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These handmade birdseed ornaments are so easy to make, and they’re a budget-friendly alternative to the hanging birdseed ornaments from the store. With just cookie cutters, birdseed, water, gelatin and corn syrup, you can make your own homemade birdseed feeders and attract birds to come visit. These gelatin cookie cutter birdseed ornaments feed your feathered friends year-round, and you can adjust the recipe depending on the season and what you want to put in there.

A group of homemade cookie cutter birdseed ornaments on a white surface.

Birdseed ornaments are fun and simple to make and mean you can attract birds over and know you’re helping to feed them when food might be scarce.

If you love the outdoors, you might also like to try making your own compost, trying out cold water dipping, or find out how to keep your houseplants alive while you’re out and about! If you want something to do indoors, these paper plate flowers are a nice project to do with the kids.

A star-shaped homemade birdseed ornament hanging from a pine tree.

Why You’ll Love These

Easy:  These cute birdseed ornaments are really simple to make and you don’t need any hard-to-source ingredients or fancy equipment.
Tasty: They might not be your idea of tasty but don’t worry, the birds are going to love your cookie cutter bird seed ornaments! The birdseed, corn syrup and gelatin mixture is going to thrill them.
Useful: Food can sometimes be scarce during the cooler months for birds, especially if the weather is really bad. These birdseed ornaments offer a tasty treat for the birds no matter what time of year it is.

Star shaped DIY birdseed ornament made with seeds and nuts.

A complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below

Bird seed: The main ingredient. You can’t make DIY birdseed ornaments without this! Any birdseed mixture will work or you can create your own blend (see tips, below).
Unflavored gelatin: Gelatin is a binding agent, which means it’s the substance that holds your birdseed mixture together. Some birdseed ornaments use a different binder, such as flour, lard or peanut butter. If you don’t have gelatin powder (here), use four 1/4-ounce packages instead (here).
Light corn syrup: This is another binder and also provides calories for the birds.
Cookie cutters: You can use any shape of metal cookie cutters, choosing seasonal cookie cutters if you wish, such as Christmas trees in December or love hearts around Valentine’s Day!
Twine: Jute twine (here) is threaded through each ornament and then you can hang it outdoors wherever you want. Any kind of twine, string or yarn will work, as long as it’s sufficiently strong.

A bowl of birdseed, a bowl of oil, and a pair of star-shaped cutters.

How to Make Easy DIY Birdseed Ornaments

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card

Dissolve the gelatin:  Sprinkle the gelatin over cold water and leave to sit for 3 minutes, then pour warm water over and keep stirring until the gelatin dissolves.
Add the birdseed: Now you can add the birdseed, stirring until well combined.
Add the corn syrup: Stir the light corn syrup into the birdseed mixture.
Shape the birdseed ornaments: Spoon the birdseed mixture into a cookie cutter or mason jar lid and then press 6 inches of twine into the mixture and fill the rest of the way, pressing down with a large wooden spoon to even out the mixture. Put the DIY birdseed cakes on a wax paper or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Chill and wait: Put the baking sheet in the fridge overnight, or for at least 6 hours, then hang the ornaments and wait for all the birds to come and enjoy this treat!

A person pouring birdseed ornaments mixture into a glass bowl.
Easy homemade bird seed ornaments on a baking sheet.

Substitutions and Variations

Make your own birdseed:  Instead of buying birdseed you might like to make your own. Sunflower seeds are the most common seed found in backyard bird feeders and most birds like them. There are different varieties, including black oil sunflower seeds which are the most popular type as well as striped sunflower seeds which also feature in many bird seed mixes. Other ingredients you can use include millet, safflower seeds, sorghum seeds, cracked corn, suet cakes, and thistle seeds.
Fill fruit with the birdseed mixture: If you want extra-fancy birdseed ornaments, use hollowed out orange halves or apple halves (instead of using cookie cutters). You can also add orange or lemon zest to the mix for more color in your gelatin feeders!

A stack of handmade birdseed ornaments on a table.

Hang the birdseed ornaments outdoors, preferably in a spot you can see from indoors. If you have a sunroom it’s nice to hang the bird feeders just outside so you can enjoy your feathered friends visiting!

Cookie cutter birdseed ornaments can be hung just about anywhere but I would recommend not hanging them too near the windows (because of bird poop!) or anywhere your pet cat can reach too easily. You might also not want to hang them over branches or anywhere too accessible, or else the squirrels will eat the whole thing and the birds might not get any!

Pro-Tip: If you live in an area with a bear population (like I do), you will want to put these out in the winter only, as they will attract bears. Many regions have bylaws regarding the use of bird feeders and bird seed for this reason. Typically, it is safe to keep your bird feeder out as long as temperatures are at or below freezing.

A birdseed ornament hanging from a pine tree.

How to Store DIY Birdseed Ornaments

Store:  Keep them somewhere cool and dry and they should last for 4 to 6 months. An airtight container or Ziploc bag would be good.
Freeze:  If you aren’t going to be using your birdseed ornaments in the next few months, it’s best to freeze them. This way they will keep for up to a couple of years.
Thaw:  You can hang them outdoors still frozen or let them thaw in the fridge, as you prefer.

How to make bird seed ornaments with seeds and nuts.

Top Tips

No cookie cutters? Just use a mason jar lid instead.
Making a hole: You can either push the twine into the birdseed mixture and then add more mixture on top, or you can use a drinking straw to create a hole and thread the twine through that (that is a fancier looking way!)
Get creative: You can use any kind of twine or string, even something brightly colored. You can add other ingredients to the mix, such as lard or coconut oil (for cold weather bird feeders). Or add some ribbon along with the twine for a colorful finish.

Birdseed ornaments for Christmas gifts or a kids craft idea.

DIY Birdseed Feeders FAQs

Is there an alternative to cookie cutters or mason jar lids?

Yes! You can hollow out orange or apple halves or get some pine cones and rub the bird seed mixture all over it, pressing it into the open parts. Any of these offers a nice, natural look.

What ingredients are best and which should you avoid?

Sunflower seeds, dried fruit softened with water, chopped peanuts, prepared birdseed mix, cooked rice and similar leftovers, breadcrumbs, and shredded or crumbled cheese can go into the mixture. Avoid raw rice, whole nuts or large chunks of fruit (choking hazard) and salted nuts or salty food.

What types of birds can you expect to use the feeder?

This very much depends on where you live, what season it is, and what kind of birdseed you use. Here are some of the most common backyard birds you might see, but let me know in the comments if you spot another type!

Handmade birdseed ornaments on a piece of brown paper. They are perfect for holiday gifts or an easy craft idea for kids.

How To Make Birdseed Ornaments

5 from 2 votes

Birdseed Ornaments

By: Bella Bucchiotti
Birdseed ornaments are fun and simple to make and mean you can attract birds over and also know you're helping to feed them when food might be scarce. This recipe makes 6 to 8 units.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Chilling time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Sprinkle gelatin over the cold water. Let it sit for 3 minutes.
  • Microwave the rest of the water until warm but not hot (about 30 seconds).
  • Pour warm water over the gelatin mixture and stir together until the gelatin is dissolved.
  • Add birdseed and stir until all coated.
  • Add corn syrup and stir until combined.
  • Spoon the mix into the rim of a mason jar lid or a cookie cutter until half full. Press a six inch piece of twine into the mixture and fill the rest of the way. Press down with the back of a spoon or a silicone spatula to make sure the mixture is in place.
  • Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight, then hang and wait for the birds to come!
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Once you know how to make birdseed cakes, you’re going to want to make lots, at least enough never to run out of them! It’s such fun seeing our feathered friends come to visit, and this is also a very educational project for the kids. Whether you use cookie cutters filled with birdseed mixture or just use a mason jar lid, you can offer gelatin feeders to all the backyard birds. Make them in fun shapes to serve as holiday decorations as well as functional bird feeders, and hang them off tree branches, the washing line or anywhere else you can see from your window.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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