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Heart-Shaped Bird Feeder DIY

By Cindy Hopper

For the love of birds

Homemade bird feeders not only help our feathered friends, but making them is a fun family activity perfect for cold winter days!


Supplies for Homemade Bird Feeders

3 cups birdseed

2 – 1/4 ounce unflavored gelatin packet

cookie cutters


Sprinkle two packages of gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Let it sit a couple of minutes until gelatin has absorbed the water. Heat 1 3/4 cups water in a pan, then add in the gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved. Stir in 3 cups birdseed.

Allow mixture to cool until gelatin is thick and coats all the birdseed.

Wrap a piece of foil along the bottom and up the sides of a cookie cutter. Spray foil and cookie cutter with cooking spray. We used a 5 inch heart cookie cutter. This mixture was enough to make three bird feeders.

Pack birdseed mixture inside cookie cutter. Place a piece of straw in birdseed to leave a hole for hanging the bird feeder.

Allow mixture to harden and then remove from cookie cutter. We placed ours in the freezer for about and hour to speed things up.

Add a piece of twine for hanging.

A perfect treat for the birds!

Update: please see author’s (Cindy’s from Skip to My Lou) comments below on how to tackle any issues you may be having with this recipe.

About the Author

Cindy Hopper

Cindy Hopper was fortunate to be raised in a family who appreciated the arts. This background led to a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education. With a keen eye for design and color, Cindy has cont...

Cindy Hopper was fortunate to be raised in a family who appreciated the arts. This background led to a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education. With a keen eye for design and color, Cindy has continued her love of art and is now passing her creative skills on to her three children. Cindy’s family and friends are the beneficiaries of her passion for fun and meaningful creative projects.

Cindy’s personal blog, Skip to My Lou, has taken her love of a project to new levels. Postings keep the family busy -– from testing new recipes for holiday treats to designing and building floats for a neighborhood parade to making fabric rolls to hold crayons to creating themed parties. Cindy seems to have an unending supply of ideas for gifts, parties and rainy days.

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  • This is so cute!  My daughter will love this project.  

  • what a wonderful idea..can’t wait to try it..tfs.loves ya..Gail

  • I love this idea – what a great project… will definitely being doing this with my kiddos

  • This is such a great idea and a super family project.  Thank you!!

  • Love this! A Valentine’s Day for the birds!

  • Amy

    Birds can eat the gelatin? I know certain things are not ok for animals….gelatin is ok?

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  • Great idea! My son and preschoolers would love to make these. Thanks for sharing.

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  • What a cute and cleaver idea. I love this idea and will try it out myself. Thank you for sharing.

  • ♥ What a sweet treat idea for feeding the Birdies! ♥

  • Very cute and clever idea. I will definitely use this idea and see how well I do. Thank you for sharing.

  • Very clever, I’m going to try to make one that’s the size of baseball.

  • Andrea S.

    How many feeders does this recipe make?

  • Nadia

    Love this idea. It’s so cute. I will do it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Jayne

    i LOVE this! and tried it yesterday. My hearts are, well…. flexible, bendable! I’m not sure what i did wrong as i followed the recipe. Any ideas on how i might be able to harden them so i can hang them up? I’m dying to see them hanging from tree, being enjoyed by our sweet finches. Thanks!

    oooh! i just remembered…. i did add 2T of peanut butter to the mixture because i’ve heard its wonderfully nutritious for the lil guys, could that be the cause of the hearts not hardening enough??

  • Nancy

    We are going to make them for V-day gifts for my son’s class!

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  • Susan W

    @ jayne – i think yours did not harden because of the pb…i’ve made this type of feeder w/ the kids before but it was w/ birdseed, pb, & lard (or crisco)…they didn’t hold shapes really well and we would pack this mixture in open pinecones and hang them from the trees.
    i’m really looking forward to trying this recipe, i like the idea of the gelatin to hold a shape…..

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  • Looks lovely…what a cute Valentine’s Day gift for the birds!

  • This is so cute! LOVE IT! Thanks!

  • Monica

    Cute….a definite Valentines idea! Thanks.

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  • Britta

    We tried this with a group of pre schooler, and I could not make the gelatin harden. Did anyone succeed with this project? What is the secret??????

    • Jesseca

      Mine came out great after adding one small step…. A fan! I let them sit overnight and woke up and they were still pliable. Well I pulled out a small table fan and put it on them for 24 hours. They hardened right up and are packaged in baggies for my daughters valentines day party this Friday.

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  • These are so cute – and a wonderful gift for the birds! I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page at

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  • Rachel

    I want to do these with a preschool class – how many does the recipe make?

  • We tried these with my moms group. They were easy and super cute however once defrosted from the freezer they just fell apart. I followed the directions exactly. We hung our feeders on the tree only to find a few hours later they fell right off the twine to the floor. Really cute idea but, it doesn’t work.

  • I think adding peanut butter might be the reason the gelatin didn’t set.

    The gelatin simply acts as a binder, for us it made the bird seed just sticky enough to hold together. The bird seed was well coated.

    It is very cold where we live, so the bird feeder was frozen most of the time.

    Make sure you allow the seeds to absorb the liquid and the mixture is cool and starting to thicken before.putting in the cookie cutter.

    I hope this helps everyone!

    Here is a slightly different recipe from . It uses a bit less water.

    1/4-ounce package of unflavored gelatin
    2 cups of your favorite wild birdseed

    Three 4-inch mini bundt or fluted pans
    Colorful ribbon


    To make a batch, bring 6 tablespoons of water to a boil. Empty one 1/4-ounce package of unflavored gelatin (we used Knox brand) into 2 tablespoons of cold water in a large bowl. Let the gelatin sit for 1 minute, then add the boiling water and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until the gelatin has dissolved.

    Next, stir 2 cups of your favorite wild birdseed into the gelatin, mixing thoroughly. Let the mixture set for a few minutes, then stir again. Repeat this process a few times, if necessary, allowing the seed to absorb the liquid. Spoon the seed mixture into three 4-inch mini bundt or fluted pans (available at many housewares stores–we got ours at Linens ‘n Things–or online cooking supply sites, such as

    Place the pans in the refrigerator or a cool room and let them set for at least 3 hours. Remove the wreaths from the molds by inverting the pans and tapping along the bottoms. Allow the wreaths to air-dry overnight.

    Finally, tie colorful ribbon around your wreaths and hang them outside in a protected spot, such as under an awning or eaves, where the rain won’t melt them.

    • Trudico

      This really doesn’t work.  I followed the directions exactly, and the gelatin set quite well.  But the seeds just fell right off, the whole shape crumbled easily, and the ribbon pulled out through the holes as soon as I tried to pick them up.  I am very disappointed, had them in the refrigerator overnight with hopes of giving these lovely-looking things to a bunch of relatives tonight for Chanukah.

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  • Cherie

    Thank you for a wonderful project I can do with my grandson who is TERRIBLY allergic to peanut butter. I’ve seen many ideas for similar projects but they all called for peanut butter. Thanks again…I can’t wait to have him over to make these 🙂

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  • Hayley

    Thank you so much now I have something to give to my teachers

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  • Hi there.  I will be sharing a link to your bird feeder on my next blog post:  10 Ideas for Celebrating Earth Day with Kiddos.  

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  • Jennifer

    I did this my sons, followed directions exactly, and they fell apart. Boys were quite disappointed as this was supposed to be a Xmas gift for their great Grandma. We have lots of seed, so we’re going to try again, but double up on the gelatin.

  • Dee

    What about making this heart using a marshmallow rice krispie style mixture. i think the gelatin would be soft but the marshmallow would harden up well so long and you use it sparingly the sugars should not hurt the birds. You could use PB instead of the butter.

  • Judy. Evins

    I made a trial run before Sunday! And mine would not harden! Want preschoolers to do this

    • AJ

      I made these last night and just added one more pack of gelatin and that seems to have worked. I also left the straw in the hole and put the hole lower. They’re hard this morning and can’t see why they wouldn’t hold up. I’m going to wait another day before hanging though.

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  • Alli Hogan

    Can I use honey as a binder?

  • Stephanie Leigh

    Use an extra pack of gelatin or I love the idea of a previous comments made of packing with pinecones and hanging as to not waste your mixture.
    This recipe, may benefit from more gelatin/ little less water should do it

  • Karen

    Yours are lovely.  
    Mine were a hot mess.  
    Oh well… Glad I tried!  🙂

  • Cindi

    Although they look good on a cookie sheet ours were an Epic Failure. Completely fell apart. Looked good until they thawed out. We even used extra gelatin. Extremely disappointing for the 6 yr old who wanted to give these as a Christmas present 🙁

  • DeeDee

    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but mine are all falling apart. Followed the recipe exactly. Ornaments were gummy and flexible. They tore when I tried to hang them. So l doubled the amount of gelatine. Same result. I tried using melted marshmallows, even omitted all the butter… so it was just marshmallows & birdseed. I thought for sure this would work. It doesn’t look like these are going to hold together either.they are starting to split into big cracks.. I thought about making a paste (flour,water, & sugar) to see if that would hold them together…


  • Katie B.

    I’m not sure about birds eating the gelatin. you could try suet instead. 

  • Katie B

    Birds should not eat marshmallow. and I’m not sure gelatin is ok either. a good alternative would be suet and mold into the shape of a heart.  

  • Caroline perigo

    These are very watery, wondering how wait until they firm up? I was going to use these for a favor at my daughter’s baby shower. Wish it would work!

  • Bez

    Jessica is right, what these need is drying out, not freezing. I put mine in a very low temp oven (I used the bottom oven of my Aga, but an ordinary oven set as you would for meringues will do). I left them for about one and a half hours – until they were firm to the touch. Once out of the oven and cooled, they peeled off the parchment paper I had used just fine and feel just like the feeder blocks you can buy in store. Will definitely make more of these, now that I know I can make them successfully.

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  • Ingrid

    Love the blog!

  • Shelley

    Followed directions, and still can out with a sticky mess.

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