This Holiday Decoration is for the Birds

finished project
Not perfect, but fun.

twig ballsSince the summer, when I went on a garden tour in Hudson, Wis. (a highly recommended tour) and saw these twig balls, I’ve been interested in making some kind of twig decor. You can buy them in many nurseries and garden centers, but I wanted to try my hand at making them. First I checked youtube, where I found one decent video, but when I tried to replicate the instructions, it was a complete fail. My twig circles kept boinging open.

orb with greeneryI gave up until I went to the Rice County Master Gardener holiday party, where one of the gardeners (Karen) showed me how she did the circles. Using large branches (willow or red twig dogwood work well), she lashed two branches together at the thick end using 18 gauge wire. The branches should be facing the opposite direction, so you have one very long branch, which is tied in the middle.  Then, bend the branches around so that they form a circle. You can twist them around each other and then lash the ends together, using wire. Make four circles using this method. The circles need to be very close in size. Then, fit the circles together to make an orb. You may need to use a bit more wire to keep everything together. My orb was not nearly as neat and shapely as Karen’s but it was an something close to an orb.

grapefruit ornamentI decided it might make an interesting outdoor ornament, if I dolled it up into a bird feeder. I started by adding greenery, which was pretty easy to wind into the twigs. Earlier this week, I watched a video from the Daily Connoisseur on making ornaments using dried citrus. This was very easy to do and cute. I took my dried grapefruit ornaments, added dental floss, so they could be hung from the orb, spread them with peanut butter (make sure the citrus slices are not too thin — one of mine broke during the peanut butter speading), then dipped them in bird seed. I also used a margarine tub top in the center of the feeder/orb. The top is also spread with peanut butter and covered with bird seed, and I used duck tape to attach the tub top to the branches in the center of the orb.

Covered with bird seedI added a thick holiday ribbon at the top of the orb so it could be hung from our maple tree out front. I’m not sure how long this will last and I plan to monitor it today because the wind is supposed to pick up. What fun projects have you done this holiday season?


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