100 Year Old Patterns for Making Paper Birds

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Tuesday, July 11, 1911: Sorry, but I must have forgotten.

Red Winged Blackbird

Bluebird

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Today’s entry should be subtitled “Lucy Wants a Friend”. Let me explain–

It’s wonderful to have my college-student daughter (and her parakeet named Lucy) home for the summer. Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, at dinner I was pondering about what to write: Should I insert a recipe? . . . write about gardening or farming? . . . or I’d seen directions for making paper birds in a 1911 issue of Good Housekeeping; maybe I could write about that.

My daughter immediately said, “Let’s make birds. Lucy needs a friend.”

So today’s topic was decided—and my daughter and I had some quality time together. I don’t think we’d made any paper crafts in at least 15 years and it brought back wonderful  memories of making crafts when she was little.

(It’s truly awesome how preparing and posting Grandma’s diary entries can bring together multiple generations.)

Lucy now has a friend!!

Now here are the abridged directions for making a paper bluebird and a red winged blackbird that was in the April 1911 issue of Good Housekeeping:

Supplies Needed

Colored paper

Pencil

Scissors

Paste or glue

Crayons

Colored pencils

Thin white paper for tracing (optional)

Click here for the patterns for the birds and then print. Cut the patterns out.

(In the old days people didn’t have printers or copying machines so they’d trace the pattern out of the magazine using thin paper.  If you’d like to be really authentic you can make the pattern by putting thin paper over the sheet with the outlines; trace; and then cut out the pattern that you created on the thin sheet of paper. Save the original sheet to make additional patterns in the future. )

To Make Red Winged Blackbird

1.  Lay the bird body, wing, and stand pattern pieces on a piece of black paper, trace, and cut out. Trace the shoulder feathers on red paper.

2.  Paste the red shoulder feathers on the wings, and then fold the wings where they join along the dotted line and cut a short slit where the solid  line is on the pattern.

3. Make a circle for the eye with a white crayon. In the center of the white circle put a yellow dot. Use pencil to draw the beak. (Do on both sides of bird.)

6. Bend out the lower part of the stand, then glue the upper part of the stand to the upper part of the stand on the bird.  This will give a stand of double thickness and with a bend out to each side will hold the bird up as firmly as two strong legs.

7. Now fit the wings on the back of the bird. Slide the slit in the wings into the slit in the bird and stand bird up.

To Make Bluebird

1.  Lay the pattern pieces of the bluebird on a piece of blue paper, trace, and cut out.

2. Using crayons make the breast and throat of the bird a yellowish red. Use a white crayon to make a whitish spot just under the tail. (Color both sides of the bird.)

3. Use a black pencil to draw straight lines on the tail to make it look like feathers. (Do on both sides of the bird.)

4. Draw a round ring for the eye with a red pencil and put a black dot in the middle of the ring. Make the beak black with the soft-lead pencil. (Do on both sides.)

5. Draw straight lines on the wing piece to make it look like feathers.

6. Bend out the lower part of the stand, then glue the upper part of the stand to the upper part of the stand on the bird.  This will give a stand of double thickness, and with a bend out to each side will hold the bird up as firmly as two strong legs.

7.  Now fit the wings on the back of the bird. Slide the slit in the wings into the slit in the bird and stand bird up.

An aside: The directions in the old magazine called for colored paper, crayons, and colored pencils. I was surprised that these items were widely available a hundred years ago—but they apparently have been around longer than I had thought.

10 Responses

  1. Aww…Lucy’s cute! ;-)

  2. [...] Paper birds Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed 18 Ideas for Reducing Waste [...]

  3. I had my very own Lucy as a kid but her name was (what else) “Tweety”, she’d sit on the edge of my cereal bowl and help herself..your little Lucy is a cutie pie!

    • Parakeets are amazing birds. I always look forward to my daughter coming home with Lucy from college on vacations. They both are a lot of fun. :)

  4. […] Patterns for Making Paper Birds […]

  5. Oh… I love the paper craft Sheryl and how wonderful to have that special time with your daughter :-)
    Lucy is as sweet as… You say she’s a parakeet but looks very much like the bird we Australian’s keep as pets and call them “budgies” which is short for “budgerigar”… Same bird, different name, I’m thinking ? …

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