remove the top parchment layer and gently poke straw pieces all the way through the seed shapes (be sure not to put them too close to the edges). Pop the tray into the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the feeders to set.
Later on, remove the tray from the fridge and let sit on the counter to dry out. Flip the cookie cutters over a few hours later to let the bottoms dry out too. Let sit for at least 3 – 4 more hours (overnight is best) until the feeders are completely dry.
Gently remove the seed shapes from the moulds (they should be fully dry and hard to the touch at this point – if not, allow to dry longer). Carefully remove the straws and tie a twine loop through the holes. Hang in a tree.