Cardboard Box Birds

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Technics/ arts and crafts teacher at a school for mentally disordered young adults.

Intro: Cardboard Box Birds

Decorative birds made from reused cardboard boxes from cookies,tea, frozen vegetables, breakfast cereals. Not even scissors are needed. Just a glue gun, and crafty fingers.

I make them in all sorts, and sold some on Etsy. Please feel free to contact me if you want me to make one for you. But for all handy hands: make your own!

Step 1: The Base

Tear three strips of cardboard for the breast part. Look for pieces that have the right color for the bird you set out to make. Tearing gives a more natural effect than cutting. The uneven white edges make a feather-like impression, and distort the print on the original box. On top of that it allows you to get away with ill fitting parts witch would look disturbing in neatly cut parts.

Glue the three strips together in a fan shape. Make sure the middle strip is on top. Bend all three strips and glue the other end the same, creating a banana shape.

Step 2: Preparations for the Feet

Take a piece of wire. The length depends on the size of your bird. Better to long than to short. ( see step 10). Bend it in a narrow `U` shape. Stick it through the strips of the body. Attach it with a small piece of cardboard where the head will be, and secure it with a longer strip across the three body strips where the legs will com out of the body. I used red parts to clarify this instructable. The color won't show later on.

Step 3: Sides

To give the body a more three dimensional shape add two cardboard strips to the body, approx. half the length of the first three strips. note how the end are slightly folded in a diagonal way, creating a very wide triangle witch fits the sides of the `banana`.

Step 4: Back Bone

Attach a long new strip to the end where the head will be. Bend it over and paste it at the tail end. It should make a nice `s`shape

Step 5: Wings

Tear out two "D"shapes for shoulders. Give it a little tear in the middle of the straight side. Pull one half a bit over the other so the "D" shape in three dimensional. Add three or four long strips of cardboard for quills and a few shorter ones for the rest of the wing.

Step 6: Attaching Wings to Body

The wings are glued to the sides of the body. It may be necessary to put in an extra strip of cardboard like a ring under the shoulders. It makes the body more rigid, and makes it easier to glue on the wings.

Step 7: Tail

Add strips of cardboard in the right colors for the tail. Look at the shape of the tail on a photo of your bird. Sometimes they are pointy, sometimes 'fan-" shaped. Add strips on upper- and underside.

Step 8: Head

Tear three pieces of cardboard box in an almond shape. One for the top of the head, the other two for the sides. Bend the top of the head and fit it on the back bone strip. The pointy side af the almond towards the beak. Prepare the sides by adding color strips ( if your bird has any) and punch out a hole. Bend them in the same way you did with the top part an glue them to the wings and the sharp side of the back bone or body. The opening left under the head, between wings and body I later covered with a black collar. ( see next step) It doesn't matter if a small opening remains. The bird will look more " artistic" when you can see the body is not massive.

Step 9: Beak

Sometimes I use triangles folded in the middle, but for this bird a quarter of a circle, rolled up in a cone was the right way to go. Just stick it to the body with some hot glue from the glue gun. On the last photo you can see how I added some black cardboard to cover the opening under the head.

Step 10: Feet

Bend the legs in the right shape. A bit to the rear, then forward and for the feet sharp backward and back to the front. It leaves the feet with one toe forward and on back. Take two extra pieces of wire and bend them in a `Y` shape. Tie this piece to the back toe with a thin piece of wire. (may be from the strip you close your garbage bags) . I paint the legs with acrylic paint (about two layers). Don't be shy with the color. Match them with some part of the body rather than making them "realistic" grey.

Step 11: Result

Each bird has its own character. Try to find the right shape, color and size for different birds. And make sure you don't throw away the boxes food comes in, for what is better than reinventing nature by reusing waste materials?

In all photographs there are examples of other birds so be inspired and make your own! Depending on the desired shape and size I vary the technique. E.G. the big red bird contains a Pringles roll.

Papercraft Contest

Third Prize in the
Papercraft Contest

Homemade Gifts Contest

Runner Up in the
Homemade Gifts Contest

5 People Made This Project!

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74 Discussions

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DeborahW7

2 years ago

absolutely awesome!

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buckmeisterq

2 years ago

Thank you for this detailed 'ible! I made a coffee themed bird for a family member who works at a coffee company and it was a great gift!

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melliott11

3 years ago on Introduction

People would go crazy for these if you set up booth during street fair...beautiful work.

Without any obligation: a red-tailed hawk is available. 15x17x7 cm Total costs shipping incl. 45 euro. I will add the bird to the etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/packeredo soon for the same price

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Porda

3 years ago on Introduction

These are great! I love birds and I love crafts with recycled materials. I'll start collecting some boxes and see if I can't make a mallard, my favorite bird.

So cool my dad loves cardnals I will have to try and make him one but I don't think it will turn out as well as the one you made :)

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ediamond1

3 years ago

Thank you! I love these! Definitely going to give it a shot, but I doubt I'll get the great results that you or creativeman got. Should be fun to practice tho :)