Tate Kids



Cut Out A Bird For Christmas

Tate Britain

The Idea

In December 2005 Tate Britain commissioned the artist Gary Hume to create its Christmas tree. Gary Hume usually works in gloss paint on enamel and his colours are frequently stunning. His images can be minimalist but his work has real impact. When he produced the Christmas tree for Tate he chose a traditional spruce tree and decorated it with a flock of hand-painted, stencil-cut blackbirds made from steel plate.

Mob, 2005, © Gary Hume, Photo: David Lambert and Rod Tidnam


The Plan

You are going to make a bird (or birds) for your own Christmas tree at home. If it isn’t Christmas you can still make your bird, of course. You could hang it like a mobile in your bedroom.


You Need

  • Card, scissors and glue.
  • One or more of: paints, crayons, coloured pencils, pastels or ink.

Do it!

  • Look carefully at the birds Gary has made. Notice how he has made the beaks and feet and where he has placed the wings.
  • Decide on the bird you want to make.
  • You could make a stencil* if you want to make several birds that are all the same, otherwise just draw the outline of your bird onto card.
  • Colour in your bird, adding feathery patterns or spots for decoration if you want to.
  • Hang your bird(s) on your Christmas tree.
* You can make a simple stencil by cutting out your first drawing on card and drawing around it each time to create another outline. You can decorate it too at the end if you like.

Top Tips

  • You might want to spend some time looking at the birds in your garden or the park before you choose the bird you want to make.
  • How about making an imaginary bird?
  • You could make a whole flock for your tree or perhaps ask each member of your family to make one bird to help build up a flock.
See It