Free Upcycled Bird for Canary Craftivists

04 Jun Free Upcycled Bird for Canary Craftivists

Do you enjoy craft? Are you worried about global warming? Join our climate craftivism ‘gentle protest’: Canary Craftivists and channel your concerns into a beautiful handmade yellow canary encouraging the UK Government to be bold hosts of world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (known as COP26) this November in Glasgow to tackle global warming faster and at a larger sale before it’s too late. All information on the campaign an be found here.

How to make a Craftivist Canary from scraps to gift to your Member of Parliament (MP) to encourage them to be do more and faster to tackle the climate crisis. Finished Size:Approx.18cm x 6cm x 5cm. Created by Barley Massey: Upcyclist Teacher, Crafting Community Founder/Caretaker of ‘Fabrications‘ craft shop, studio and workshop venue.

Step 1

Print and cut out the template provided and pin onto your ‘base cloth’ which you want to fold in half as to cut 2 fabric canaries at once. NB: The template does not include seam allowance; I marked an additional 1cm seam allowance onto my cloth around my template.

Step 2

With your 2 cut fabric canary shapes, you can now decorate / add your feathers. I used small strips of scrap fabrics and ribbons and frayed them up to give feathery effect. Although I used a sewing machine stitching for my protype, I would recommend hand sewing which encourages us to slow down and create space for our #CrafterThoughts

Build up your feathers in rows starting from the tail, working up the body of the bird, organised roughly 1cm in from the edge to avoid the seam area. I also stitched on a beak at this point.


At Craftivist Collective, craftivism is more than just the making and the final creation; it’s about the thought behind the action. The mindful activism that connects our hands and hearts with our heads gives us the courage to grapple with big issues through deep contemplation. We’ve got an affectionate term for the thoughts that influence our craftivism at every stage. These ‘crafter-thoughts’ are vital little things. They’re seeds from which our learning and understanding of the world grows. Each one we jot down empowers us to be more effective in all that we do. Why not help make the world a better place one stitch at a time by using craft as a way to engage people in global issues to think, act and be the change they wish to see in the world.

Use the slow stitch-by-stitch nature of craft to help you consider the complexities of injustices. The crafter-thoughts linked to our #CanaryCraftivists campaign are listed below. More about them in our campaign page here 

1. What do you enjoy about your favourite green space in your area? 

2. Where do you think you might be able to reduce your own carbon emissions to protect our world?

3. Imagine you are a politician: how would you feel about receiving a beautiful, handmade yellow canary from a constituent? 

Step 3

You can keep your canary 2d and add a hanging loop or to make a 3d version – pin ‘right sides’ together and machine or hand stitch using a ‘back stitch’ with a 1cm seam allowance all around the canary form, leaving an opening of about 5cm on the top of the canary so that you can turn through.

Step 4

Using your fingers followed by a blunt knitting needle or similar, to gently tease out the shapes (the tail is a bit tricky) to reveal your canary. I did not mind that some of the feathers got caught in the seam, but you can also give a little pull or cut away to free from the seam if you choose. Additional feathers and details such as eyes can be added by hand (this can also be done once stuffed)

Step 5

To stuff I used a blunt knitting needle to push in Kapok toy stuffing, but you might also recycle an old cushion pad or pillow or use fabric scraps. 

Step 6

For the legs/feet, I opened a few stitches using a seam ripper in 2 areas and fed garden wire through, so that the ‘loop’ part remains inside the canary. I cut enough wire so that I could twist the wire into feet and around the legs to strengthen (later I needed to tweak the feet and legs to enable my canary to stand up!) 

Step 7

Once happy with the form, hand stitch the opening closed. I used a ‘slip stitch’ for a neat finish.

For all the vital information you need to take part in this climate craftivism ‘gentle protest’ campaign please go to #CanaryCraftivists campaign page here.

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