the songbird pattern is in the shop and a free tutorial : how to make a realistic bird foot

sewing pattern for a textile songbird

The songbird PDF pattern is in the shop.

Get the PDF digital pattern here and the booklet version here.

It has more than 100 color photos and detailed instructions.  You need basic sewing skills and some patience if you are a beginner.

stitched songbird in a tree

textile songbird in prospect park

hand stitched songbird - back

And to celebrate the instructions for making a realistic bird leg are below. I hope you make songbirds!

How to make a realistic bird leg with wire:

You can use any gauge wire you like, I think that 19 gauge soft annealed wire is the easiest to work with and provides enough stability for the legs. You can build up the thickness of the legs and feet by adding additional layers of floral tape.

how to make a realistic bird leg - step 1

1. Gather the wire, floral tape, hammer, pliers and cutters, ruler and a surface to hammer on, I’m using a little anvil but any very hard surface will do.
Cut 2 –  12 inch lengths of wire.

how to make a bird leg - step 2     how to make a realistic bird leg - step 3    2. Hold the wire with the pliers 1 and 1/2 inches from one end.
3. Bend the wire forming a loop.

how to make a realistic bird leg - step 4     how to make a realistic bird leg - step 5
4. Hold the loop just past where the wire crosses with the pliers. Bend the long end of the wire so it is perpendicular to the loop.
5. Wrap the long end of the wire around the short end behind the loop. Wrap as tightly as you can, keeping you fingers very close to the wrapping.

how to make a realistic bird leg - step 6     how to make a realistic bird leg - step 6
6. Place the wire on a hard surface and tap firmly with the hammer to flatten the wire wrapping. This will help the wrap hold in the next step.
7. Use wire cutters to snip the loop in the middle.

how to make a realistic bird leg - step 8     how to make a realistic bird leg - step 9
8. Separate and straighten the two front wires with your pliers.
9. Hold the wire 3 and 1/2 inches from the foot.

how to make a realistic bird leg - step 10     how to make a realistic bird leg - step 11
10. Bend the wire over towards the front.
11.  As you bend guide the end of the wire between the toes and press the length towards the front of the leg.

how to make a realistic bird leg - step 12     how to make a realistic bird leg - step 13
12. As you reach the foot bend the end up between the toes and continue to press the folded wires together.
13. Use the pliers to squeeze the bend at the top and press the wires more closely together.

how to make a realistic bird leg - step 14     how to make a realistic bird leg - step 15
14. Starting just above the foot use floral tape to tightly wrap the wires together. Wrap all the way to the top of the leg.
15. Trim and straighten the toes and wrap the top of the foot, pressing the bent wire to the wrapped wire tightly. Use your pliers to straighten and trim the toes if necessary.

how to make a realistic bird leg - step 16     how to make a realistic bird leg - step 17
16. Shape the toes with your pliers and wrap with floral tape. Add more layers of tightly wrapped tape if you would like more thickness.
17.  And finally add a little bend to the leg about an inch above the foot.

Finish the leg with paint, I mix about one part craft or acrylic paint with 3 parts wood glue. It makes a hard surface and you can paint on several layers letting the dry in between to build up the surface.

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realistic bird foot diy


  1. This is great! I’ve made bird feet a couple of ways but never tried florist tape.

    Once the paint/glue mixture dries you don’t have any problems with it being tacky?

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I love and often use your older one that’s for 2-toed feet with floral tape covering, but just couldn’t figure out how to get 3 toes! I’ve literally lay in bed before sleeping, trying to figure it out in my head…and only fell asleep. Now that you are showing it, I can’t believe how easy it is to get that extra toe, but I’m sure i’d never have thought of it. I’m off to make some. You’re a star!

    • That third toe method is brilliant! Thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Lois, it kept me awake too! And i tried so many complicated things that failed. The answer was so simple!

  3. Majena Mafe

    Thank you so much my bird legs are looking good but I’m having trouble getting them into the bird body and then balanced so the bird stands up on them … any tips please greatly appreciated … should I glue them in?

    • Hi Majena – I don’t use glue but I do have a method for a perfectly balanced bird with stable legs – it is in the pattern. It involves how the body is sewn as well as inserting the legs.

  4. Thank you Ann, for the bird pattern and wonderful leg instructions! This will certainly ease the frustration of enforced idleness post surgery and challenge the little grey cells!!

  5. Ro Rainbird

    This is for me as my surname is Rainbird! Will make bigger wings. Wish me luck ; unless you could make a “a little help” with this!!!

  6. Merci pour cette explication très claire qui simplifie tous les essais que j’ai pu faire…. Cela me servira un jour, très certainement….

  7. Thanks for the great songbird pattern and legs tutorial! I’ve managed the bird and beak but am struggling with the legs. Mine don’t look like yours! I will keep trying, though. May be because I am using electrical tape (it’s a bit tacky) instead of Flora. I wanted to use all recycled materials but may go ahead and get that florist tape tomorrow. ;-))

  8. Hi Cathy,

    So glad you’re enjoying it and yes – electrical tape will not work well. The floral tape is super soft and thin and forms tightly around the wire.

    Good luck!


  9. Thank you! You are so generous with sharing things like this.

  10. Good to use the final coating of paint and wood glue because without it the floral tape disintegrates.

  11. Nostress

    I love the pattern so much, making it with old clothes from my little brother, he had Down syndrome and passed away at the afe of 62.5 years old, just one year ago. 27 of juli 2017
    So happy that I can make a songbird to remember him by for my brothers and sister and for his nieces. He was such a nice guy and so beloved. We miss him so much.
    I will thank you for the pattern, I bought it in the Etsy shop and it is worth every penny.
    The pattern is very clear and I am learning a loth of my first.
    It is from his old jeans and pieces of three of his blouses..
    Thank you again for making it possible for me to make my memory birds for my brother.
    Greetings from the Netherlands

  12. ljubovdrobnjak

    Looks perfectly. I want to do the bird. Can I pay the lesson of Western ?

  13. ljubovdrobnjak

    Looks perfectly. I want to do the bird. Can I pay the lesson of Western Union ?

  14. Sassy pritchard

    Thanks for the pic tutorial Ann! I have made wool felted birds but have had a very hard time with the feet. This helps a lot!

  15. Great instructions in pattern. I’ve made 8 so far. Any tips on color or pattern suggestions? Mine look kind of boring. Made all solid, mix of print and solid, all prints. They are either garish or dull. The colors on birds don’t translate well for me in fabrics. Thanks

  16. Kimberly Rose

    Oh Ms. Wood you just made my day! Your bird foot technique is perfect! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  17. Hi, great tutorial on making the bird legs but I am struggling with putting them into the bird. The wire keeps bending a d it wont go in. Any tips please????

  18. Thank you Ann. Just what I was looking for!
    Couldn’t be more perfect

  19. Ann Mellows

    Dear Ann, like many others I’ve struggeled with making bird legs. Yours is such a wonderful, simple and clear way. You are a star.
    Thank You. Ann Mellows

  20. Christine

    Thankyou for this other commentors i too struggled with that 3rd toe now its so easy..n the finish with acrylic n glue sounds great..ivd been using nail polish but it dries a bit shiny so thats a great help thankyou..x

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