Art, Art activities, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!

DIY Bird Feeder!

Make a little bird feeder for your yard! Paint, decorate, and design your own to give as a gift or keep for yourself! This cute little platform feeder is a simple and fun project!

What you need:

  • Wooden craft picture frame – mine is approx. 8″x6″ with a 4″x6″ opening
  • Acrylic craft paints in desired colors
  • Paint brushes
  • Sharpie
  • Krylon clear gloss outdoor spray sealer
  • Flat thumb tacks – Use stainless steel ones for longer lasting outdoor results
  • Plastic mesh cut to the opening size of your frame (I used needle point plastic but you could also use aluminum gutter shield, or plastic food mesh – if you have some with small enough gaps to hold birdseed!
  • Twine, rope, chain, leather, or any similar material suitable to use outdoors – I used approx. 6′ of jute, cut into two, 3′ pieces
  • Hammer

PAINTING YOUR FRAME:

Step one: Paint both sides and all edges of your frame one color.

Step two: Let your first layer of paint dry (use a hairdryer to speed up the dry time) and apply a second layer of paint if needed!

Step three: Add some designs and patterns with your other colors – I did dots and stripes! Let your paint dry completely before moving on!

Step four: Apply the outdoor sealer – do this outside on a protected work surface. Apply the sealer to both sides and edges of your frame – letting it dry completely before flipping your frame.

Step five: Once your sealer is completely dry use a sharpie to outline and add details to your painted design. I decided to cover most of my painted area with additional doodles!

ASSEMBLING YOUR FEEDER:

Step one: If using jute, twine, or rope, line up your two 3′ pieces and fold in half, creating a loop as shown in the first photo. Make sure the ends of your rope are even. Gathering all four strands of rope, tie a knot towards the top – leaving a loop, shown in the second picture.

Step two: Attach your rope and mesh to the frame with a thumb tack. Sandwich the ends of your rope between the mesh and the frame. Use a hammer to make sure your tack is firmly pressed into your wooden frame.

Step three: Continue to add all 4 pieces of your rope to the frame in the same manor! Make sure the knot and strands of rope are not twisted or tangled before attaching!

Step four: Add extra thumb tacks to your mesh to keep it securely in place!

Step five: Hang and fill your platform bird feeder!

Where to hang your feeder: Depending on where you place your feeder will determine what types of birds you attract (along with feeder type & seed). Attract the most birds by offering a range of feeders & food placed in various locations! Most feeders do best in a quiet, semi-sheltered area, or near shrubs & trees so birds can rest and hide from predators. Make sure you also have a good viewing point of your feeder from inside! Placing your platform feeder closer to the ground will attract ground-feeding birds such as, Juncos, doves, sparrows, & blackbirds. Placing your feeder up higher will attract birds such as, sparrows, finches, & titmice!  

What to put in your feeder: Different foods can attract different birds to your feeder – some types of birds are picky and only eat certain things while others will eat most anything you put out! I like to use black oil sunflower seeds or a seed mix. You can also try foods such as, peanuts (raw kernels only) and other nuts as well as coconuts (fresh, cut open), stale breads, cakes, & cookies (no chocolate). Fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, & bananas. With foods that you put out, make sure to keep your feeder clean- and pick-up uneaten foods that could attract rodents, insects and other pests as well as create mold & bacteria growth.  

Feeder care: Feeders can become messy quick! Platform feeders can hold trampled food and droppings, and should be regularly cleaned out. A little soapy water and rinse should be sufficient. Re-coat your feeder with a clear coat each season to help keep it in shape (clean and dry your frame before re-coating).  

Making more feeders: If you had fun with this project, and want to make more, here are some various ideas for supplies! 

  • The frame in this kit is a small wooden craft frame, you could also re-purpose old picture frames in the same manor! Outdoor spray paint is a quick and easy way to cover old frames! 
  • I used needle point plastic in this kit for the mesh to hold seed, you could also use aluminum gutter shield, plastic food mesh, or window screen material. Just be sure your mesh material has small enough gaps to hold seed!  
  • The included hanging material is jute – eventually this will get weathered down, as an alternative, you could use twine, rope, chain, leather, or any similar material suitable to use outdoors.  
  • The included thumb tacks are stainless steel – this helps with the longevity of them being out in the weather! Depending on the frame being used, nails, screws, & staples could be utilized instead of tacks!  

BONUS PROJECT: Make a winter treat for your birds! What you’ll need: Pinecones, String or Wire, Peanutbutter (or Crisco), & Birdseed. Gather your pinecones and tie a string or piece of wire tightly to the top of your pinecone! Next completely cover your pinecone with peanutbutter or crisco – pushing it into all the gaps & spaces on your pinecone. (Note* if your pinecones are not open, let them set inside for a day or so or place them in your oven on 200*F for 20 min or so to speed up the process). Roll your covered pinecone in birdseed and hang up!  

Like this project? It was from one of our Creative Science lessons – a partner program between Brad Hartle, 4-H STEM educator with UMES and myself! We work together to create fun & engaging lessons that involve art and science for youth! Check out other projects to do at home and upcoming creative science lessons here!

Creative Science: Feed the Birds
Art, Craft, DIY, Drawing, Make, Create, & Share!

Finger Print Doodle Art

Get creative and make some fun art that all starts with your finger prints! It’s a simple and easy project that you can turn into some charming pieces of art!

What you need:

  • Ink Pads or Washable Markers
  • Paper – I prefer card stock, but any white or light colored paper with a smooth surface will work!
  • A Sharpie marker or pen (or any felt tip pen & marker)
  • Some paper towels

Here’s the basic process:

We’re pretty much making your finger into a stamp – so the first thing you need to do is cover your finger print in ink! If you don’t have an ink pad you can use washable markers and color your finger prints instead! Try using your thumb and pinky finger to make different size prints!

Once your finger is covered in ink stamp it firmly on your paper. You might be able to stamp your finger more than once before having to apply more ink. Wipe any remaining ink off your finger on a damp paper towel before using a new color or use a different finger for each color – Unless you want to mix colors 🙂

After you have some finger prints stamped onto your paper, use your Sharpie and/or pens to add details and turn your finger prints into something!

Try “building” with your finger prints to create more complex objects! Remember you can make different sizes with your thumb and pinky too!

Here’s a few more ideas for your finger print doodles:

Add other elements, like googly eyes, to your prints! Some other elements could be: glitter, feathers, sequence, pom-poms, string & ribbon!

Instead of turning your finger prints into doodles you could also use them to embellish other projects!

Use markers, colored pencils or other mediums to add additional details to your doodles – like the stem and leaf in this picture!

Turn your finished pictures into greeting cards, bookmarks, framed art, and more! Get creative and have fun! Send me pictures of your doodle creations to add to our followers gallery! Happy doodling! 🙂

Art, Craft, DIY, Drawing, Make, Create, & Share!

Inspired Zentangles

If you’ve done classes with me before, we’ve probably created some sort of Zentagle inspired art! They’re one of my favorite activities to warm up with or combine with other art projects. They’re something anyone can create and have unique results! If you haven’t yet made a Zentangle; The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Learn more at zentangle.com.  According to the method, true Zentangles are completed in black ink on white paper (and can include some pencil shading) on 3.5″ square pieces of paper, however, you can create art inspired by Zentagles many different ways – I like to mix them up with other projects too! I’ve included below my inspired method for creating Zentangles and a few examples of ways you can apply them to other art! *”Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.

What you need to get started with a basic inspired Zentangle art:

  • Paper – I use white card stock or smooth bristol paper, however, any paper will do (you could even use colored card stock or construction papers). The traditional size for a Zentangle is a 3.5″ square – or change it up and make your Zentangle into a bookmark, greeting card or any size or shape you’d like!
  • Black Sharpies – a regular sharpie marker and a sharpie pen. You can use any black ink pen or marker you have on hand though! Or change it up and use the same methods but with colored pens & markers!

Step one: My favorite way to get started is by drawing a few lines across your paper – edge to edge. I use the sharpie marker for this step. It’s okay if your lines overlap or start and stop on the same edge. The lines can be wavy, zig-zagged, curvy, etc. My finished Zentangle will be a bookmark!

Step two: Your lines have created spaces, or shapes, that we now get to fill with patterns! I like the smaller sharpie pen for this step. Your patterns could be repeating lines, shapes, or a combination! Take a look around to find inspiration for your patterns – there are lines, shapes & patterns everywhere!

Step three: Continue to fill in your spaces or shapes with patterns until you have them all filled in!

Variations – Instead of filling in the whole piece of paper with Zentangles you could first draw an outline shape to fill in (trace your hand, use a stencil or freehand a shape/object). Make it collaborative – it’s fun to have everyone join in, each person can fill in a different space after the lines have been drawn or each person can start a Zentangle which can then be passed to the next person, added to, and then passed along again! You could also add color to your completed Zentangles. Or make a painting into a Zentangle – paint a picture fist and then draw Zentangles on top (see the butterfly and cat pictures below).

Some examples of student Zentagles and variations! If you still need more help getting started or would like more inspiration to get started with check out my inspired Zentangle packet! Happy Zentangling!