The Dollar Diva


CHEAP (almost free!) TRICK

It’s spring and I love making, selling and decorating with bird themed things, including nests with EGGS in them.

P1120046Things like this.  I can buy the nests pretty inexpensively, in bulk from a wholesale supplier (CWI, but you do have to have a retail license to buy from them) and the moss to fill out the nest from Dollar Tree.  But the EGGS???  The eggs are ridiculously expensive!!  

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Tiny ‘mini jelly bean’ sized ones are $3+ at the craft store.  And they are not even very realistically looking, with a very visible ‘seam’ where the two sides have been joined.  (you can ‘sand off’ those seams with a nail file!) 

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 I use the little eggs in wall collages like this. (the birds came from DT.)  And package the nests with eggs to sell individually.  With as many eggs as I use, I HAD to come up with a less costly egg supply.

P1120049HERE is my solution!  This was NOT my own original idea; but it was SO long ago that I came across it on the internet that I can’t remember WHERE I saw it.  (I always try to give credit where credit is due!  If you happen to know who originated this idea PLEASE let me know so I can credit them!)  Can you tell what these ORIGINALLY were??

P1120052They’re PISTACHIO shells!!!  Crazy cool, eh?!?!?  By the time you glue them into a nest you really can’t even SEE the other side, so why not!?!

Just save up a bunch of Pistachio shells.  Lay them open side down in a box (I use the low side boxes, like 4 six packs of soda come in)  You want the paint to easily reach them, but don’t want them to ‘blow away’ from the force of the spray!  Since them are so small, it is easier to use spray paint.  I probably did over a hundred of them at once.

I used white, cream, pale blue and light green paints all in really quick short spurts.  This will give you the most natural coloration of your eggs.  Once dry, you can add your speckles.  You can read about speckles and the splattering tool that I used  HERE.  It really is a pretty handy little tool.  I’ve TRIED to add the ‘fly speckling’ with an old toothbrush and ended up with BIG BLOBS instead of tiny specks.  But if you have a method that already works well for you. bu all means do it your way!

P1120047Adding a feather to the nests is a nice added touch.

 

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Birds of a feather

Digging  through the archives of my other blog  to show you a re-cap of Dollar Tree birds over the years and what I’ve done with them,

Those are from a couple of years ago.  Ceramic DT birds on thrifted bases (glued together with e6000; and spray painted)  They STILL have these particular birds in my local Dollar Tree stores.  And Dollar Tree glass candle holders would work just as well.  I just ‘used what I had’, which happened to be thrifted ones for the bases.

This bird is from a couple years ago, as is the candle holder I adhered him to.  The color match was so close that I didn’t need to paint these!  GOTTA love when a make-over is as simple as that!

Same little DT bird as previous picture; but this one was added to the top of a finial I crafted.  A new e-book on how to make these and MANY more finials will be finished up for sale in my etsy shop SOON!.

Gotta have some NESTS if you’re gonna have birds!  Thrifted  vintage urns and pedestal candle holders make great nest holders, to pair up with these other Dollar Tree birds on pedestals I made.

For those I used some unfinished candle holders I had on hand.  Again the glass candle holders from DT would work just as well.   Just DON’T ever substitute another adhesive for the e6000!  Let glue dry overnight before painting.

An entire flock!  First painted black, then  dry brush painted ivory, leaving some of the black showing.

Lots of little birds tucked in throughout this display.

This past Christmas I did LOTS of white glittered birds with glitter crowns.  The owls came from Target a few years ago, and were originally brown.

I also did some TURQUOISE glitter birds just for fun!  Only did a few ‘just in case’ the color didn’t “FLY” (did I really say that?!?!)  The turquoise birds sold out very quickly.  Lesson learned!

I tucked the birds in everywhere throughout my booth at the antique mall!

My all time FAVORITE birds from Dollar Tree were these, from a year or 2 ago, with the WIRE FEET.  This was the last of that stash that I was saving.  sigh.  HOPING they will make a come-back this year.  I’m checking weekly.  Watching and waiting for the new spring merchandise to come in.  It’s trickling in right now.  After Valentine’s  day it will REALLY be out.  THEN, I’ll be checking every other day!  And when they do arrive, they’ll all be going home with me!  No such thing as too many birds in my craft supply stash!  (the little red birds I just showed a few posts ago)

Another of the birds with wire feet; this one painted differently.  Cream color paint then Ralph Lauren tobacco glaze.  This set is for sale in my etsy shop.

For Christmas, I did some of the crowned birds glued to the top of gift boxes.

The above set is ENTIRELY from Dollar Tree; the bird, the box, the trees and the snowflakes!  I just added a bit of artistic flair!

Dollar Tree glass vases / votive holders turned into cloches by turning them upside down and adding a bird for a handle.  These birds came from the craft store, but I used the same birds as in the second picture in this post for this purpose when I could get them.

Again, not a DT bird, but would/could have been.  (see what I mean about no such thing as TOO many birds!?!)

Valentine birds.  This set is currently for sale in my etsy shop.

Some PINK glittered birds with vintage sheet music crowns for this Valentine’s Day.

Available for purchase in my booth at Stars Antique Mall in Portland, Oregon.

MORE love for this little ceramic bird from a few years back; this time on top of a ‘make do’ cloche with a nest and egg.  On the right is one of the ‘painted and glazed’ birds mounted on a little paper mache box.  Spanish moss and an egg inside the box.

BIGGER cloche with nest and egg under the glass.  Repainted thrifted pillar candle holder used for the base.

Here’s a better picture of that cloche.  It took some patience to get the bird to stay in place on that domed lid.  The hole in the bottom of the bird helped.  Not using too much adhesive (e6000) helped too!  Applied just a few dabs around the hole in the base of the bird, gently set it in place on the cloche, then quickly removed it and let the adhesive ‘set up’ until it was tacky.  Applied a tad more, then put in place to stay.  Had to hold it in place for about 15 minutes to be sure it didn’t slide off!

Yep, I used those little birds a LOT!!!  some more cloches made from thrifted vintage components.

BIG cloche with dinner size plate base, adhered to a large pillar candle holder.  Spray painted them both ivory.

Little cloche with nest grass and egg.  This is and espresso cup saucer and a mini brandy snifter for the base.  The bell jar behind it was just glued onto a DT candle holder for a base.

These bird tea light holders were originally a dark orange color.  Glued to a DT candle holder (the kind that come in a 2/pk) Painted everything cream color then glazed with my Ralph Lauren tobacco glaze.

Another of the tea light holders, just painted and glazed.

Styro wreathe from DT, covered with strips of burlap and one of the little birds glued on the inside.

Another burlap wreath in a lighter color and with a burlap ribbon at the top.

Can’t wait to see what kinds of birds Dollar Tree will have for me to PLAY WITH this year!!!