Monday, November 9, 2015

Making Bird Footies

 Here's one of my birdies, standing on his own two footies! When my son was little-that's what feet were called-footies.
 In this little tute I will show you how I make these wire feet. All the wording goes with the picture ABOVE it-just so you will not be confused.
 First-you will need wire. Either 18 or 20 gauge wire works well. Of course you can use smaller or larger, but these gauges work well for learning. Thicker wire is very hard to turn. You will also need needle nose pliers and a wire cutter.
 Here's my dove, Norton, looking at his own footies.
 Cut a piece of wire about a foot (hoho) long. Bend it so one side is about an inch longer than the other side. Crimp the bend with the pliers, not just your hands.
 Now crimp the wire into an 'M' shape, keeping that one end longer.
 This is the part that takes a little practice. Hold the wire close to the bends with one hand and twist the wire foot end, one toe at a time with the pliers. I always twist the pliers clockwise. Go the same direction for each toe.
 With a little practice, you get this.
 Remember that wire end that was longer? This will be the toe that birds have in the back of their foot. It is pretty useful for birds to balance with, and it makes your bird look more realistic.
 Bend that longer wire down to the foot like shown. You have about an inch of wire for that back toe.
 Now just twist it like you did for the other toes, holding it with one hand and using the pliers to twist the wires together clockwise.
 Then twist all the toes so they are forming  this shape-so the back toe is in the back. The leg can be straightened out with the pliers or your hands. I always insert the legs way into the bird body, making sure I have found the exact middle of the bird first, so he won't flop forward or backward. That just takes a little moving of the legs sometimes to get the correct spot for the legs. You can see my bird in the top photo has 'pants' over his legs. Most birds have pants on! It's little feathers and I think they also make the bird more realistic looking-but they will help hold the legs onto the bird securely. I always stitch around the 'pants and the wire hidden inside so I have a solid leg for the bird to stand on.
 One more tip about tools-if you use a needle nose plier with little marks on it like this-your wire will also have those marks, and it will damage the wire. Use smooth jawed tools like the one below.
I don't like using such long jaws to make the legs-shorter smooth ones are the best.
I found the directions for bird feet in an old Martha Stewart book-it was a general craft book. I'm so sorry-I do not have the reference, as it was a library book. It was written in the 1990's. But some of the above is just from my own way of making birds legs.
I hope this will be helpful!

6 comments:

Maywyn Studio said...

Great tutorial, Thank you!
This will come in handy for winter crafts.

Penny said...

Wonderful tutorial. Lots of info that others don't have. Thanks!

jenclair said...

I've tried making "footies" for birds before and never been pleased with the result. Thanks! ~This should make a difference~

jean said...

Thank you so much for your bird footie tutorial---I have had such a hard time making birdie feet, I stopped making birds, frustrated. Love your art and your blog.

susan hemann said...

thank you, love the dove Norton!!

Deborah Nolan said...

Now that is a super tutorial...love those birdie feet. Hugs!