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Homemade Bird Feeders

Updated on September 11, 2016
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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Homemade bird feeders are easy to make and can be a fun project for kids and adults of a wide variety of ages. Enjoy putting together homemade bird food as well as feeders made from recycled objects, such as soda bottles, and readily available materials to create unique bird feeders that will serve your local wildlife community. As you can often use materials that you already have on hand or that you can easily acquire, this is a relatively inexpensive project that comes together quickly in a day or over a weekend.

There are so many great occasions to make feeders and to give homemade bird feeders as gifts.

 
Just a Few Possibilities
 
Mother's Day
Father's Day
Christmas Gifts
Teacher Gift
Sunday School Project
Preschool/Day Care Project
Art Class Project
Rainy Day Activity
Grandparent Gift

How to: Homemade Bird Feeder

Bird Seed or Bird Food Feeders

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You can mix and match many of these tutorial ideas. Put one recipe with a different type of container or mold.

Many people are familiar with the classic peanut butter filled pine cone bird feeder. There are a number of variations on this simple concept as well as other homemade bird food recipes that do not require a dedicated bird feeder. Alternatively, you can often offer this bird food in a simple, multiple purpose container that you already have on hand, such as the one pictured on the right, instead of having to make or purchase something new.

  • Gelatin and bird seed. Did you know that you can mix gelatin and bird seed? This bird seed recipe is available in tons of different places online. You learn something new every day. The heart is really sweet, but of course you can use another cookie cutter shape, too. This gelatin bird seed post uses Mason jar lids and star shaped cookie cutters.
  • Are you looking for even more shape ideas? Create a large wreath, Easter eggs, and bird seed trees with the gelatin recipe.
  • Gelatin and bird seed take 2. This variation includes flour and corn syrup, which may give your bird seed a better shape.
  • Ice cream cone. Cover an ice cream cone with peanut butter and bird seed. You can also apply the same concept to half a bagel.
  • Orange half. Fill half of a hollowed out orange with bird seed to make a feeder.
  • Paper cup mold and a mesh bag. Martha Stewart has a recipe for bird seed that you can pour into a paper cup and then place in a mesh bag to hang from a tree.
  • Peanut butter and cornmeal. Mix peanut butter and cornmeal with bird seed for this feeder.
  • Use a straw to create a string hanging hole. Take the brilliant tip from Little Wonders' Days of inserting a straw through the bird seed shape where you want to thread your string or other hanging material. Cut a single straw into smaller pieces for multiple bird seed shapes.
  • Cereal. This blog post is not in English, but the concept is pretty self-explanatory. You can create a string of cereal to hang as a bird feeder.
  • Bacon or beef fat suet. Combine bird seed with leftover meat fat and dried berries to create a unique bird suet. I love the idea of using mini baking molds to shape the bird seed.
  • Decorative suet ball. Use a vine ball and some suet cakes to create a different type of beautiful suet bird feeder. This is a great gift option.
  • Build an edible bird house. Take the gingerbread house concept and consider what birds would like to eat.
  • Yogurt cup. An empty yogurt cup makes a great mold for a bird seed recipe.

How to Make Homemade Baby Bird Food

What can you use to hang a homemade bird feeder?

Just a Few Possibilities
Twine
Ribbon
Rope
Yarn
Metal Chain
Wire

Recycled or Repurposed Bird Feeders

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Tip: If you make a hummingbird feeder, make sure that some part of it is red to attract the birds!

As part of the larger trend for creating art out of recycled or re-purposed objects, many people choose to use recycled items to construct bird feeders. You can fill these feeders with purchased or homemade bird seed. Consider the birds in your particular area and what will be best for them.

  • Glass Light Globes. Turn old light globes into bird feeders.
  • Juice Bottle. You'll need a drill and some basic hardware to make this bird feeder, but it is a pretty straightforward process. The author decorate her feeder with fabric and ric rac but of course you can customize your decorations any way you like or leave the feeder plain.
  • Take the juice bottle one step further with a wooden platform for it. You can adjust this idea for different sized bottles as well.
  • Milk Carton or Jug. Marissa has a great tutorial with a video and photos for making a bird feeder out of an old milk carton or jug. Her kids did a great job decorating their milk jug before they put it out for the birds. You can use a plastic carton like Marissa does, or a paper carton.
  • Pumpkin. When you've finished with your Halloween pumpkin, cut it in half and turn it into a bird feeder. You can do this on a smaller scale with a medium or little pumpkin as well.
  • Large Soda Bottle. A two liter soda (or pop for those of you who prefer) bottle easily transforms into a bird feeder. Check out this neat variation with a split soda bottle, too.
  • Slinky. How inspired is this? You can turn an old slinky into a feeder! This is not a tutorial, but the concept is pretty self explanatory. The slinky is perfect for larger feed or other bird food, such as peanuts.
  • Toilet paper or paper towel tube with peanut butter. Take a twist on the pine cone idea with an empty towel or toilet paper tube. Cover it with peanut butter and then roll it in bird seed. You can slide one of these rolls right on a tree branch or you can punch a hole in one end and attach a string to hang it. Check out this fun paper tube variation with stick branches for perches.
  • Tupperware and Bottle Hummingbird Feeder. There are a number of hummingbird specific ideas out there. This one is easy to construct out of a small square Tupperware container and an empty Gatorade or similar sized plastic bottle.
  • Vintage Tea Cup and Saucer. I had no idea that this idea was so popular until I started researching this topic, but apparently a lot of people like to turn vintage tea cups into bird feeders. Who knew? If you don't have already have a tea cup and saucer on hand that you want to use, keep an eye out at garage sales or thrift stores. I highly recommend taking the author's suggestion to use E6000 to ensure a sturdy feeder.
  • Water bottle with wooden spoons. Take the plastic recycled bottle one step further with wooden spoons that serve as perches for the birds.

Inexpensive Homemade Feeders

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There are a handful of tutorials out there for bird feeders that are not made of recycled or re-purposed materials but are still inexpensive and easy to put together.

Homemade Bird Feeder

© 2012 Rose Clearfield

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    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's awesome, Cassy. :) I'm sure that the local hummingbirds would enjoy it. Once you got a feeder going, it wouldn't be too much work to keep up with it.

      Thanks so much, bridalletter!

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 

      6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      I love recycle, reuse ideas. Wonderful hub full of options for the birds.

    • CassyLu1981 profile image

      CassyLu1981 

      6 years ago from Spring Lake, NC

      I need to make a hummingbird feeder. I planted some flowers out back that they just love and I need to get pictures of them. I think a feeder is an easier way to do that! Thanks for the ideas :) Voted up and shared!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, maggs!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 

      6 years ago from Sunny Spain

      What a lovely hub full of great ideas and how to put those ideas into practice I enjoyed this hub very much thank you for sharing :D

      Voting up and hitting buttons on my way out.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much, zsobig!

    • zsobig profile image

      Sophie 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Lovely hub with nice pictures and great ideas!

      Voted up and useful!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      aviannovice, it's great to re-purpose things as you can.

      Yvonne, good luck with your new feeders this year!

      Julie, awesome. :) Thanks!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      6 years ago from Clinton CT

      Andrew wants to make one..I'm going to share this on his facebook wall!!

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      In the past we've used an old plastic water bottle with a hole cut in one side, but there are so many more creative ideas here that come the winter I think we will give them a go. We get lots of birds in our garden in the winter, but always need to put feeders in places that are awkward for the cats as there are several in the area, including our 2.

      Great hub with really interesting ideas.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It is always a good idea to repurpose things, especially for something as useful as this. It keeps so much trash out of our landfills, and does something so good for the birds.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much!

    • TripleAMom profile image

      TripleAMom 

      6 years ago from Florida

      This is great. Love birds and to make feeders and houses. Voted up.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Josh! I don't think that all birds are attracted to red, but it sounds like hummingbirds definitely are. I'm glad that you enjoyed the pictures and information!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      That's awesome, Bill! That's great that your kids loved the project. It's awesome to know that it really works, too.

      Thanks, greeneryday! You're absolutely right about both using recycled materials and mixing bird seed with other ingredients.

    • josh3418 profile image

      Joshua Zerbini 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Rose,

      Awesome craft project! Your information is very useful, and you presented it great! I had no idea birds were attracted to red and those pictures you found of sample feeders were awesome! Great how to hub Rose!

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 

      6 years ago from Some tropical country

      Very creative idea, using recycle materials to make bird feeders, also I never know that we can mix bird seed with so many other ingredients. Voted up for interesting!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      OMG, Rose, a craft idea I have actually done! After seven months on HP I finally read a craft project I am capable of doing! This is so cool! We did this as a project for our school garden when I was teaching in Oregon and the kids loved it and they really work.

      I can't tell you how excited I am to see this hub!!!!!!!

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