Feathering the Nest
By Marianne Lettieri
You can create beautiful, whimsical, and even thought-provoking nests with gutter screens from the hardware store and strips of any weaveable material. Let your personal aesthetic and interests be your inspiration.
Use these charming vessels to display a family photo, as individual place settings for a spring luncheon, or to hold a cache of papier-mâché eggs with your life goals written on them.
In the same way birds use whatever they can find to build their nests, feel free to choose materials from what you already have. Old silk neckties, scarves, luscious yarns, brightly colored fabrics, raffia, ribbon, lace, shiny audio tape, and small sticks are all possibilities. Think of interesting papers that can be shredded, such as foreign currency, sheet music, romance novel pages, even a copy of your master's thesis.
The only must-have is the correct gutter screen. The one you want is a simple bulb shape that retails for less than $5. I’ve had success with model #29059 manufactured by Amerimax Home Products.
- Gutter screen
- Paddle (florist) wire
- Utility scissors
- Wooden skewer or tweezers
- Gardening gloves
- Fabric, ribbon, fibers
- Embellishments (feathers, beads, buttons, flowers)
- Spray paint
2. Turn down—toward the inside—about 1/2” of the top edge.
3. Lace the open sides closed with paddle wire, looping the ends tightly to anchor them.
4. Spray paint the wire armature if you prefer a color other than the silver of the screen.
5. Cut or tear the fabric into 1”–2” wide strips. You will need about five 36”-long strips or ten 18”-long strips.
6. Starting at the bottom, and using a pointy stick, weave a strip of fabric in and out of the screen holes. Make the weave as tight or as loose as you desire.
7. When a strip ends, tie it to another of a different pattern and continue weaving. When the top of the nest is reached, begin looping the fabric strips over the top edge.
8. Add small fibers, ribbons, or shredded paper. Attach embellishments with paddle wire.