nest zest

this post is truly for the birds… it’s a way to help our little winged friends pimp their nests for spring, while also using up the scraps you have cluttering up that art bin.

think of these as ornaments for springtime… to be hung outside on the trees in your yard so that birds can peck into them, between the wires, to retrieve lovely adornments for the nests they’re building. this is also a great wintertime project, especially if you are in a snowy area, as it is harder for birds to find scraps and things with which to create nests in such conditions. over the winter, i saw a nest kit made in what looked like a tiny crab pot cage in a gift shop. these can be made inside of lots of things – think mesh bags from the grocery store, little crafty bird cages, etc. i opted to come up with my own homemade version.

the first part is a grown-up (or older child) task: take some wire (i recommend 20 gauge or thicker) and wrap it around one of your child’s balls (ours was tennis ball size, but you can use any sized ball you wish.) i used one of my daughter’s squishy water balls so that i could mush it to slip it out easily when i was finished wrapping.

after you’ve wrapped it sufficiently, bring the ends of the wire to meet at the top, for a loop, and twist around it with some small pliers. then gently pull the ball out of a larger opening. once you do that, you may need to manipulate your wire back into a ball shape with your hands. you can get creative with sizes and shapes. i strung a couple of wooden beads into ours for fun.

then grab your little one and go hunting through your art cabinet/closet/drawer/bin for scraps of felts, fabrics, ribbons, raffia, moss, feathers, or anything that seems soft and strong enough to hold up to rain. think earth-friendsly and biodegradable. (no plastics, please!)

our scrappy mess

if scraps are large, cut them into little strips.

you and your child can have fun stuffing the wire ball full of these scraps. we enjoyed thinking of color schemes or themes for each one.


now just hang your little orb on a tree outside and see if it draws any feathered friends to it. days or weeks later, it can be fun to take your child out on a nest quest in your yard (or neighborhood) to find little birdie homes that include your groovy treasures. one fun part is that once the birds have emptied your orbs, you can refill them!

these make great gifts for spring birthdays, easter, earth day, mother’s day, and father’s day! just be sure to include a note with it so the recipient knows just what to do with it and doesn’t think you haven’t lost your mind by sending them a ball of art scraps.


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  • Great idea! Those will sure be some funky birds. karen
    Sippy Cup Central

  • I just love this. Not only is it such a sweet thing to do for all those little birds and a great way to involve your little ones in admiring nature and enjoying spring, it is just beautiful!

  • LOVE this! We just hung hanging baskets outside full of nesting goodies. I’m going to link you when I post about it today.


  • jen

    thanks everyone! these are addictive to make! i adore all of your blogs, and i can’t wait to see your nesting baskets, lisa – it’d be an honor for you to link to mine! 🙂

  • I LOVE this! I used to try to do something similar with a suet basket, but yours is MUCH more aesthetically pleasing! 😉

  • jen

    kelly – i had to google suet basket, and when i did, i realized that those are the kind i saw in a gift shop that inspired me… of course, i described them as small crabpot-like contraptions in the blog here… hee hee. didn’t know they had a name. 🙂 yes, the wire ornament balls make a cute presentation for the birds (and for gifts 🙂

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  • I love, love, love these! Just beautiful.

    We’ll be passing some out to our nature-loving friends! Thanks so much.

  • This is fantastic – I will definitely try it next year. We just made a wool tree, stop by and have a peek if you’re interested:

    Counting Coconuts

  • liz

    wonderful!! I will definitely be linking to this later today! thanks!

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  • Aww, this is so, so cute! Thanks so much for sharing this. I just clicked over from the Crafty Crow. I would love to link to this if you didn’t mind.

  • love this!

  • Esther L. Jacobson, Hendersonville, N.C.

    Novi and Jen I really enjoyed all your clever artist talents. I know your grandmother is so proud of you…thanks for sharing, I only wish I had grandchildren to do some of your little projects…You are truly a wonderful parent, Novi is a very fortunate little Princes…

  • valerie

    Thanks for the great idea! We made them today and I don’t know if the birds are going to use them, but they make the trees look magical. And they were so easy! I was most pleased with the look of the 26 gauge wire, the delicate look of the wire was nice.

  • These are AMAZING! We will definitely be making some. Linking up at next month. Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

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  • winniewimp

    I always save all my ‘fluff’ from the tumble dryer filter over winter and then stick blobs of it in the trees for the birds to use as nest lining. These are fab and cute and would be good to make to hold the dryer fluff 🙂 Thanks x

  • jen

    winniewimp – that’s so funny! i’ve been doing the same thing with the dryer filter stuff this past year to restuff our nesting orbs!

  • These are seriously AWESOME! I can’t wait to make some!!

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  • minnemom

    Thank you for the idea. I just finished one, and since I didn’t have a little soft ball to wrap the wire around, I blew up a balloon to the right size and after it was wrapped, I popped the balloon and pulled out the pieces. It looks a bit more egg-shaped which is perfect for this time of year.

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