Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bird Swing Tutorial

I thought it would be fun to share how I made the bird swing for Aprils Year of Enchantment ornament. I was inspired by Spool's bird mobile and I last blogged about it here. They are pretty easy to create if you have all the right tools, and could probably be made for people who keep birds...I'm just not sure if there is any kind of safety issue with any of the parts I used. That would be up to you, bird owner, to decide if this is right for your pet or not. :) Otherwise, it's PERFECT for the Spool bird pattern that I used! Here we go...

Things you'll need:
1/2" thick sticks or dowel
18 gauge plastic coated steel wire
ribbon or mini-garland
plant pruners
sand paper
5/8" wood drill bit
needle nose pliers
can of foodWhat to do:After searching and locating the right size twig/branch/stick, mark about a 4" long area to cut out.With the pruners cut sticks at the marks. Try to cut swiftly, this will create a cleaner you'll see next...This part could also be done with a circular saw, hand saw or the likes, but I wanted to avoid large equipment and/or sawing by hand. See those broken ends?? Sometimes that happens, but since they're actual sticks, and just work with it and keep 'em some-what natural.Sand edges smooth. I angled mine like a pencil to soften the edges as well as straight up in a circular motion to soften the very end.

Turn the stick around to determine which side you would like facing up. (Well, that's just silly, why? Some of my sticks had a dirtier side or a knot in the middle or were slightly bent. Not that it matters, but I wanted the pretty side up.) When you have found "up" mark each stick about 1/2" from each end. Using an edge (table edge, 2x4, step, whatever...I used my dining chair) drill all the way through the stick at each marked spot making sure not to turn your stick.Cut a length of wire about 18" in length, lightly mark or bend the center. Using the end of a stick, wrap the wire around it at the center point, pull each side tight to get that top circle, then twist like a twist tie 1-2 times. Center the twisted point of the wire on a round can to curve the wire into shape for the top of the bird swing.
Push both ends of the wire through the drilled holes on the stick.
Push the stick up the wires to the desired height for the perch, I did mine around 3-4" inches high while keeping each side equal in length. This is a good time to do a little reshaping too, in case it got a little bent out of shape.Mark the wire 1/2 below the wood perch and trim off excess with wire cutters or the pliers. Bend the ends up 1/4" and flatten shut. Push down the wood perch over the exposed bent end of the wire, trying to tuck it into the drilled hole.
YAY! You have a bird swing! Now the final step is to decorate it with a mini-garland. I had mine left over from Christmas, since its a Christmas ornament swap, or ribbon.and then create yourself a perty songbird to perch on it! Like I mentioned at the beginning, my birds were from Spool's bird pattern and are super easy and fun to make.
If you have any questions or any bit is confusing, feel free to ask!

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