Step 1: Gather your supplies—bird seed (I picked up a $2 package at Wal-Mart), 2 packages unflavored gelatin (1/2 oz), waxed paper, twine, scissors, mixing bowl and spoon, baking sheet or other flat surface, large cookie cutters (not pictured), 1/2 cup boiling water (not pictured).
Step 2: Cut twine into 14-inch lengths—one for each birdseed cake. Tie ends together to form a loop.
Step 3: Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.
Step 3: Add 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups birdseed to the gelatin and mix well. You can add more birdseed if necessary. (I used 2-1/2 cups—the original recipe calls for 1-1/2.) You want the mixture to be sticky but not soupy.
Step 4: Cover baking sheet with waxed paper. Place cookie cutters on sheet. Fill half full with birdseed mixture and press mixture firmly with spoon.
Step 5: Press the knotted end of the twine into the birdseed. Fill the cookie cutter to the top with birdseed and press mixture firmly.
Step 6: After several hours, gently remove cookie cutters. Allow cakes to dry for 72 hours, flipping once or twice each day.
Step 7: Once cakes are completely dry, hang for the birds to enjoy! (And no, my butterfly cake isn't deformed ... it was windy and cold outside, the butterfly was swaying in the breeze, and I only had the patience to take one picture.)
Yield: Four large birdseed cakes
This project is really simple, and though it requires some patience while you wait for the birdseed to dry, the actual time spent working on it is less than 30 minutes. I think it's worth it! (Now I just hope I see some birds partaking of their treat!)