Spring Bird Nests & Wooden Candlesticks


How do you go from this

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to this?

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Easy!  With a little imagination, paint, rummage sale & dollar store finds!

I always buy wooden candlesticks.  It’s a compulsion, but I know I will be able to use them for something.  The best place to find them is at garage and church rummage sales.  They are very inexpensive, 99 cents or less and they can be transformed into many things.  This time I decided a little spring was in order.

I bought the wooden bowls on a whim.  My husband was with me and he was confused.  He asked why I would buy wooden bowls, he actually thought I was going to use them for salad.  He’s so funny, one of the reasons I married him!  I didn’t know why I bought the bowls, it’s not something I usually do, but I think I got six for 50 cents.  Had to do it.

I love bird nests and robin eggs.  They just make everything pretty and can be used all spring and summer long.  This project came to me when I saw all the pictures on pinterest of bird nests.  I’m not nearly as creative as some, but I can make a fun bird nest.

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Let’s start with what you will need for this project.  Sorry the picture is a little blurry.

  1. Two candlesticks (wooden or metal)
  2. Two wooden bowls
  3. Paint (I used gray, burnt umber and white, but you can use any color combo)
  4. Paintbrushes (any kind)
  5. Toothbrush (yep, you read that right)
  6. Matte finish spray (optional)
  7. Spanish moss (dollar store)
  8. Reindeer moss or whatever kind you like
  9. Plastic eggs (any color, you can paint them!)
  10. Random twigs and leaves from your yard
  11. Half a cotton ball (not pictured)
  12. Super strong glue (I used E6000, not pictured)
  13. Hot glue gun (not pictured)  You can use the above glue for all of it, if you don’t have one

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First, wash your supplies and glue the bowl to the top of the candlestick (I forgot to take a picture of this…again, sorry).  It’s glue, we’ve been doing that since kindergarten. 🙂  Second, put two coats of gray or whatever color you like all over, including inside the bowl, let dry.  I used a DIY chalk paint recipe and it only took 30 minutes for each coat to dry.  You might have to sand your bowl and candlestick, I didn’t because I used the chalk paint.

This next step is intimidating to some people, but oh so easy.  I used an acrylic paint by Americana, burnt umber.  Squirt about a quarter size amount in a bowl and add about an equal amount of water.  Mix it up.  You are making a glaze or wash to ‘age’ the gray paint.  You will want to take your time with this one.  Put it on one section at a time and then wipe it off with a barely damp cloth or paper towel.  Don’t have too much water on your cloth or it will just take the glaze right off.  The third picture shows the glaze wiped off, but it was still too dark, so I just got another paper towel and wet it a little more and wiped again.  It’s going to look like you got dirt on your surface, but that is okay, we are trying to do that.

After you have let that dry it’s time for dry brushing with the white paint.  I do this step to give it a little more dimension.  You can put a little paint (quarter size) on a paper towel.  Dip, just the ends of your paintbrush and then wipe it on the same paper towel.  This will get the majority of the paint off.  Dry brushing is exactly what it says…dry.  You are barely getting the paintbrush wet and then painting your surface.  Once you have the paint on the brush, paint it on in one motion, in one direction.  If you try to paint it on like most people, in a back and forward motion, you will end up with splotches of paint in one spot and that is not what we are going for.  We want it to look like light streaks or lines.

Let that dry and then distress if you want.  I used a course 60 grit sandpaper, I wanted it to be roughed up.  If you look at the first picture, you can see where the base didn’t show the stain (I got a little crazy with the sanding).  I just took some glaze and with a paper towel, rubbed it on the distressed part and wiped off.  It’s not nearly as dark as the stain, but it looks much better.  The final step, this is optional, spray a matte finish sealer on, two coats is perfect.  I put mine on because it is easier to wipe it down when it gets dusty and I am putting these in my booth to sell.

While that is drying, start your nest.  I know this sounds like a lot, but I did all of this in between, cleaning my house, painting another project and making dinner.  It’s not a sprint race, just do it in your spare time.

The nest, the most fun part!  All I did to make a nest was take half of the dollar store package of Spanish moss and form it into a nest shape.  That’s it!  I squished and shaped it into a circle and dug a little hole in the middle to hold the eggs.  You may have to glue some errant strands, but you’re going to glue the nest into the bowl anyway so the shape should hold.  After I made the shape of the nest, I went outside and found some twigs with leaves on them, broke them off into workable sizes and glued them into the nest.  Birds don’t make perfect nests, they use a lot of stuff.  You want to glue them on because if, for some reason, it falls over, you don’t want to put it together again.

Then you are going to add your cotton in random places.  Pull it apart like taffy into small tiny strips and place it on.  No need for glue this time, cotton sticks to everything!  Your nest is complete!  Go get your base and glue it in the bowl.  Make sure it has a few strands sticking out, you want it to look natural.

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You may be able to find your bird eggs in a color of your choosing, but I purchased mine at a rummage sale and brown was the color choice.  I like the brown, but I wanted to add a few robins egg blue ones too.  I love aqua and had some of the Americana acrylic paint on hand.  I used Desert Turquoise and Spa Blue.  I painted my eggs with a foam brush, two coats and waited for them to dry.  Time for the toothbrush!  To get the spots on the eggs, I dipped the tip of an old toothbrush in the burnt umber paint and flicked it on to the egg with my thumb.  It’s the only way I could think of to get it on there quickly.  Again, I sprayed a matte finish on mine, but this is optional.

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Now let’s finalize this pretty spring decoration!  Glue your eggs into the nest, however you like them to be displayed.  Then put the final touch on.  Glue some reindeer moss around the eggs and you are done!!  I am so making some of these for myself too!  I love them!

I added a bird to my larger one, but I’m not sure I’m going to keep it there.  I may even add some ribbon under the bowl.  What do you think?  Should I keep the bird?  Should I add the ribbon?  Decisions, decisions.


This entry was posted in crafts, DIY, Hand Painted, Home Decor, Spring, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Spring Bird Nests & Wooden Candlesticks

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