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How To Make a Magpie Nest

My favorite animal? Why the Magpie of course! The only creature whose affinity for collecting all things shiny that match my own. Over the years I have haphazardly gathered pretty ribbon and bobbles with no plan in place. Then it hit me one cold February day! Why not celebrate those trinkets by building my own Magpie’s nest in time for spring?

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest

Creating your own bird’s nest can be as simple, or as elaborate as you want. For me it is an exercise of celebrating the perfection found within the imperfection, beauty amongst the chaos. I personally like to approach it with a loose treatment to achieve a more natural look, rather than tight which can appear manufactured. Momma birds construct their nests using snippets and bits containing an array of color and texture. So, when building a nest I make sure to use at least three different materials (ex: sticks, twine, moss, rattan, ribbon, etc.) to help replicate what a bird would do.

(Disclosure: I receive commission for purchases made using Amazon links in my article. I appreciate your support!)

Here are the tools and materials I used to create my Magpie nest:

Step #1 - Gather outdoor materials

Strong winds hit Maryland this winter, knocking down plenty of stick in the front yard. 

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest
While collecting natural materials, be sure to keep this in mind... I highly recommend sterilizing them before using it for indoor use. Practicing this low maintenance step will guarantee no creepy bugs, mold, eggs, or nests. Simply line a baking sheet with tin foil, break down your materials so it fits the oven, bake 45 minutes at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest

Step #2 - Create a skeleton

Using a bowl that matches the nest size you want to make; you can create a twine skeleton that will provide a great foundation for your project. Be prepared... this process will take at least 1-2 days, and you will get Mod Podge on your hands (which is no biggie... but can get messy).

I love using twine for the skeleton because its color and texture appears so natural. You won't even see it once your project is complete. 

First, place you bowl upside down, wrap it with Saran Wrap inside and out, brush the bottom of the bowl with Mod Podge, then loosely wrap the bottom of the bowl with twine. Repeat this step after the Mod Podge dries, then brush the final layer of twine with the Mod Podge to help adhere all the strands together. 

If you twine doesn't want to behave and remain flush with the bowl's shape, simply cover it with Seran wrap and place an object on top of it while it dries. This day I grabbed a spool of copper wire to hold down stands that wanted to pop up.

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, create a twine bowl using Mod Podge

Step #3 - Weave in sticks

Take your sterilized sticks and weave them through your dry twine skeleton. The sticks may have become brittle during the baking process, so use a gentle hand. 

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, weaving in sterilized sticks
Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, weaving in sterilized sticks

Step #4 - Wrap it with rattan

This step was much easier than I had anticipated! Take one bundle of rattan and pull it apart loosening the strands to make it appear 'wilder'. Then simply wrap the exterior of the nest with the rattan, weaving it in among the sticks which will help hold the shape.

I had truly anticipated having to use my glue gun to keep the rattan in check. However, the sticks took care of everything. Huzzah!

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, wrap with rattan
Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, wrap with rattan
Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, wrap with rattan

Step #5 - Add moss and other natural textures

Following my "three different materials" rule, I decided to add preserved moss to my nest. I love this stuff, especially during Easter... the decorating possibilities are endless!

Grab a clump of moss and add it to the center of your nest to create a soft, welcoming appearance. Then add little tufts of moss along the side within the rattan to create depth and visual interest.

Once again, I was surprised I didn't need my glue gun to keep the moss in place. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Just have fun following your instincts and watch it evolve naturally. 

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, add preserved moss

Step #6 - Add Magpie treasures

This final step was the most exciting for me because, finally, the shiny objects that have caught my eye over the years get their day to shine! Chandelier crystals, purple floral beads, a small pink ribbon once wrapped around a gift, and a shiny bookmark pendant led the way to my vision.

Remember, you can add anything to your nest! Use jewelry, dried flowers, anything that will bring you joy and sweet memories.

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, add shiny chandelier crystals

This is when a glue gun will come in handy. If your trinkets have any weight to them, they will immediately fall into the center of the nest, or right through the rattan. Just a dab will do 'ya to keep them in place.
Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, add shiny chandelier crystals Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, add shiny chandelier crystals Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, add shiny chandelier crystals
Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest

If you want to learn how I created the eggs, please read on...

In the spirit of honoring the amazing Magpie, I decided to finish my nest with paper mâché eggs. Their light weight is perfect for this nest, and Porch Nook's "Sea Glass" resembles the Magpie's egg color brilliantly!

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, painting paper mache eggs with Porch Nook's "Sea Glass" 

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, paint paper mache eggs

To create the speckled pattern is an easy and quick step. Simply crumple up a sheet of tissue paper, then spray the paper with brown Krylon paint. Dab the paper mâché eggs with the tissue paper with a light touch and you will have yourself a perfect speckled egg!

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, create speckled eggs

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, paint speckled eggs

Voilà!

So, are you ready to embrace your inner Magpie? I hope this article will inspire you to create your own, or perhaps introduce this project as a fun new tradition in your household. Remember, it's all about celebrating the perfection found within the imperfection... as all things should be. XOXO

Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest
Porch Nook | How To Make a Magpie Nest, paint speckled eggs

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