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A unique mix of crafts, nature, homeschooling…life.

Christmas project #1 bird ornament

I wanted to make a bird ornament, but also create one that represents the cold winter months. Here on the prairie, no bird does that better than the cardinal. I love to see the splashes of red against the gray of the garden. We have quite a gathering of cardinals all winter long with as many as seven males at the same time. It’s quite a show!

Why not bring a little of that indoors and make some cardinal ornaments to hang on your tree?

It’s really quite easy to make these once you get the hang of it. Here’s the step by step for making them to get you going.


Start by cutting out your bird from a piece of heavy-ish paper. Thin paper is a little difficult to work with for this project because you need it to hold a shape.


My paper is double sided and I want the red pattern to be on the outside. I fold the two bird shapes in half at the butt. I line up the head to make sure I get it straight.


I realize that it’s a little hard to see in this picture but fold the bottom flap along the breast of the bird. The fold will be just under the beak and it folds back.


Fold the top flap down with the fold along the back/tail of the bird. All of these folds just help us later when we start putting him together.


Now open your bird back up and fold all the little tabs in towards the center.


Take a West Virginia quarter and tape it to the inside of the head with the flaps. OK, it doesn’t HAVE to be a West Virginia quarter. It can be from another state. And actually, you could use a smaller coin or a washer if you want. This is our counter-balance for all the crap we are going to put on the tail. OK. honestly, you don’t have to tape it either. (A piece of tape does not exist in our house because Alexander uses it up to build things for the cats.) I used a snot dot.


Go ahead and apply adhesive to all of the tabs except the head. Note that they will be folded in to the flaps so the adhesive will go on the outside of the tabs. I should warn you that you need some pretty strong adhesive to hold the bird together.


Punch a hole in the top flap (as noted on the print and cut template) and insert a string/ribbon/wire to hang the bird.


Now you are ready to assemble. I played with the template and found that it works best to start assembly with the top flap toward the back by the tail. Insert your adhesive covered tabs down inside and push to adhere. Go around and do the same for each tab on the top working your way towards the head.


Leave the head open for now. Yes, I know it will be hard to just stop there but do it and move on to the bottom of the bird.


Using the same technique as mentioned above, start inserting the tabs on the bottom on the side that’s attached. Go all around this flap, too until everything is tucked neatly together and all of the tabs are sticking well. This is where that good adhesive really makes a difference.


Once you have both flaps done, you can apply adhesive to the head flaps.


Fold the flaps in and pinch the beak, head, crest closed with your pretty purple finger nails. I should have warned you about this step before so you could get your nails done. Sorry about that.


Your bird is done but needs some stuff shoved in it’s butt. Actually, you are going to make a tail. I used pipe cleaners and a wired silk leaf that looks a lot like a feather to me.


I’ve got it bad for pipe cleaners these days to I played with mine a bit. Do what your muse wants and you won’t be disappointed.  Hang it somewhere.

Now make about 100 of them and give them to strangers. Just don’t tell them that there’s money inside.



  1. Holly

    The bird is awsome, and I love the pretty purple nails. My kids will like making these.

  2. Cindy

    Another great project. When I saw the tail, I was reminded of that bird in a Dr. Zuess book that ate berries so it would keep getting a bigger and fancier tail! Talk to you soon.

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