Make an edible house for the birds, a fun activity with the kids using a gingerbread house kit from the grocery store!
I’m all about feeding the birds!
I’ve been wheeling my shopping cart past the cute gingerbread house kits in the grocery store since Thanksgiving. I’ve also admired the edible birdhouses at specialty bird seed stores and garden centers, available for sell in December. It occurred to me that I could make an edible feeder using a gingerbread house. More palatable for the birds and my wallet, rather than a wood house base and the $40 – $60 price tag of the edible birdhouse/feeders.
This would be a fun project in January for the kids and the birds using a gingerbread house kit on sale after Christmas.
I picked up my gingerbread house kit at the grocery store for $9.99.
I used a combination of peanut butter and cornmeal as the adhesive for the seed and edible materials to cover the gingerbread house walls and roof. Chex wheat cereal became ‘cedar shakes’ on the roof, trimmed with raisins.
I read that peanut butter by itself can cause birds to choke so I mixed it cornmeal to give it some texture and grit. I’m not sure whether this is true or not, but I added it to the peanut butter just to be safe, since cornmeal is also an ingredient in most bird treats. I microwaved the peanut butter mixture to make it easier to spread on the gingerbread. Crackers become edible windows and doors and then I filled it around them with seed.
I kept the gingerbread side walls plain and made Chex window panes, sprinkled with seed trim.
The gingerbread house kit comes with royal icing as the ‘glue’ to set the foundation and hold the walls together. Since my gingerbread house was going to be an outside feeder, I used hot glue instead and ran a bead between the walls and in the tracks of the building tray to give it more stability. Also, hopefully to prevent the squirrels and raccoons from running away with it like they did my edible bird seed treats.
After I attached the roof panels, I made a ‘ridge vent’ with a layer of Chex cereal roof tiles to span the seam of where the two roof sections met, and then attached the chimney.
I sprinkled the white plastic building tray with seed to camouflage it and attract the birds, but you set the house out any additional seed.
You can make this gingerbread house bird feeder as fancy or as simple as you want, using a combination of seed, popcorn, pretzels, crackers, nuts or dried fruit. Set it outside and wait for your feathered friends to enjoy their edible house and treat!
I love it Mary, especially the idea of it being an after Christmas craft. But I think I just heard a rally cry from the Squirrel Nation!!! You know they love a challenge and this is one house I’m sure they’d like to move into:@)
Love it!!! So very cute.
LOVE, LOVE it, and what a great project for January. You’re so creative.. all I managed to do was mash some pre-made suet into an orange rind and a pine cone. :) I’m going to be looking for gingerbread house kits. Thanks for the inspiration and tutorial. Merry Christmas!
Really cute idea! and I bet such fun to watch the birds eat it….
Brilliant idea! I was going to make one and ran out of time, never dawned on me I could doll up premade! Fantastic idea! So cute, would love to sit back with a cup of tea and admire your morning guests. Beyond clever~
Love the idea! Such a treat for our feathered friends! Have a great day!
Aww the house for the feathered friends is just adorable, Mary! I like the idea of a January craft, after the busyness of the holidays is over. Your birdie friends are in for a real treat.
What a fantastic idea!
Love, Love, Love this! What a wonderful idea!
We Love feeding the birds. Thanks for sharing!
Holy holiday house Mary! This is the cutest gingerbread house ever! I am crazy about the chex mix roof and the saltine windows! Your feathered friends are sure to flock to it, I sure hope a raccoon doesn’t carry it off! So interesting about the peanut butter! This would be a great January craft~ my backyard is over run with squirrels, so I don’t know how long it would last~ I hope you will share photos of your birds enjoying it and keep us posted! Delightful!
Mary, you did a fantastic job! All your neighborhood birds will thank you, and I do too!
What a cute idea, please do let us know if the birds find it and eat it. Hopefully the squirrels won’t carry it off before the birds have a chance.
The energy that you have to create day after day is astonishing, and I wonder when the ideas will run out. You are something and like so many others, I’m in total awe.
Brilliant! I am so going to do this in January! Thank you for another fantastic idea! Merry Christmas Mary. Your blog is a yearlong gift to me.
I looked it up and peanut butter is fine and good for birds. Said it was a myth that they would choke on it. Just thought you’d want to know!
An adorable idea! I always had my students make bird feeders at Christmas to hang on the trees out on the playground. This would have taken it up a notch. I needed you in my life 20 years ago. ‘-)
I will be pinning this great idea for January! Thanks for sharing. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for discounted gingerbread houses :)
We discussed making a gingerbread house but wondered what we would do with it afterwards. I doubt we’d eat it. So this is a great option. We can make a house and let the birds eat it. I’m sure the neighborhood cat will be thrilled to see if it’s successful. LOL
What a great idea and fun to do with little ones!!!
Great project. I’ve done gingerbread houses but never thought of doing one for the birds.
Nice idea. Just so you know I subscribe to Birds and Blooms magazine. They just sent through an email last week with 12 myths regarding birds in winter. One is that birds choke on peanut butter. They said that is not true and that it’s a great source of fat for birds in winter. So you can load them down with peanut butter.
What a wonderful project..you are so crafty. I’ll still mix in cornmeal with the peanut butter….that stuff makes me almost choke. Thank you for sharing this wonderful idea.
That is brilliant!
What an adorable and yummy house for the birdies! They will love it. Great job! Merry Christmas!
Is this not the cutest idea …EVER! You are so clever. Merry Christmas!
This is BRILLIANT! I will love doing it in January but also I am looking forward to being able to do things like this with Colleen! next year she will be old enought to “help”!! Thanks for this great idea and MERRY Christmas!!!
Oh, I love this, Mary. Love the “Chex” roof!
I love this project, and I’d like to do something similar for the birds during Christmas Break. Lovely post, my friend! I hope you have a blessed Christmas!
Perfect project for my grandson and me! What fun!
Love this Mary….my granddaughter just made her Gingerbread House….so I am thrilled to be able to make this one with her after Christmas!….thanks for always inspiring us!!!
What a great idea! Love it and will try it. Thanks
Such a terrific idea and perfect to do with kids…never too early to teach them to care for our feathered friends…
Great idea. So clever. I would love to make one but afraid the squirrels would take it out the first day.
Have a Merry Merry Christmas. My husband has been sick with the terrible stuff going around here. Praying my visiting grandkids don’t get it.
Great idea! Came online to see if there were ideas for making a wildlife-friendly Gingerbread house and voila! I didn’t consider using premade but without the packaged decorations. How was it received by your birds? Any issues with the glue or anything? Thanks!
Hi, the hot glue stays in a solid long strip and it was left behind in the the tray of the kit along with an inch high wall of cookie edge. The house lasted about a week in the weather and was demolished by the birds, squirrels and raccoons. :)
This gingerbread bird house is so cute! Great idea! I just pinned it! -Shari
Another darling idea from the master of inspiration. I want to make one!
What a great idea! I just happen to have a gingerbread house kit. I can’t wait for the birds to devour it.
we are going to make this on Christmas Day with ur son and daughter….
Something took the whole gingerbread house the first night I had it out. The birds however had enjoyed it during the day. Never found hide nor hair of it. I would loved to have seen the critter that took off with it.