This is the time of year when I love to make some homemade creations for the birds to enjoy. Most of the time I make my DIY suet cakes which are fun to make in different flavors and that I put in my little suet cake cage out on the tree. This year I got out my recipe for homemade birdseed ornaments again too but then decided to do something a little different with that recipe – – I decided I could turn this mixture into homemade birdseed bells!
Of course the first challenge when you want to make a homemade birdseed bell is how can you get that shape? I decided I could put my recipe mixture into a small flowerpot to get something of the same sort of shape and was pretty satisfied with my final result, although I wish the bottom was just a bit wider like the store-bought type. And although I used a clay flowerpot, you could probably use some other type of disposable container for this method too, such as a plastic yogurt container, or maybe one of those red Solo cups.
How To Make A Mold For A Birdseed Bell
To make a homemade birdseed bell I used a clay flower pot that was labeled as a 4.3″ size. Some quick measuring on my part showed my pot to be 4″ high and 4½” across the top. One handy thing about using a flower pot as your mold is the hole that’s already in the bottom, which will come in handy later in the process when you are inserting your string for hanging your bird bell.
To get everything ready for the birdseed mixture, I first lined my pot with some wax paper. Some folds in the paper are perfectly OK and won’t show up on your finished bird bell. I then took a pencil and poked through the wax paper and out the hole in the bottom of the pot.
Next, I cut a piece of yarn to about 24″ long, folded it in half, and then pushed the folded end through the hole in the bottom so that about a 4″ loop of the yarn was now sticking out. This will end up being the hanger for your bird bell.
Now things are ready to add the birdseed mixture!
The Birdseed Bell Recipe
One of these 4.3″ clay flower pots will hold about 1½ cups of birdseed. So I decided to get busy with the math and calculate how I could make a smaller version of my birdseed ornament recipe (that uses 4 cups of seed) to make a small 1½ cup size batch instead. Here’s what I did:
I mixed together 1 cup birdseed, a ½ cup black oil sunflower seeds, and a ¼ cup of cornmeal.
Then I made my gelatin mixture by dissolving 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in ¼ cup of hot water. Once those were mixed I added in 1 tablespoon of light corn syrup. Then this gelatin mixture gets thoroughly mixed into the birdseed mixture. (complete printable recipe is below)
Putting It All Together
Once the seed mixture is all stirred together you can put it into your prepared birdseed bell mold. I spooned in the mixture while I held the piece of yarn in the middle up straight (spooning the mixture around it), and patting things down a bit once it was all filled. You should still have a few inches of yarn sticking out after it’s all filled.
Then put everything in the freezer for about an hour. Once it’s hardened up, you can remove it from the mold by pulling on the wax paper to lift it out and then carefully removing the wax paper from around the bell.
NOW . . . here’s the final important detail about your string hanger. If you pull on it too quickly, it will just pull through and come right out of the bird bell. I found that you have to let your bird bell sit for almost a week if you want it to be really set hard enough so that the string won’t pull out.
My solution for getting my bird bell ready to go more quickly was to put a washer on the bottom of my bells to keep it from pulling through. (I used the 3/16″ x 1¼ size of washer). I thought this might also be a little sturdier too for the squirrels who always (ALWAYS!) get into whatever I put out for the birds. I attached the washer by just threading the yarn ends that were sticking out under my bird bell through the hole of the washer a couple times and tying a knot.
Another method that I have not tried but that might also work, would be to wind the yarn through the mixture a little more when filling the mold so that it is not on such a straight path for it to come pulling out.
And then your homemade bird bells are complete! You can hang them on the trees for the birds to enjoy.
Or for squirrels to enjoy . . . as I was taking pictures for this post, this little guy sat right above me in the tree, chattering impatiently, just waiting for me to leave so he could get back into the birdseed. Oh well. I guess squirrels have to eat too.
Here’s the complete printable recipe:
Homemade Birdseed Bells
- 1 cup Birdseed
- 1/2 cup Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
- 1/4 cup Cornmeal (or Flour)
- 1 teaspoon Unflavored Gelatin (about half a packet)
- 1 tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
- 4.3" Clay Flowerpot
- 24" length of yarn or string
- Wax Paper
- Prepare the clay flowerpot by lining it with wax paper, and then poking through the wax paper at the bottom with a pencil, and out the hole in the bottom of the pot.
- Fold the 24" length of yarn or string in half and push the folded end through the hole in the bottom of the pot, pulling it through until about a 4" loop is sticking out of the bottom of the pot. You can then begin to make the birdseed mixture.
- Mix the birdseed, sunflower seed, and the cornmeal (or flour) in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Measure your 1/4 cup of water in a glass measuring cup. Heat the water just a bit in the microwave (about 30 seconds - you want it hot enough to dissolve the gelatin).
- Mix the teaspoon of unflavored gelatin into the hot water and stir to dissolve.
- Next, add the tablespoon of light corn syrup to the gelatin mixture.
- Pour the gelatin mixture into the birdseed mixture and stir until everything is well mixed.
- Spoon the birdseed mixture into the prepared mold, holding the string up straight as you spoon the mixture around it. Pat the mixture down a bit once it is all in the flowerpot mold. You should have a few inches of string still sticking out when you are done filling the mold.
- Put the filled mold in the freezer for about an hour to harden up. Then remove from freezer and pull up on the wax paper to remove the bell from the mold. Carefully pull any remaining wax paper away from the bird bell and discard.
- You may then want to let your birdbell set for about a week to thoroughly harden and dry. This will keep the string hanger from pulling out. If you would like to hang your birdbell before then, you can tie a washer onto the string ends hanging out under the birdbell to make the bottom more sturdy. Trim any remaining yarn pieces under the bell as needed.