Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Making Magical Bird’s Nests with Kids.

Finding a nest in nature can be quite the discovery for any young child.  And in the interest of protecting the living creatures who inhabit those enchanted nests, my kiddo’s and I decided to make our own. 

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The cost:  Zero dollars.  Everything we used we found around our yard or home.  I guess the only real cost would be the Clear-drying Craft or Tacky Glue if you don’t have any on hand.

Our Supplies:

Clear drying craft glue.

Sticks, dried brush or grass, moss,  yarn fibers, or strings.  Note:  I encouraged my children to scavenge for objects that had fallen from trees naturally instead of breaking living plants.  We also used the bits and pieces of frayed yarn cut off from an afghan I made. 

A bowl or lid (size depends on how large or small you want it) to be the mold for your nest.

Plastic bag.

Heavy Object  (rounded to weigh your nest down and act as a inner-nest mold itself.  From Marbles to Softballs (Size Depending). 

Line your bowl with plastic.

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Then using a circular pattern slowly lay down overlapping layers of twigs, brush, etc.

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Every few little layers drizzle your clear-drying craft glue on the layers.  Don’t use enough and your nest may not hold together, so don’t skimp on the glue.

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Be sure and press down the layers as you build them.  That way the glue spreads out and the nest is more dense.  Also build the nest towards the outside  of your mold, leaving the center more open.  So, to summarize:  Layer your nest materials, glue, add more layers, press down, repeat.

Once your nest has reached the thickness you desire, weigh it down in the center with your heavy object (if needed add a layer of plastic before your heavy object to keep it from getting glued.  I used a glass paperweight here.  But a baseball or softball would do as well.  If your object isn’t heavy enough, add a book or another object on top to press it down.

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For a fairy swap a while ago I made some tiny nests, out of Spanish moss, just larger than a quarter.  My mold was the lid to a large bottle of Apple Juice.  Since I didn’t have any marbles to weigh them down I used mini-glass jars.  Just saying that you can use whatever you have handy.

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Here’ the tough part.  We made our nests in the evening and then left them in the mold overnight.  The next morning we dumped them out of the bowl/lid molds, and then let them sit for another 8 hours. 

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In all I’d plan for this project to take around 24 hours (drying time included).  Now that I’ve completed the project I suppose you could use a Hot Glue Gun to speed up the process, but beware of hot glue when pressing down the layers. 

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But it looks more natural.   We lined our larger nest with moss and added a few fibers of yarn from trimmed ends of an afghan I made last spring.

It was the perfect place to nest some feathered friends my daughters got from our Fairy friends.

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When I made my mini nests.  I threaded some tiny ribbon on a sewing needle and weaved it in and around the dried nest.   It added an extra layer of stability to the nest.

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Last of all add your magical nest ingredients:  be it birds, decorative eggs or tiny beads.

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Let your nests stand alone, or glue them into a decorative branch.  Makes a great Spring/Summer Table Decoration.

Then enjoy your decoration and the wonder in your children’s eye’s as they enjoy the memories spent making magic with you.

4 comments:

Mike Hamilton said...

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Sandra said...

Hi,

I was wondering if you would be interested in taking a part in nature table swap - for now, we have 15 members, but we aim to 20. Also, we will make one additional for putting on an auction and giving an income to a charity chosen by members of the swap.

If you are interested, please do contact me!

Have a nice and shiny day!

Mindful Life Shop said...

This is perfect! Thank you so much! My kids and I will be doing this right now. :D

Mom to Many said...

My birds would love your nests!
I have several in my kitchen.

:o)