Hi everyone, I don't really know where to start on here so I thought I'd just jump right into this section and post a pic of the suet feeders I made for my neighbours who love to feed the birds.
Alright, now that I have 10 posts I can post the tutorial pics:
You will need:
~1 med. size vine ball about a 5 in diameter.
~3 suet cakes
~Some extra seed, fruits, and/or oats
~Peanut butter and/or Honey
~Wired ribbon ($store)
~Christmasy looking decorations ($store)
~Glad Press N Seal plastic wrap
Throw your suet cakes into a pot on a medium burner. Break them up and stir occasionally until everything is well melted.
While the suet is melting, take your vine ball and find a spot on it that has a space big enough to fit a standard spoon. If you can't find one, break some vine pieces to make one. Wrap most of the vine ball up in Press n Seal wrap making sure you leave no holes except around the hole at the top.
When your suet cakes are melted, add in some extra seed (black sunflower seed is best for the winter months), some oats, honey, peanut butter, fruit or whatever you have on hand and take it off the burner. In the pic below I added blueberries (about 1 c.), peanut butter (about 1/2 c), honey (a few squirts) and granola (about 1 c). You can't really screw up the amounts you put in, it will all be appreciated by the birds and will stick together well once the suet hardens again.
Once you notice the suet starting to harden up again (it gets kind of like a crumbly playdoh), put your vine ball in a bowl to hold it up right or just hold it in your hand . Start spooning in the suet and packing it in. Once it's done, put it in the freezer (still standing in the bowl) for about 10 minutes (don't leave it too long, you want it to still be a bit mushy for step 7)
While you wait for the suet to harden, get your decorations ready. I got the little do-dad in the pic below (on the right) at the dollar store. I undid the flower tape, separated all the individual stems and trimmed off any excess wire (what you see on the left). I also made a bow out of the wired ribbon. I just made 6 loops and one small one in the middle and stapled it.
Take your ball out of the freezer and loop some twine through the vines. Make sure you go around thicker vines so that it will hold the weight, and then tie a knot.
I secured the bow to the middle of the twine that was going across the hole of the vine ball (where you shoved the suet through) by, again, just stapling it into place. Now take your decoration do-dads and place them around the bottom of the bow by just sticking them right into the hardened suet. If your suet froze too hard, just leave it out at room temperature for awhile checking periodically. Unwrap and discard the plastic wrap, and Voila! Bird feeder that everyone will ohh and ahh over.
If you make this, please post pictures in this thread. I'd love to see how others turned out.