Do you know someone who collects Bird Houses? Perhaps you do and already have your living room full of them. Well, here's a new idea on how to get some tiny birdhouses for free, by making your own. They're great for the Christmas tree or to hang on your wall or set on a table all year. They're all made of recyclables and you won't have to send a dime to China. You can do it with some small boxes and just a few tools:
1-12 small boxes like W.M. pies come in or vitamins or anchovies or oysters come in
Newspapers or newsprint with no print on it, like the kind you find stuffed in those packages you get
Cardboard from cereal boxes or cracker boxes
Glue either thinned white glue or homemade (I'll tell you how)
Paints-Acrylics, wall paint to what have you, mostly white or a light color. Then smaller amounts of green, black, red and brown. Plus any other colors you might find for flowers and such
String or yarn
I said 1-12 boxes because you might want to make just one to start with or make a bunch of them and let them all dry at once. If you're timid about paper mache you might want to make just one since it can be messy. First, I'll tell you how to make the glue that you can use for any paper mache project you can dream of:
Step 1. Put 1/2 cup of water in an old bowl. Stir in 1/8 cup of flour. Place 2 1/2 cups of water in an old pan and bring to a boil. Gently boil the water while you gradually add the flour mixture. Stir for about 3-4 minutes at a gentle boil. Then let it cool before using.
Step 2. While your glue is cooling, tear your newspaper into 2 inch squares until you have a nice pile. You'll find that newspaper or newsprint has a grain and tears more easily one way than it does the other. Tear it long ways first and then tear the squares across the grain. This seems to be the easiest way. Now you have a nice stack of torn paper. Don't use scissors it doesn't stick as well.
Step 3. Tape or glue any torn parts on your boxes back together.
Step 4. Put layers of news paper or a sheet of plastic or wax paper on your table to protect it.
Step 5. Begin to dip and squeeze out each piece of paper by pulling it between your fingers to drain off some of the glue back into the pan. Apply each piece of paper to your box, overlapping and smoothing it out as you go. When you have it all covered, front and back, top and bottom. Set it aside to dry overnight or 1 1/2 days. It must be dry before you can do the next steps.
Step 6. Decide how you want to orient the boxes straight up or I like the point down on the pie boxes. It just looks more like a bird house. If you happen to have a spaghetti box you could make a three decker Bird House. Cut some strips from the other cardboard for the roof. Just a bit wider and longer than the top of the box, 'till it looks right. Use masking tape to attach it to the box. Cutting a piece to fill in the triangle at the top, if you have one. Glue this in place.
Step 7. Paint your Bird House in the white of light blue or what have you. Set aside to dry, probably overnight again.
Step 8. Paint a black or brown "hole" in the front and paint the roof. Now, decorate your Bird Houses how ever you want, using an ivy stencil, painted flowers, cherries or birds set aside to dry.
Step 9. Put string through two small holes you've punched in the top area of the box to hang it by or put a tack in the top tab to attach it to the wall.
You now have some nice Bird Houses to give a friend or to put on your own wall and enjoy. Next time you need a gift or some thing to brighten up a corner of your own house just look around your house and see what you can find. Then, write about it!!