Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Birds and Blossoms

Here's how I made the little cardboard bird and the paper cherry blossoms I showed you last time. This isn't exactly a tutorial. It's more of a "this is what I did, try it yourself" sort of thing. I'll start with the bird.

I was actually about to throw away some pieces of corrugated cardboard that had been included in with some scrapbooking paper, when I stopped to think. I'd been looking on Pinterest at pictures of birds, bird nests, and eggs, and I realized that the cardboard might make a good nest. Now, my cardboard was 2-layer corrugated cardboard--a flat layer and a bumpy layer. If you have the three-layer (flat-bumpy-flat) kind, you'll get a different look. It took me less than one 12x12 sheet of cardboard to make a nest and bird about 4 inches across.

I started by cutting a little circle for the nest base (about 2.5 inches) and strips for the nest sides. The ones you see here are about half an inch wide, but I wound up cutting them all in half.

Next, I braided some of the strips together until I had a strip a couple feet long. Once I thought it was long enough, I wrapped it into a circle and started poking the ends into the braid to make it stay. 

 I started wrapping more and more strips around, poking them in so they would stay. When I finished, I rolled up my last strip and put it in the bottom, right on top of the cardboard circle.

My original plan was to just make a nest, but I didn't have anything to put in it, and it looked kind of silly by itself, so I made a little bird to sit in the nest. I just drew a bird sort of shape, cut out 4 copies (to make it a bit thicker), cut a slit to put the tail shape, and hot-glued the wing shapes on. I also used a bit of chalk to color it a bit robin-like, but I'm not sure if that shows up much.

Before I glued the bird in, I decided the nest needed some color and sparkle to keep it from looking so drab beside the brightly colored bottle and the shiny angel, so I put some sparkly trim and some green ribbon into the nest, as well. I'm liking the way it turned out!

 These were the starting ingredients for the cherry blossom branches: some twigs that fell out of my oak tree, and some flowers punched from my paper scraps (the same paper as the bunting and paper balls). I fought with the twigs until they fit the vase and the shelf, then I punched about twenty bazillion flower shapes.

Next, I shaped the flowers. I tried making flowers with two layers and with three. I preferred the three-layer flowers, but I'm not sure it makes much difference when seeing them from a distance greater than about a foot. The bottom flower I lay flat, with the white side up. The second layer I just pinched all the petals so they pointed up (again, with the white side up). On the ones where I made a third layer, I did the same as the second layer, but then squashed the petals a bit, so they kind of pointed towards the center. You can sort of see how it works out here. I held them together by dabbing a bit of glue stick on the centers of the second and third layers before stacking them.

 Finally, I used a dab of hot glue to stick the flowers to the twigs. I used about 25-30 flowers here, but it would probably look even better with more. This was about the extent of my flower-punching hand strength, though. I'm really pleased with how these turned out, as well!

 I'll leave you with a photo of a real bird who decided to put her nest right up by my house! I don't feed the neighborhood ducks, as a rule (they can get scary), but this mama duck is going to be bribed with bread so she'll let me get near the babies!

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