As the cold snaps of winter edge in, why not feed the birds ?

I’ve got a small Christmas tree in a pot and this year, instead of putting lights on it, I thought I’d make it into a bird-feeder tree. 

Two sets of decorations were needed: dangly fat and seed ornaments and nut and popcorn garlands.

The fat and seed ornaments


I went foraging in my kitchen cupboards and bird food box and found…..


a jar of solid coconut oil ( binding agent- really good because you need it to be solid at room temperature so that your seeds stick together)

A cup of nutty bran-like topping

1 cup of unsalted peanuts ( Birds can’t take extra salt)

2 large cups of birdseed

Any moulds – I used Christmas cookie cutters but beware of any shapes that are too fiddly as your ornament may fall to bits later.

Also, cup-cake cases and thin ribbon ( think of the ribbon that is attached to the inner shoulders of new clothes to stop them falling off the hangars in the shops)

I also used my IKEA ice moulds but just did a few because I wasn’t sure they’d work – but they did!


Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with bare hands.

In the past I’ve melted lard instead but two points here- firstly , you don’t need to melt it because the warmth of your hands is plenty, and secondly, the mixture separates more easily and you have to wait for it to cool a little to make sure there’s enough fat in there to bind the seeds. Also, lard is cheaper but I didn’t have any of that in.

The solid coconut oil was for one of my healthy eating good-intentions from the distant past so needed using up. What a result! It mixed well, smelled lovely and my hands feel like they’ve been to a spa! 


Lay the moulds on a tray that will fit in the freezer

Place a knotted loop of ribbon in each one and press the mixture firmly into every corner of each mould until full.

Make ball-shapes of the mixture around more knotted loops of ribbon and place in cup-case cases


Leave in the freezer for at least a couple of hours. I left mine over night ( Much to the horror of my husband when he opened the freezer door – he thought we’d gone vegan)


3 types of Garlands-

Monkey nuts, popcorn and mixed nuts and raisins.
Points to note: If you only do part of this then I recommend the monkey nut and popcorn garland

I found the best place to find them was ASDA and all three bags came to less than £4.

Also, beware when threading- NEVER HAVE YOUR FINGERS IN THE WAY! DO NOT think you can watch ‘I’m a Celebrity’ at the same time! The garlands take longer to make but are worth it. I found it useful to have a hard, unscratchable mat to help force the needle through. Putting a scrunched up cloth on the mat stopped the needle from slipping. The mixed nut garland was more difficult because the almonds are very dense and difficult to pierce – definitely an adult only part of the project.


Monkey Nut Garlands

2 bags of  monkey nuts strong thread a sharp needle
Cut off about a metre length of threadMake a loop and knot one endThread the needle on the other endPoke your needle through the centre of the monkey nut and keep going until you’ve enough thread left to make a knotted loop on the other end. You should have enough nuts for about 4 garlands.


Popcorn Garlands

1/4 bag of corn popping kernels- this is plenty. Don’t used flavoured popcorn- not good for the birds.strong thread a sharp needle a large pan with a well-fitting lid1 tablespoon of vegetable or coconut oil


On a medium heat, heat the oil in the large pan 

Drop in 3 popcorn kernels and put the lid onAs soon as all three kernels have popped remove the pan from the heat for 30 seconds

Put the pan back on the heat and add 1/4 of the bag of popcorn ( You can do it in smaller batches, like an egg-cup sized portion at a time but I had a big pan and not a lot of time)

Put the lid on and wait for the kernels to pop, shaking the pan gently.

DO NOT REMOVE THE LID

Once the popping has died down ( gap of 2-3 seconds between pops) then take off the heat.

Cut off about a metre length of thread

Make a loop and knot one end

Thread the needle on the other end

Poke your needle through the centre of the popcorn and keep going until you’ve enough thread left to make a knotted loop on the other end. You should have enough nuts for about 5 garlands.


Mixed nuts and raisins garlands

1/2 bag of pecan nuts and 1/2 bag of almonds ( left over from the Hallowe’en witch’s fingers)

1/3 bag of raisins

Cut off about a metre length of thread

Make a loop and knot one end

Thread the needle on the other end

Poke your needle through the centre of a nut, 4-5 raisins and then another nut and keep repeating your pattern until you’ve enough thread left to make a knotted loop on the other end. You should have enough nuts for about 2 garlands.


Decorate your tree /bush/ twigs
Remove your seed ornaments from the freezer and carefully remove from the moulds – you could even leave some on to give extra support. 

Drape your garlands

Add the ornaments.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this project ( I have) and that your birds do too !