Bird Nest Decoration

Instructions to make a bird nest decoration from polymer clay. This may even be realistic enough to fool a few robins.

One day I found a nest in my yard, left from the previous year. I would have liked to keep it, but could it be reused by the birds? If that is the case, it wouldn't be very nice to take it away. There also may be mites and critters crawling in it. Ick!

If you want a bird nest decoration but also have concerns about bringing a real nest into your house, make one with polymer clay. This is probably about robin sized, but you can make it any size you want.



Age: 12  and up

Difficulty: Easy

Time scale: 3 out of 5

bird-nest-decoration

Supplies:

  • Blade cutter
  • Pasta roller
  • Tile
  • Tin foil
  • Toilet paper
  • Toaster oven
  • small brown turkey feathers
  • Premo clay (2 oz.) :

1/2 pkg. ecru

1/2 pkg. raw sienna

1/8 pkg. burnt umber

1/2 pkg. translucent

1/8 pkg. turquoise blue

How to Make a Bird Nest Decoration

Condition clay to soften it.

Roll 1/2 package of the ecru clay into a ball and squish it down, so it is about 1/4 inch thick. Now roll out an 1/8th pack of the raw sienna and flatten it down too.

roll-out-clay

Put the darker color on top of the lighter one and squish them together. Run this through the pasta machine on the thickest setting. Fold in half and run through the machine again.

Set to a thinner setting (about  #4). Run through and then through again on the thinnest setting. There should still be streaks of color.

Cut this strip in half and set one half aside.

color-mixing-polymer-clay

Mix another 1/8th pack of raw sienna with the one half. Run through the pasta machine the same way as before.

Now cut this one in half and mix in the remaining raw sienna. This may seem like a lot of fiddling around but the variegated color looks so much better than just using one solid color.

If you are getting bored with this process, you can stop here or continue on with one more color variation.

Cut in half again and mix with 1/8th of a pack of burnt umber and a small pea sized piece of translucent clay.

The color mixing is fun. This bird nest decoration is a project that doesn't require the colors to be exact, so it is a great way to practice. It is interesting to see what you can come up with. You can't mess this up.  You will learn what colors do, when you put them together and run them through the pasta machine. Color mixing polymer clay, has become one of my favorite things to do. I did have to get over the initial worry of wrecking the clay, by mucking up the mix. Over mixing and wrong color combos can sometimes make muddy, ugly colors. No matter how big of mess, or how ugly the color, it can always be used for something.

cut-clay-into-narrow-strips

It can be set aside and used later on another project, if it doesn't turn out as planned. No scrap will ever go unused, so nothing goes to waste. 

Set the rolled out clay, on a tile and use the blade cutter to slice off very thin, long pieces. Vary the thickness and length.

make-nest

Add some of the pieces, one at a time to begin with. Squiggle them around and this will look more realistic. It will look better if it is a bit wiggly squiggly. Just taking a piece of clay and winding it around in a circle, will not produce the best results. Pile some of the pieces together. Wind and twist them into a circular shape, that is about 3 inches across. Don't be tidy about it.  Don't squish the pieces together too much.



Curl the edge up slightly. Now start building up the edge. Grab different colors of the sliced pieces and pile around the edges.





Add pieces in globs now, not just one at a time. Keep building up the edge, to about 1 inch high or slightly higher.




Crumple a 1 foot square of tin foil into a ball. Flatten the bottom so it doesn't roll around.

Tip the bird nest decoration upside down and set it on the tin foil ball.

Add more clay strips around the bottom and sides.

Roll the ends of some of the strips of clay, so they come to a point.  These pieces can be left poking out slightly, in random spots.

Flip the bird nest decoration back over, so it is right side up. Push down carefully on a small tile, to flatten the bottom slightly. Leave the tin foil inside, for now.

Roll and crumple tinfoil and place around the outer edge. This will add support, so there is no drooping while baking!

Fix up the top edge by adding a few more pieces of clay. This was something I could have goofed around with all day. For some reason, adding these little pieces, seemed very relaxing. That doesn't happen much with me. Relax? What's that? Maybe sitting on the deck in the shade, listening to the birds tweet, had something to do with that. Warning... Don't sit in the sunshine. The clay will get way too warm and sticky. This will make it difficult to work with.

Now, make the eggs for this bird nest decoration. I want it to look like a Mama bird could mistake this for her own little creation.

Mix a large pea sized piece of blue premo clay with slightly more than 1/4 package of translucent.

Excuse my grubby nails. Yikes! They do look quite awful. This is from another project I was working on. I don't have time for a manicure!


how-to-make-polymer-clay-eggs

Divide the clay into 3 equal pieces. Roll each one into a ball. Narrow one end of each ball, to make the egg shape.

Crumple a piece of toilet paper and place the eggs on top. Put on a baking sheet.

Leave the nest on the tile and place this on the baking sheet, next to the eggs.

Bake at 275 degrees F. for approximately an hour. Check the baking instructions and temperature on the package. Different brands of clay have different baking times and temperatures. Adjust as necessary. The thickness of your project will also dictate baking times.

When cooled, remove the tinfoil. Place a few tiny feathers in the bird nest decoration. Add the three eggs. If this will be on display outside, glue the feathers in place. I didn't glue them but I should have. I took this outside to take a picture and the feathers started blowing away in the wind. The neighbors were probably wondering why I was running wildly around in the yard, flapping my arms. The feathers were getting away! Unfortunately, I didn't catch the feathers that were flying away, and the neighbors think I am crazy. Oh well, they might be right.

Guess where my bird nest decoration is going? Right on the bed post of a twig headboard that I made. I think it will be the perfect spot for it. 

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