This Scandinavian bird ornament is simple to make if you have 2-3-ounce vegetable-tanned scrap lying around. If not, you can order a belly-leather strip (varies from maybe 8″ wide to 12″, and is about 4′ long) from that had been skived to 2-ounces. You can make a lot of birds from one strip, and the cost of a strip is low. The strips come in three colors – natural, brown and black.

Of course other types, weights and colors of leather could work,  experiment with what you have.

The only other supplies you need are a sturdy string for suspending the bird and a punch to make holes for the eye, and for the string to pass through.

The bird pattern can be made in other sizes,  just reduce or enlarge it on a photocopy machine.

You can dye your bird with Rit dye – for me, red looks the best on the natural leather.

Once you have your leather and pattern, use a rotary cutter to cut a strip in the width you need on a self-healing cutting mat, with a ruler to guide your cutter. Or, use scissors to cut out your bird.

Cut the head and tail with scissors. Punch two holes in the center of the bird as shown on the pattern, and pass your string through them. Knot the ends of the string.

If you plan to dye your bird, do so now.

When you fold your bird to give its body a shape, the fuzzy back-side of the leather will be exposed on the tail. To give it a smoother look, spread some white glue or gum tragacanth in the tail area with a credit card and let it dry before continuing.

To fold your bird, take the tail end and loop it over the head-end, as if you were making the first part of a knot. Pull the tail end until the bird looks balanced. If you like, the smallest binder clip or a paper clip could be placed on the back-side, to keep the bird folded.

Now let it fly!

Bird pattern

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