Introduction: Mini Hummingbird Feeder Earrings
Summer means Hummingbirds where I live. They buzz around incessantly, stopping for mere moments for a quick drink at our hummingbird feeders.
Hummingbirds are so beautiful, and so are most hummingbird feeders. I had been meaning for a long time to attempt to make hummingbird feeder earrings so that a tiny little hummingbird could stay at my mini feeder earrings as long as I cared to wear them.
It took some scrounging around to figure out what to use for my hummingbird feeder, but when I found my supplies it was super simple. Join me and you can have a hummingbird friend at your "hummingbird feeder" all year long.
*A quick note: Unfortunately, I don't think this project is suitable for polymer clay as the basis of the feeder is plastic and could not undergo the baking process that polymer clay requires. Some bold person may prove me wrong by baking their pieces and then attaching them to the plastic, but please don't put the plastic in the oven.*
UPDATE: GillytheCrafter is that bold person; she used polymer clay for hers. She adhered the pieces after baking. You can view hers in the Made It! section down by the Comments section.
1. Two transparent red pushpins or tacks
2. A good pair of wire cutters (or pliers with wire cutters included)
3. Metal file ( a file for filing metal)
4. Thin wire ( I used 26 gauge wire for this, but you could just strip two bread ties or twist ties - the wire should measure about 2 1/2 to 3 inches)
5. Round nose pliers (or flat nose pliers - for manipulating the wire)
6. Needle or pin or stylus tool or any other small pointy object for modeling the clay
7. A tiny TINY amount of yellow clay
8. Glue that will stick to plastic (I had success with Gorilla Glue Super Gel)
9. A tiny amount of white air dry clay
10. VERY thin gauge wire (I used 36 gauge - this wire is so thin it resembles metal hair. about 3 or 4 inches)
11. Metallic paints in white, grey, green, and red
12. Black paint
13. Tiny brush for painting (optional)
15. Brush to apply varnish
16. Tacky glue or Mod Podge
17. Earrings hooks
Step 1: Disassembling the Pushpin
Taking the red pushpin, use the wire cutters to snip the metal pokey bit off as close to the base as you can.
BEWARE: do this in a "controlled" environment because the two pieces will most likely go flying across the room and you DEFINITELY don't want to not be able to find that dangerous pokey piece!
Discard of the pokey bit properly. I mean, don't just throw it in the trash can. There is the possibility that it could poke through the bag and injure someone. Wrap it up in duct tape and then throw it away.
With the metal file, file the nub left on the pushpin base as much as you possibly can. This will take a while .....
But you will finally be done!
If you don't want to try to file the whole thing down, just file the nub until it is no longer sharp. It is totally fine. That's what I did because I didn't want to damage the pushpin.
Step 2: Assembling the Hummingbird Feeder: Attaching the Hook
Now that our pushpin is a "hummingbird feeder" it needs a hook.
With the thin wire (the twist tie, bread tie, or 26 gauge wire), lay the push pin on the wire. The part that once had the metal bit should be laying across the wire as the new top of the hummingbird feeder.
Cross the wire ends over the pushpin middle, wrapping tightly and criss crossing the wires. Wrap the wire twice, then put a bend in both of the wires when they are on opposite sides from one another. This bend should be as close to a right angle (or 90 degrees) as you can get it to be, making the wires now go straight up to the flattened top of the pushpin.
Now bend both the wires over the pushpin top and toward the middle, where the nub was (or is). The wires should reach each other in the middle.
With the round nosed pliers, bend the end of one wire into a loop. Take the other wire and wrap it around the base of the loop as well.
Now you should have a hook for your hummingbird feeder.
*If you have way more wire left over than I do, carefully snip the excess wire off AFTER you have wrapped around the base of the loop a few times. Just don't cut off the excess too soon or you may find out you had less wire than you thought (who made that mistake? ME).
Step 3: Making the Feeder Flowers
The little yellow flowers will be made of clay.
Take a tiny, tiny pinch of the yellow clay and make it into a ball. I didn't specify roll it into a ball because you can't exactly roll a piece of clay that tiny. Flatten the ball slightly and then place it on a surface (such as a piece of plastic or silicone or whatever).
With your stylus tool or sewing pin, toothpick, or whatever small pointy tool you have chosen, make five inward dents into the small yellow disc. This should cause the disc to become a flower or star shape. Don't overthink it; people will recognize it for what it is even if it isn't perfect.
*If you want, you can skip the last step of shaping the yellow clay into a flower. It will be recognizable even if it is only a yellow circle.
Apply some of the super glue to the new base (the smaller end) of the hummingbird feeder. I used a sewing pin and just put a small dot of glue.
Using a sewing pin or toothpick or other such tool, pick up the yellow clay piece and place it on the glue dot you put on the pushpin.
Repeat this step until you have five yellow flowers on the hummingbird feeder. Try to space them as evenly as you can, but don't overthink it. After you have placed them on the feeder you can use your stylus tool to poke a small hole in the center of each flower.
Wait for the glue to dry. I know the bottle says "24 hours", but you don't have to wait that long before sculpting and applying the hummingbird. Just start on the hummingbird and once you are ready to put the hummingbird on the glue should be ok.
Step 4: Sculpting the Hummingbird - the Head
Take out the very VERY thin wire (my 36 gauge). Cut a length that you can easily hold on to the end with your fingers and still have excess wire (see photos). The bird will be sculpted on the wire, and having a longer wire makes holding onto the tiny bird much easier.
Take a tiny amount of the white clay and roll it into a little ball. Carefully slide this ball onto the wire, taking care not to smash it too much. Slide the wire into the clay until there is a bit of wire poking out at the other side of the clay ball. This will be the beak of the hummingbird.
If you smashed the little clay ball, take a stylus tool or toothpick and push the clay back into a ball shape. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Let that dry for just a tiny bit - probably about five minutes - before proceeding to the body.
Step 5: Sculpting the Hummingbird - Body
Take a small snake or oval of clay and slide it on the opposite end of the wire from the beak. Slide it on the wire until it meets the head.
If you can't slide the clay onto the wire, just squish a little bit of clay around the wire behind the head and then slide it to meet the head.
With the stylus tool, shape the new clay so that it makes almost a long tear drop shape, with the thinnest portion being the neck at the base of the head. You can use your fingers to carefully round the shape and use the tool to refine and thin portions of the clay.
Don't worry about it being super detailed.
Step 6: Sculpting the Hummingbird - Wings
Now it is time for the wings.
Take a little pinch of the white clay and make it a long shape similar to a fat grain of rice. Roll one end and make it smaller than the other end, giving it a sort of tear drop or cone shape.
I smash the little bit of clay then put it on my surface and push it around with my stylus tool to get the shape I want. It should come to a thinner point at one end and be a fatter, rounded end opposite. This is the wing.
For insurance sake, you can place a little drop of PVA glue, tacky glue, or Mod Podge on the body of the bird to help hold the wing while you get it in place. Pick up the wing with your stylus tool and put it in place, then smooth it together to the body of the bird.
Repeat the steps for the second wing. When both the wings are attached, carefully push them open so the wings are outspread.
The hardest part is over!
Step 7: Sculpting the Hummingbird - the Tail
The tail is relatively easy.
Take a little bit of clay and flatten it on your surface - I used my finger (don't press too hard; you want to be able to pick it back up again). With your stylus tool, manipulate the clay until it is a triangle shape with no point (technically a trapezoid).
Put a little bit of glue (PVA, tacky, Mod Podge) on the base of the bird where the tail will go. Pick up the tail with your stylus tool or a pin, then lay the base of the tail onto the body of the bird. Once the glue has grabbed it so it is held in place, use the stylus tool to make sure it is joined securely.
*The tail will go over top of the wire, hiding it when we are finished*
Taa - Daa! The Hummingbird is sculpted!
Step 8: Paint the Hummingbird
How you choose to paint your hummingbird is up to you. I will be painting the Ruby Throated Hummingbird male, but you can make whatever type of hummingbird you want. Just google some photos of hummingbirds and see how many amazing different colors they come in!
I use a large sewing pin to do my painting because it is so small that I don't have any brushes that tiny. I get a little bit on the end of the pin, then I paint. It does take a little longer because it doesn't hold paint like a brush does, but I am ok with that. I have fewer mistakes than if I used a brush that was too big. Keep in mind, though, if you choose to use a pin, wipe it off every once in a while on a paper or paper towel because the paint will try to build up, ruining the tiny detail you can get with a clean pin.
For the Ruby Throated Hummingbird, the underside of the bird is a pale white. First paint the underside. Don't be too worried about getting it in places that are not supposed to be white; the green and red are darker so they will cover up any mistakes.
After letting the white dry, move on to the green. The backside, head, the top edge of the wings, and a little portion under the wing area are green. Go slowly while painting, not rushing. If you mess up, don't freak out. You can cover it up with more paint.
Once the green has dried, add the namesake red patch of the Ruby Throated Hummingbird. Only males have this, not females. The red paint should go right on the chin/throat area.
Now all that is needed is a few details.
With a dark grey metallic color, paint the inside of the wings. Paint a grey stripe on the lower half of the backside of the wings. Paint the edge of the end of the tail with the grey as well.
Now all that is needed is the eyes. Get a tiny bit of black paint on the very tip of the sewing pin and just dot it where the eyes belong. If he looks kinda crazy, don't worry. Have you ever looked at miniatures in the store? The paint jobs on some of those look about as good as what a five year old would do.
Phew! Go take a walk or something, take a break! You have completed the absolutely most hardest parts and it is sailing from here.
Step 9: Varnish and Attaching the Bird
Now that the bird is dry, cut the excess wire off as close to the tail as you can manage. The wire end should be hidden by the tail.
To attach the hummingbird, place a dab of glue on one of the flowers on the feeder. Pick up the bird very carefully and place him/her on the flower with the glue. Move the bird into the position you want by using the stylus tool to push it around.
Now you just have to wait for the glue to dry!
With a varnish (I prefer Duraclear) give the little flowers and the bird a few swipes once you are sure they are dry (and the glue, too!). You don't have to, but air dry clay generally needs protection.
Attach earrings hooks by opening the loop end of the hook with pliers. Give it a sideways twist so as not to warp the loop. Slide the loop on the hummingbird feeder onto the earring hook loop. Close the earring hook by twisting the open end back the way it came to shut the loop.
Step 10: Enjoy Hummingbirds All Year!
This little feeder will never need refilled and your hummingbird friends will never leave!
I made one of my hummingbirds the female Ruby Throated Hummingbird. I might make some more in other types of hummingbirds that are not native to my area because they are so beautiful! I love the ones with blue, and I just found the Leucistic hummingbird which is sometimes pure white!
I am entering this in the For the Birds Speed Challenge, so if you like it please vote!
I hope you enjoy your hummingbird earrings! Good luck on all your creative endeavors, and go clay today!
First Prize in the
For the Birds Speed Challenge
1 Person Made This Project!
- GillytheCrafter made it!