Decoupaged newspaper birds

Hello again, blog friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, but thanks to our current pandemic and limits on non-essential travel, I suddenly find myself with lots of extra at-home time, so I guess I’m back to blogging.

Last weekend I made a couple of decoupaged newspaper birds that turned out cute enough to share.

Here’s how the birds looked “before.”

These guys were part of a big bag of flocked birds that I bought at a thrift store for 99 cents back in the olden days — when we used to leave our houses and wander aimlessly through stores for no particular reason and end up purchasing random things that we didn’t need and would likely never look at again, barring the worldwide spread of a deadly virus that would leave us hunkered down in our homes for weeks on end. (Sigh.) I miss those days.

But I digress. Back to my birds.

I didn’t like the birds in their original state, but I thought they had makeover potential, and if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you know there’s nothing I like better than a good makeover. (Except for maybe a good thrift store.)

Deconstructing the birds

Before I could make over my birds, I had to scrape all their feathers and flocking off with the help of my trusty pink craft knife.

After I had the birds stripped, I decided to decoupage them with newspaper. Why newspaper? Because I’d decoupaged some plastic Easter chicks with newspaper a while back and I liked how they turned out. Plus, I had newspaper on hand.

Decoupaged newspaper birds: Materials and supplies

If you want to make your own decoupaged newspaper birds, here’s what you’ll need:

  • De-flocked/de-feathered plastic birds
  • Orange or yellow acrylic craft paint
  • Newspaper
  • Scissors
  • Matte finish Mod Podge (or watered down glue)
  • Small paintbrushes
  • Brads (for eyes)
  • Hammer

Begin with the beak

Once I had all my supplies rounded up, I painted my birds’ beaks with orange craft paint. My paint job was a little messy, but I knew it wouldn’t matter because I was going to cover everything up to the edge of their beaks with newspaper.

Next I cut a couple of newspaper pages up into strips and sorted the strips into bowls to keep similar looking strips (body copy, dark sections of photos, crossword puzzles, etc.) together.

Let the decoupaging begin

With the strips cut, I pulled out a bottle of matte finish Mod Podge and started decoupaging.

I worked in small sections, painting Mod Podge onto an area just big enough to cover with one or two strips of newspaper.

As soon as I had the strips placed, I put another coat of Mod Podge over the top of them and smoothed out any bubbles with my fingernails.

I made sure to overlap the strips a bit so there wasn’t any plastic peeking out.

Here are the birds with their bodies almost done.

Decoupaging the birds’ heads

To do the birds’ heads, I started by decoupaging up close to their beaks, trimming the newspaper strips at an angle so they would fit. Then I decoupaged a band of strips around the birds’ necks and worked my way up to the tops of their heads.

They definitely started to look cuter after I had their heads covered.

Making tail feathers

To make the birds’ tail feathers, I cut a bunch of feather shapes out of newspaper and folded them in half. Then I cut slits into the feathers.

Here’s what the feathers looked like when I unfolded them.

The birds both had slits in their backs where their original tail feathers had been attached. I slid their new newspaper tail feathers into the same spot.

To finish off the tail feathers and hold them in place, I spread some Mod Podge onto them. The Mod Podge coating also makes the paper a little stiffer and sturdier.

Eyes and wings

Next, I dug out some brads to use as eyes. (And yes, I actually had to hammer them in. These birds were made of some heavy-duty plastic.)

After that, I cut out a pair of wings for each of my little birds and coated them with Mod Podge.

I cut slits into the bottom of the wings to give them a more feather-y appearance. Then I attached the tops of the wings to the birds’ bodies with Mod Podge.

I left the bottom of the wings unattached to make them look a little fluttery.

Springtime decor

Here’s the birds’ eye view of my little birdies. Aren’t they sweet?

And here they are sitting on top of a cabinet in my dining room.

I feel like they have kind of a vintage vibe and fit in with the rest of my mostly black and white farmhouse decor. Plus, they’re spring-y without being obnoxiously sweet (as springtime decor can sometimes be).

I have to say I enjoyed the challenge of making these guys using just materials and supplies I had around the house. It inspired me to take stock of my crafts stash to see what I had on hand.

It looks like this lockdown will continue for a while, so hopefully I can use the downtime to do a little more crafting and blogging.


Decoupaged Newspaper Birds by Wisconsin Magpie

9 Replies to “Decoupaged newspaper birds”

  1. Hey Lisa, glad to see you back to blogging, love the birds. I have a huge stash of used postage stamps, maybe I will look around for something to decoupage them on. Thanks for the idea.

  2. HI Lisa, I found you via funky junk and I would never have believed what these birds looked like before. We have two Bernese mountain dogs so I try not to buy anything with real feathers that attract dog hair! These are too stinkin’ cute! Following you via bloglovin! Stay healthy and connected! laura in Colorado

  3. How sweet are these decoupage birds! I have a bag of those birds in my stash from one of my dollar store wanderings too. What a great idea! Pinned 🙂

  4. These turned out so cute! You have a lot of patience! I’ve been decoupaging Easter eggs off and on for the last several weeks and find I tire of it fairly quickly because of the frequent periods of downtime while the glued-on bits dry, but this project is tempting!

    1. Yes, these birds took longer than I thought they would, mostly because I was working with such tiny strips of newspaper, but also because I was kind of figuring out what they were going to look like as I went along. There was lots of trial and error that didn’t end up in the blog post. In the end though, I think they were worth the effort. 🙂

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