My second grade teacher Mrs. Smith taught us all about the different kinds of birds, about their nests, what they eat and their habits. We made books about birds, we charted their migration, we made clay sculptures of them, we drew them and we went outside to observe them. That lesson stayed with me for the rest of my life and I still notice, name and observe birds to this day. I’ve also shared my love of birds with my girls which I think is very important since we live in the city. I’ve made these little birds in their nests to put in their rooms, to decorate and play with. This bird in a nest tutorial is easy enough to do with your children, to help them learn about and appreciate the beautiful birds all around us! Hang the bird in nest as an ornament or decoration, use in a baby’s mobile or use as a soft, natural toy for small children.
Wool: brown (nest), cream (or other bird color), black (eyes) and orange (beak)
Felting needles (medium and large gauge)
Sponge (felting surface at least 4″ thick)
Acrilon (nest mold)
Core wool (base of bird)
Sewing thread (to bind nest mold & base shapes)
Medium needles are for best for felting wool onto the base shapes, for felting wool onto the nest mold or eyes into the head. The large gauge needle is best for felting shapes to each other (for example, for felting the head onto the body or the wings or tail onto the body).
Bind a handful of acrilon with sewing thread by wrapping the thread tightly around the sphere of acrilon till the acrilon stays in a ball shape. The nest ball should be about 5.5″ in diameter. It will be used as a form to mold the nest on.
Wrap brown wool around half of the nest ball, lightly felt the brown wool till it becomes a sturdy half sphere.
Wrap wool around half of the nest mold.
Pull the nest off the mold (sphere) before it becomes felted “stuck”. Continue to felt the nest until it is firm on the inside and the outside.
Pull wool off the mold.
Bind acrilon or core wool with sewing thread to make a sphere for the bird’s body. The body sphere should be about 4.5″ in diameter. Make sure the body fits into the nest. In the same technique, make a sphere for the bird’s head, this sphere should be about 3″ in diameter. Felt wool (color of your choice) around the body and head and felt until firm.
Fold a long piece of wool (about 3″ long) into a rectangular shape for the tail. Felt the tail onto the end of the bird. Cover the bird (head, body and tail) with a thin layer of wool to cover the seams; this results in a seamless shape. Needle felt until firm and smooth.
Shape two small ovals out of two pieces of wool by winding the pieces of wool into an oval/spiral and felt one side, turn the oval over and felt the other side until the wings are flat, firm and smooth. Felt the wings onto the sides of the bird.
Felt a pinch of black wool into the sides of the bird’s head for the eyes.
Roll a small piece of orange into a triangular or pointed shape for the beak, and felt onto the bird’s head.
Lauralee Burch is an artist and mother of three girls. She makes handmade needlefelted and sewn toys and dolls. An important quality in every item she makes is how it feels. She uses natural, healthy materials such as cotton and wool, and makes items that children will delight in holding. For her, handmade toys are like touchable pieces of art. They are contemporary heirlooms that will (she hopes!) be passed on to siblings, relatives and friends. Like classic fairy tales, her toys are meant to delight both young and old. You can find Lauralee either at her space, or on Facebook.