Making Bird-Themed Christmas Crafts

Cardinals are often associated with Christmas because of their brilliant red color. Now you can make this beloved bird -- and many others -- part of your holiday crafts.

Holly Jolly Cardinal Wall Hanging

Looking for something just a bit different to decorate your wall this Christmas season? Then the holly jolly cardinal quilt will be just what you are looking for. With its bright red cardinals, and gold and Christmas-print fabrics, this quilt will be eye-catching as well as awe-inspiring. Though the hand quilting will take you a bit longer to finish, the rewards will be worth it. This wall hanging will become a family treasure! Here are the materials you'll need:
  • 1 yard white fabric
  • 1 yard backing fabric
  • 1/2 yard dark green subtle print or solid fabric
  • 1/4 yard fabric for binding
  • 1/4 yard solid red fabric
  • 1/4 yard to 1/2 yard red/green small scale plaid (depending upon repeat)
  • 1/4 yard gold pindot or solid fabric
  • 1/4 yard white background Christmas print
  • 1/8 yard (or scraps) black pindot or solid fabric
  • 1 yard low-loft batting sewing and hand-quilting thread between-hands quilting needles pencil, scissors, ruler (A rotary cutter and board are helpful for cutting border and binding strips, but not essential.)

    Here is the completed Holly Jolly Cardinal Wall Hanging.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Here is the completed
    Holly Jolly Cardinal Wall Hanging.

To construct a Holly Jolly Cardinal Wall Hanging:

Prewash and iron all fabrics before cutting. Organize fabric pieces into blocks as they are cut. They are 2 types of blocks -- a cardinal block and a holly leaf block. They are 8 blocks of each type for a total of 16 blocks. Trace around the pattern piece on the wrong side of the specified fabric and cut out as directed. Cut the strips and larger pieces of each fabric before cutting the smaller pieces. Download the pattern
here
.
  1. Cut a 33x33-inch piece of the backing fabric and the batting.

  2. From the binding fabric, cut four 2x45-inch strips.

  3. From the plaid, cut four 13/4x45-inch strips. Cut along the straight line of plaid and use plaid repeat as a guide. (See photo for meaning of repeat). For example, if repeat is 21/4 inches, cut 21/4x45-inch strips. All 4 strips should be identical. Strips should not be wider than 3 inches.

    In step 3, cut identical strips of plaid fabric.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    In step 3, cut identical
    strips of plaid fabric.

  4. From both gold and Christmas print, cut four 11/2x28-inch strips each.

  5. From A, cut 72 white, 16 black, and 8 each of red, green, and gold. From B, cut 40 green. From C, cut 16 white and red. From D, cut 16 white and 8 red. From E, cut 56 white. From F, cut 8 white and 16 red. All seam allowances are 1/4 inch. Follow guide to assemble 8 cardinal and 8 leaf blocks. Press seams toward darker colors whenever possible and press open when joining squares to make blocks.

    Assemble 8 cardinal blocks and 8 leaf blocks.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Assemble 8 cardinal
    blocks and 8 leaf blocks.

  6. Stitch together 16 blocks, alternating cardinal and leaf blocks, to complete the center section.

    Stitch together a group of 16 blocks, alternating between leaf and cardinal.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Stitch together a group of 16 blocks,
    alternating between leaf and cardinal.

  7. Stitch a Christmas-print strip to both sides of center section. Trim ends even with center section. Press seams toward strips. Stitch remaining Christmas-print strips to top and bottom of center section. Trim ends and press toward strips.

    Stitch a Christmas-print strip to either side of the 16 block section.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Stitch a Christmas-print strip to either
    side of the 16 block section.

  8. In the same manner, add gold border strips, and finally plaid border strips to complete quilt top.

  9. Thoroughly iron top and backing. On a large flat surface, place backing face down and center batting over it. Center top right side up over batting and carefully smooth it out. Pin edges. Using a long needle and thread, start at center and hand baste through all thicknesses vertically and horizontally. Baste close to edge around perimeter.

    Pin the backing to the wall hanging.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Pin the backing to the wall hanging.

  10. Hand quilt through all thicknesses of quilt. Quilting should begin toward center and work outward. Outline cardinals, run diagonally through holly leaves and diagonally in opposite direction through center of each leaf block. Remove all basting except the perimeter.

  11. For binding, stitch together 4 binding strips to make a long 2-inch strip. Fold strip in half lengthwise with wrong sides together. Place raw edge of binding even with basted edge of quilt. Stitch binding to quilt top, beginning in middle of a side and leaving 3 inches of binding free at beginning. End stitching 1/4 inch from each corner, and backstitch. Reposition binding to begin next side, and repeat for all sides and corners. End stitching about 3 inches before binding ends meet. Stitch ends of binding together, cut off excess, and finish stitching binding to quilt. Trim batting and backing. Miter corners. Turn binding to back, and blind-stitch.
Four Calling Birds

Four snowy birds call out a message of goodwill to all. Birch branches trimmed with holly and tiny blossoms form a unique wreath. It looks like this frosty foursome has made a charming wreath their new home for the holidays! Here is what you'll need to begin:

Here is a completed Four Calling Birds.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Here is a completed Four Calling Birds.

  • Stem floral wire, 22 gauge
  • Brown floral tape
  • Wire cutters
  • Birch branches, about 24 inches in length (between 140 and 170 branches)
  • 4 matching birds
  • Hot glue gun and
  • glue sticks
  • Spanish moss
  • 2 stems silk holly
  • 2 stems white silk miniature roses
  • Miniature pinecones
  • White glue
  • Small artist's paintbrush
  • Diamond dust or opalescent glitter
To construct a Four Calling Birds:
  1. Wrap and cut floral wire with brown floral tape. Separate branches into 4 bundles with about 36 thin branch pieces in each and another 2 bundles with 10 to 15 branches each.

  2. With taped wire, tie each bundle in middle, then tie on each end. Add extra branches as needed to make solid bundles.

    Secure each bundle of Birch branches with wire.
    ©2006 Publicaitons International, Ltd.
    Secure each bundle of
    Birch branches with wire.

  3. Make a square with 4 large bundles, and wrap ends together with wire. Square should measure about 18x18 inches. Leave a few light branches longer at corners to soften wreath. Trim remaining branches so wreath has a flat back for hanging.

    Arrange the bundles into a square and attach with wire.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Arrange the bundles into a
    square and attach with wire.

  4. Wire 2 smaller bundles to back of wreath to form 4 equal center squares. Again, wire middle of 2 bundles and at either end for good support. Slip in extra branches as needed to strengthen squares.

    Wire two smaller bundles to the larger frame to form four even squares.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Wire two smaller bundles to the larger
    frame to form four even squares.

  5. Glue birds in place. They should sit firmly in middle bottom of each center square. Tilt birds forward so wreath still has a flat back. Glue small amounts of Spanish moss at base of each bird to resemble a nest.

    Tilt the birds slightly forward before gluing them on so the wreath will have a flat back.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Tilt the birds slightly forward before
    gluing them on so the wreath
    will have a flat back.

  6. Cut individual leaves and berries from holly. Glue into place around nest and to hide wire on wreath. Glue on roses. Glue pinecones between holly leaves and flowers.

  7. Using small artist's paintbrush, brush tips of flowers, pinecones, and holly leaves lightly with glue. Sprinkle with diamond dust. If desired, sprinkle diamond dust on birds' feathers also. Let dry overnight.
You'll need to break out best craft-making skills for our next section. On the next page, we will learn how to make artistic Christmas crafts.