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Weave a Dolls House Scale Miniature Wicker Bird Cage From Wire and Thread
Make this dollhouse scale miniature bird cage easily from thread and wire, using the same two basic weaves as the other scale miniature basket projects. The regular weave for the base, sides, and doors using pairing, or twining, while the heavier decorative weave at the base and top of the sides is made with a three rod wale.
As shown in the instructions it is woven with white thread over white wire to make a bird cage for doves for a wedding scene, or plants for a conservatory. It can also be made from beige or brown thread and wire to resemble woven willow or wicker, or made of colored thread and wire and hung on a stand to become part of a woven suite for a porch or sun room.
Instructions are available for making tiny white doves or pigeons for the bird cage.
The next step in this tutorial has a list of the materials you will need to weave the tiny bird cages.Continue to 2 of 15 below.
02 of 15
Materials Used to Make a Dolls House Scale Woven Bird Cage
To Make the Woven Dollhouse Bird Cage You Will Need:
- Fine Paper or Thread Covered Wire - I used roughly eighteen to twenty-four, eight-inch pieces of 28 gauge white thread wrapped wire, or about a twelve to fourteen-foot
- Crochet or Linen Thread - I used fine crochet cotton, but you can use unwaxed or waxed linen or linen embroidery thread or heavy quilting thread or button hole twist. Use at least three strands of linen embroidery thread or a mid weight crochet cotton, to avoid working rows and rows of ultra fine weaving.
- Wire Nippers - To cut wire to length
- Sharp Scissors
- PVA (white) Glue - to stop the paper or thread covering on the wire from unravelling.
- Cyanoacrylate (instant) glue - to hold the threads and wires in place on the top and bottom of the door and around the hanger.
- Bent Nosed Tweezers - To help adjust threads and wires.
- Acrylic Paint and Paint Brush - Use the same color of paint as the wire, in order to cover the cut wire ends at the top and bottom of the door.
NOTE: If you are weaving with white thread and wire, work with clean hands, and work over a clean white cloth or clean surface to avoid causing the wire to pick up dust or dirt as you weave
The next step shows how to set the base wire clusters to begin weaving the miniature bird cage.Continue to 3 of 15 below.
03 of 15
Set the Wires for the Base of the Miniature Bird Cage
To set the wires to make the base of the woven dollhouse bird cage, cut fourteen pieces of wire, eight inches long. Dip the ends in PVA glue to glue the thread or paper to the cut ends, and leave the wires to dry. Line up the ends of seven pieces of wire, with the wire flat and lying neatly together Take the other seven pieces of wire and lay them flat at right angles across the first set of wires so the centers of the groups cross over each other (see photo). Place a small amount of cyanoacrylate glue (quick or Krazy glue) on the wires at the join so that they will glue together. Set aside to dry.
Note: Be very careful to follow the directions for your cyanoacrylate glue, avoid breathing in the fumes, and do not soak the wires in glue, apply it sparingly.
The next step shows how to divide the wires into groups to begin weaving a circular base for the miniature bird cage.Continue to 4 of 15 below.
04 of 15
Divide the Base Wires Into Groups To Start Weaving the Bird Cage Base
When the wire bundles are securely glued together where the cross, and the glue has set, separate the wires into groups to prepare to weave the base of the bird cage. Take one wire from the left edge of the top bundle of wires that faces away from you and gently bend it to a 45 degree angle with the wires that cross it at 90 degrees. Take the other six wires and spread them evenly in groups of two, using them to fill in one quarter of a circle. Take the first wire on the left edge of the next group of the four groups of wires and bend it to a 45 degree angle between the groups of wires, bending the other wires in groups of two to evenly fill the next quarter of the circle. Continue to form the wires into the rays of a circle, pulling one wire off of each group, then dividing the other wires off in groups of two. (See Photo.)
When you have all the wires evenly fanned out from the glued center section, cut a three foot (1 M.) section of your weaving thread and loop it over a doubled set of wires to begin pairing or twining it around the wires. To work the pairing weave, the front thread goes over a set of wires, then under the next set, crossing over the thread that comes from the other side of the set of wires as it passes to the back. Pairing is like forming continuous figure eights around the rays of wires. (See Photo). Work the pairing tightly to the glued center section of the wires, keeping it to a circular shape. Work three to four rows of pairing depending on the thickness of your thread.
The next step shows how to finish weaving the base of the miniature bird cage over individual wires.Continue to 5 of 15 below.
05 of 15
Spread the Wire Base Into Single Rays and Continue Weaving
Fan the wires out into single rays and continue weaving tight rows of pairing to finish the base of the dollhouse scale bird cage. Continue weaving until the base measures up to one and 1/4 inches (3cm) across to make a 1:12 scale bird cage as shown. For larger birds (parrots, macaws, etc.) you will need a larger cage. This one is designed to mimic the 'show' cages used to release pairs of doves at weddings. When your base is the correct size, tie off or glue the ends of the weaving to hold them in place.
The next step in this tutorial shows how to turn up the wires and begin weaving the sides of the miniature bird cage.Continue to 6 of 15 below.
06 of 15
Turn Up the Sides of the Dollhouse Bird Cage
Take three roughly six to eight inch lengths of wire and use them to weave a row of three rod waling around the base of the bird cage to set the sides. To do this, turn the wire rays up at a right angle to the base of the bird cage and insert the new lengths of wire so that one length comes out between each of three wire rays (see photo). Some of you may find it easier to weave this row in reverse. To weave with three rod waling, the three 'rods' are brought out between three wire 'stakes' on the sides of the basket. The 'rod' on the farthest left (or right, depending on which direction you are going, in the photo above it would be on your right) is brought up and around behind the next 'stake' passing over the other two rods which are between it and the stake. The next rod is pulled up and passed over the stake two beyond it and so on, weaving a thick rope like border as shown. As you are working with wire over wire to weave this section, make sure you keep your base round, and you turn your 'stakes' on the side up evenly as you weave around them so that the spacing of your 'stakes' as the sides of your bird cage, will be even.
Weave one row of three rod waling all around the basket until all the 'stakes' are turned up for the sides of the basket. Trim the rods and tuck the ends into the row of waling to hide them and glue them in place if necessary.
The next step in this tutorial shows how to begin making the opening for the bird cage door.Continue to 7 of 15 below.
07 of 15
Weave the Bird Cage Side Base and Set the Door Supports
With the sides turned up and the 'stakes' of wire evenly spaced, work three or four rows of pairing completely around the sides of the bird cage as shown above. You want enough depth to form an edge for the base to keep your bird cage shape.
When you have the pairing worked evenly around the cage, take two three to four inch lengths of wire and insert them into the pairing beside two existing stakes, leaving five single stakes in between the doubled stakes as you can see in the photo above. These extra stakes will help to support and provide a hinge for the opening door on your bird cage. If your weaving is very tight, you may need to insert a darning needle down beside each of the stakes you want to double, in order to insert the new stake as far down into the side weaving as possible.
Once you have the extra 'stakes' inserted to mark the sides of the door, weave another row of three rod waling using wire instead of thread, all the way around the cage sides. Keep the stakes on the side of your cage straight, and treat the doubled stakes as a single stake while you use the row of waling to hold the stakes in place on the sides of the bird cage.
The next step shows how to weave the base of the bird cage door.Continue to 8 of 15 below.
08 of 15
Weave the Base of the Bird Cage Door
The following section will also be woven in pairing using thread, but this time you want to begin your weaving at the open edge of your bird cage door (the stake beside the doubled stake on the left of your door as you are looking at your weaving). Instead of weaving around the sides of the cage, you will loop your thread over the edge of the wire that makes the opening edge of the door, weave across the door and around to the doubled stakes that mark the door edge beside the opening door, and weave back around again, so that you do not weave continuously around the side of the cage. By weaving back and forth, instead of around and around, you will leave one edge of the door free of weaving so that it can be opened eventually. (See Photo.)
If you wish you can do as I did, and weave the base section of the door separately, except for a bit at the top where you weave a hinge that joins the door to the sides of the cage. As the weaving will naturally form a hinge (provided you leave one edge of the door free and don't weave around and around your sides) you don't need to weave the door base separately the way you can see in the photo. Just make sure one side of the door is not woven to the rest of the bird cage sides.
If this is confusing, see the next several steps to work out how the door is made and cut free to swing on the side.
The next step shows how to weave the center of the miniature bird cage door.Continue to 9 of 15 below.
09 of 15
Weave the Center of the Bird Cage Door
To strengthen the bird cage door, weave another section of pairing, approximately 1/4 inch up from the previous section as shown in the photo above. Weave this section the same way you did the last one, keeping one edge of the door free of weaving by turning your bird cage and weaving back across the side once you reach the opening edge of the door.
Cut Open the Door At the Bottom - When you have woven four or five rows of pairing, tie or glue your thread on the inside of the cage to finish the row. Carefully use the wire nippers or wire cutters (or kitchen shears) to cut the base of the door free between the first section of pairing that made the base of the cage, and the second set that made the base of the door (where you stopped going around, and started weaving back and forth across the sides of the cage).
Secure the Weaving on the Door - Carefully open your door and apply a bit of Cyanoacrylate glue to the wires of the door where they touch the weaving above the base of the door to hold the door panel secure. Some forms of CA glue will discolor white thread, so check that your brand is safe (or plan on touching up the glued areas with white acrylic paint when the glue is dry.)
Run a bead of Cyanoacrylate glue along the cut wire and woven edges below the open door edge on the base of the cage sides. When the glue is dry, carefully paint any exposed wire ends with a bit of acrylic paint to cover the wire.
Make the Latch - Loop a bit of scrap wire around the open door edge in the center of the door (center of the last bit of paired weaving) as shown in the photo above) Twist the wire and trim it to a length that will act as a door hook to close the door by latching over the doubled wire edge beside the door opening. Coat the trimmed edge of the twisted wire with acrylic paint or glue to secure the paper or thread covering the wire.
The next step shows how to finish the bird cage door by weaving the top.Continue to 10 of 15 below.
10 of 15
Weave the Top of the Bird Cage Door
The final step in weaving the bird cage door is to use the pairing or twining technique to weave the top of the bird cage door. To do this, make three rows of pairing across the top of the door, about the same distance from the middle weaving as the base is from the middle. Make sure you weave the top of the door over to the outside 'stake' of the double staked support for the door. This second stake will act as the support for the hinge made by weaving your three paired rows across the top of the door.
The next step shows how to finish weaving the sides of the miniature bird cage.Continue to 11 of 15 below.
11 of 15
Finish the Sides of the Dolls House Bird Cage
To finish the sides of the dolls house bird cage, set the door back into the closed position on the side of the cage and insert three eight inch pieces of wire between three stakes on the side of the cage to make two rows of three rod waling, the same weave you used to turn the bottom of the bird cage in step four. You will weave the three rod waling around and around the cage sides, just above the weaving you did on the door. Don't worry about keeping the door edge free, you will cut and glue it just like you did with the door base, once the two rows of waling are finished (See Photo). Leave a very slight gap above the pairing you wove with thread on the top of the door. The gap will make it easier to cut the door free when you have finished the waling rows.
The next step shows how to cut the birdcage door free of the frame so it opens and closes.Continue to 12 of 15 below.
12 of 15
Cut the Birdcage Door Free
When you have finished the waling rows tuck the ends of the wire used for waling up into the previous row of waling, gluing it in place if necessary.
Use the wire nippers or kitchen shears to cut the wires at the top of the door opening, cutting between the rows of pairing and the bottom row of the waling you wove around the top of the cage sides. (See Photo) Secure the pairing thread to the door wires with a bit of cyanoacrylate glue, and finish the cut edges of the wire with a bit of acrylic paint that matches the wires in color. Set the cage aside to dry before completing the final steps.
The next step shows how to trim the wires for the top of the bird cage.Continue to 13 of 15 below.
13 of 15
Trim the Wires For the Roof of the Scale Birdcage
To finish the cage, trim the wires that stick up above the cage sides to a length of 1 1/2 inches. If you made your birdcage larger than 1 1/4 inches wide, bend a wire to the center of the cage to determine the length you should cut your wires to in order to shape the roof the way you want it. (see photos in following steps)
The next step shows how to form the handle for the top of the bird cage.Continue to 14 of 15 below.
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Form the Handle for the Top of the Dollhouse Bird Cage
To form a handle or hanging hook for the top of your scale bird cage, take a scrap piece of covered or painted wire, just over one inch long. Fold the wire in half and form a loop at the bend. Twist the 'arms' of the wire together and trim the handle / hook to 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long.
Finish the cut ends with a bit of glue to keep the paper or thread covering from unraveling.
The final step shows how to finish the roof of the miniature bird cage.Continue to 15 of 15 below.
15 of 15
Finish the Roof of the Dollhouse Bird Cage
To finish the roof of your dolls house bird cage, gently bend all the remaining wires in towards the center of the cage. Use tweezers to adjust the wires so that they lay side by side instead of overlapping or crossing one another.
When you have the wires roughly bent to the correct spot, insert the handle piece into the center of the group of wires so that the handle opening is jut above the ends of the roof wires.
Bend a scrap length of wire (about 3 - 4 inches long) so that one end is roughly 1/4 inch long, bent at right angles to the rest of the wire. Lay the short end against the roof wires so that the end of the bend is just below the handle. Wrap the free long end of the wire around the roof wires near the bend, wrapping the wires tightly to the handle. Continue wrapping the wire up to the base of the handle. Trim the wrapping wire, and tuck it into the centre of the roof. Use cyanoacrylate glue to hold the ends of the wrapping wire securely to the roof.
Now that your cage is finished you can use it to hold small birds, or fill it with scale ivy or miniature plants.