In my last post, I showed you my nest creations using chicken wire. Today, I’ll show you how easy these were to make.
I started with a narrow strip of chicken wire. The length and width are totally dependent on the size of nest you want. As I mentioned in the previous post, I used 1/2" hex, as opposed to the common 1" hex you find in the big box stores. For my nests, I cut this strip 18" long x 5-1/2" wide, which produced a nest with 5-1-2" diameter.
I cut the strip purposely with “V” shapes on one side, and the straight twists on the other.
Using needle nose pliers, bend all the straight twist ends in half, crimping each bend as flat as you can. This makes a nice-looking soft edge, without the sharp raw twisted ends sticking out.
Next, squeeze together each diamond shape closest to these bent ends, making them as narrow as possible. This will create a natural curve to the bent ends side.
Using as thin and pliable a wire as you can find, thread the wire over and under through these narrow diamonds. No need for a needle, just use your fingers or needle-nose pliers. Just like basting fabric, take the two ends of wire and pull them tight, which will gather all the bent ends together in a tight circle. This will force the whole piece into a tent shape, so make sure the sharp, raw part of the bent wires is facing inside the tent. Twist your threading wire a few times, cut off most of the excess, then crimp the remaining threading wire into itself to hide the sharp endings.
Using some more thin wire, join the 2 chicken wire ends together, so the “tent” has no “door”. Once you’ve made sure they are threaded tightly together, now you can begin to sculpt your nest into a bowl shape. That’s the fun part. If you are concerned about scratching your fingers on the “V” ends, wear gloves.
Now that your nest shape is done, at this point, you can decide whether you wish to paint or rust your wire. Now is the time to do it, because if you do it before this step, you risk ruining the finish with all the handling.
Begin lining the inside with your favorite moss or filler, making sure you add a generous amount all the way up above the “V’s”. Once that’s done, start folding the “V’s” down over the moss, and pinching them tight. This will hold the top edge of moss in place.
You can add more little bits of moss to the top edge of the nest to keep it looking imperfect and natural, or pull up some of the moss strands you wired
down to fluff them up. That’s it. You’re done! There’s really no need to attach the moss/filler in the center bottom, unless you think it will be disturbed by a lot of handling. If this is the case, you will want it to be as invisible as possible, so either use hot glue along the bottom wires, or tack patches of the moss to the basket using the threading wire again.
You can apply the same shaping technique to make your own cloches. The tidy gathered end will then accommodate a finial or handle quite nicely. I think that will be my next fun project. I just can’t get enough of this stuff! I know I’m not alone here……:)