Show your love for your feathered friends this Valentine’s Day by making these easy DIY bird seed cakes.
Any mention of ‘bird seed crafts’ probably stirs up memories of preschoolers slathering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling them in bird seed, ending up with a sticky-icky mess. Yuk! Those peanut butter bird seed ornaments are fun for the kids to make, but you’d probably rather avoid the goo!
A less messy alternative, we’ll show you how to make bird seed cakes with gelatin and cookie cutters. You can use any cookie cutter shape, but these heart shaped bird seed cakes put a fun February twist into feeding birds in winter!
Let’s get right to it!
DIY Bird Seed Cakes
Supplies for 2 Bird Seed Cakes:
Tools You’ll Need:
How to Make Bird Seed Cakes
1. Prepare a flat surface (cutting board or cookie sheet) by covering it with parchment paper. Lay the cookie cutters flat on the parchment paper.
2. Cut 2 pieces of string each about 30-36” long. Find the center of each string, then tie knots about 3” above the center to make a loop in each. (The loop will be placed inside a bird seed cake to be able to hang it. If you don’t want to hang the cake like an ornament, skip this step.)
3. Empty 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin into a medium-sized bowl. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Measure ¼ cup of boiling water and combine with the gelatin crystals in the bowl. Stir this mixture until gelatin crystals are completely dissolved.
4. Add 3/4 to 1 cup wild bird seed to the dissolved gelatin mixture. Stir to combine and cover all of the seeds. If the mixture seems soupy add more seed, but no more than a total of 1 cup.
5. Scoop some seed mixture with a spoon and place it inside the cookie cutters, filling them about halfway. Use a small piece of parchment paper under your fingers and push down the seed to firmly compact it within the cookie cutter.
6. Lay the string loop on top of the compacted seeds, with the knot extending outside and above the cookie cutter design. Cover the string with more of the seed/gelatin mixture and compact the seeds in the cookie cutter mold with parchment paper as before.
Optional: At this point, you can make more gelatin/seed mixture and fill more cookie cutter molds. Fair warning… Don’t be tempted to double or triple the recipe if you want to make more than two at a time. It’s easier to work in smaller batches!
7. Allow the filled molds to cool in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
8. Gently press the cakes out of the molds. Hint: Allow them to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before unmolding. Optionally tie a ribbon in a bow around the strings at the top of the shape. Hang cakes outside using the longer strings that extend from the tops of the cakes.
Additional Ingredients for Gelatin Bird Seed Cakes
Nutritionally, fresh birdseed (or dried mealworms) are considered the best ingredients for making bird seed cakes. But, experiment by adding (in moderation) other bird-appropriate ingredients from your pantry like:
- Chopped, unsalted nuts
- Dried unsweetened fruit, like raisins or cranberries
- Unsweetened cereal
- Bits of whole-grain bread or crackers
- Cooked or dry rice and other grains (like quinoa, farro, or flaxseed)