Decorative birdcages can make stunning statements as centrepieces or ornamental art, but the price tag on many commercially available styles is prohibitive. You can make your own birdcage out of willow branches, however, and build it to any size you like. The finished product is perfect for housing holiday decorations or even a small potted plant.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Fresh willow branches
- Garden shears
Wash and dry the willow branches, and trim any protruding twigs or exceptionally long ends.
Bend two willow sticks into a circle of the circumference you desire (12 to 14 inches across is a good size).
Tie the twigs firmly together at the ends with twine and cut any excess length. Wrap more twine around the connection point to add stability and hide trimmed ends. Make a second circle of the same size and set aside.
Create the birdcage base out of one of the circles. Cut one piece of willow to fit the widest point across the circle and tie it firmly in place. Working in a parallel fashion out from this central stick, continue cutting and tying willow approximately every ¾ inch across the circle. Rest the finished base on a flat work surface.
Attach the cage bars. Tie vertically oriented twigs firmly in place with twine, working one at a time every ¾ inch around the base. Once three to four twigs have been attached, tie in the second circular support hoop inside of the vertical twigs (approximately 5 to 8 inches up from the base). Continue to attach the vertical bars to the base and support hoop until the circle is completed.
Gather the long ends of the twigs firmly in one hand to close the top of the birdcage. Crossing the twigs over each other in an arch shape lends a much more attractive curve than simply clumping them and tying. Adjust the willow sticks to get the look you want and bind firmly together.
Tips and warnings
- A great way to find willow branches if you do not have your own tree is to ask local tree-pruning services if you can come look at their cuttings before they haul them off.
- You can add decor pieces before you seal the top of the willow cage or add a small door by cutting a few sections of vertical twig away and attaching horizontal support bars to hold the loose ends in place. Use the cutaway pieces to build the door piece by tying more horizontal bars to the top and bottom.
- While a willow-twig birdcage is a stunning addition to your home or garden, it does not make the best cages for live birds. Parrots and other chewing species will work their way out easily, and even finches can pull apart twine over time. Additionally, using found willow sticks can introduce mites or other pest species that can potentially harm your pet bird, and branch-built designs are impossible to keep properly clean with live birds living in them.
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