Learn how easy it is to make birdseed ornaments without gelatin to help wild birds survive the winter and prepare for spring mating!
After sharing our popular recipe for homemade birdseed ornaments, we received dozens of requests for a gelatin-free birdseed ornament recipe.
After 3 rounds of recipe testing, we settled on using agar agar, a plant-based gelatin substitute derived from seaweed. Our readers in Florida will delight in knowing that this vegan birdseed ornament recipe keeps in hot temperatures, making it safe for spring, summer, and warm climates!
So grab your cookie cutters and birdseed, then follow along with our step-by-step directions and video tutorial to make your own.
How to Make Birdseed Ornaments Without Gelatin
During the cold winter months, natural food sources for backyard birds are often depleted or difficult to access. Offering birdseed can help wild birds survive the winter and prepare for spring mating.
I love supplementing my hopper and tube bird feeders with fun homemade bird feeders, such as these adorable cookie cutter birdseed ornaments!
Ingredients Needed for Vegan Birdseed Ornaments
Before you start this fun nature craft with your little ones, make sure you’ve got all the right supplies.
- Water, 1/2 cup
- Agar Agar Powder, 2 teaspoons
- Birdseed, 2 cups
- Cookie cutters
- Hemp twine
- Cookie sheet
- Parchment paper
Watch the Video Tutorial
Watch the video below to be walked through every step of this craft.
Directions for Birdseed Ornaments Without Gelatin
This bird feeder craft is lots of fun for home or school. Follow the easy steps below to learn how to make it.
STEP 1: Mix the water and agar agar. Pour 1/2 cup of cold water and 2 teaspoons of agar agar powder into a medium-sized pot. Mix well with a whisk to dissolve the powder, then turn the burner to medium.
STEP 2: Boil the agar agar solution. Bring the agar agar solution to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes until thickened.
Important: Do not skip this step! Agar agar activates through boiling. If you do not boil your agar agar, your ornaments will crumble when you remove them from the cookie cutters.
STEP 3: Stir in the birdseed. Turn off the burner, then stir in 2 cups of birdseed mix. Stir the mixture until the birdseed is well-coated.
We used Kaytee Midwest Regional Wild Bird Food and so far our ornaments have attracted:
- Blue Jays
- Tufted Titmice
And squirrels, of course. We can’t help but love our grey and white squirrels!
STEP 4: Fill the cookie cutters. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet, then arrange 6 cookie cutters on top of the parchment. We chose fun dinosaur-shaped cookie cutters from our Wilton Animal Cookie Cutter Set.
Use a small spoon to scoop the birdseed mixture into the cookie cutters until they are half full.
Note: In my experience, agar agar dries quicker than gelatin. Work swiftly, and keep the birdseed mixture a little warm to prevent the agar agar from hardening in the bowl. I kept it in the hot pot on a trivet.
STEP 5: Place the twine. Next, place a loop of untreated hemp twine in the middle of each cookie cutter. Fill the cookie cutter the rest of the way with the birdseed mixture. Use a small piece of parchment paper to pack down the birdseed with your hands. The parchment will prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands.
STEP 6: Allow the ornaments to set. Allow the vegan birdseed ornaments to set and dry for about 2–3 hours on the cookie sheet.
STEP 7: Remove the ornaments from the cookie cutters. After the birdseed is set, gently press the ornaments out of the cookie cutters, then place them on a cooling rack to continue drying for 24 hours.
STEP 8: Your craft is finished! Your gelatin-free birdseed ornaments are complete and ready to hang outside!
DIY Birdseed Ornament Tips and Tricks
- Choose cookie cutters with clean lines and minimal details.
- It may be easier to use a birdseed mix that contains more millet than black oil sunflower seeds, such as Kaytee Wild Bird Food. Sunflower seeds are sometimes difficult to press into the corners of cookie cutters.
- For best results, make birdseed ornaments in small batches.
- Hang your birdseed ornaments on a deciduous shrub so the birds have plenty of cover and branches to stand on.
Does Agar Agar Mold?
It may, but unlike our gelatin-based birdseed ornaments, we did not experience any molding after 1 week at room temperature, which means these ornaments are safe for gift-giving when made one week in advance.
However, they are fragile, so pack and ship with care!
What Should You Not Feed Wild Birds?
To keep your feathered friends healthy, please do not feed them:
- Corn syrup
- Salty foods, such as salted nuts, crackers, and salted bacon grease
- Dried coconut
- Sugary food, such as chocolate, cookies, and cake
- Fruits that have been treated with pesticides
- Raw meats (with the exception of fatty suet)
- Spoiled or expired birdseed
More Bird Feeder Projects for Kids
Looking for more ideas? You may also enjoy:
- Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder
- Pine Cone Bird Feeder
- Gelatin Birdseed Ornaments
- Snowman Bird Feeder
- Winter Bird Feeder Ideas
Did You Try This Project?
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