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Upcycled Bird Feeder from Thrift Store Candle Holders

Updated on July 6, 2017

Thrift Shop Finds

Tea light cups, .45 cents each; small holders, .99 cents each; large holders for future garden project, $1.29 each
Tea light cups, .45 cents each; small holders, .99 cents each; large holders for future garden project, $1.29 each

Finding the Perfect Pieces

I had been trying to stay out of the thrift stores until we'd moved into our town home, however, something in me yesterday couldn't stay away. I'd seen this idea on Pinterest, and I wanted to try it myself, but with a little more pizzazz.

On Pinterest, the pinner used a regular old (five or six) tea light candle holder and nailed the piece to their privacy fence. What I wanted to do, was find multiple pieces for the backyard, while it being more bright, but also harder for the squirrels to obtain.

I walked into the thrift shop nearby (Family Thrift) and started picking through the home decor shelves. There they were, right before my eyes! Although I had to do a bit of untangling of metals, I found two sets of candle holders that I thought would be wonderful for our new backyard (small holders .99 cents each, large holders for herb garden project, $1.29 each) ! I even found some tea light cups (.45 cents each) to add to the first set of holders.

Where I got my inspiration
Where I got my inspiration | Source
I couldn't get rid of the lovely design work on these tea light cups!
I couldn't get rid of the lovely design work on these tea light cups!

1. Start Out with Cleaning the Product

To get an even coat of spray paint onto these, or anything else you try and upcycle, make sure to clean them off. There's no telling how long they sat somewhere gathering dust and grime. The ones I found still had melted candle wax that I scraped off before cleaning. Whether you could use soap and water, Simple Green, or anything else to clean these. Try to pick something that won't disturb original coating. If you choose to use a harsher chemical product, I'd advise you to use cleaning gloves.

Look at all the dust!
Look at all the dust!

Use Goo-Gone to Rid of Pesky Stickers

Pro tip: If you're having trouble removing tough stickers, Goo-Gone is an EXCELLENT product to make your job easier!
Pro tip: If you're having trouble removing tough stickers, Goo-Gone is an EXCELLENT product to make your job easier!

2. Choosing and Using the Spray Paint

If you're putting the product outside, make sure the spray paint you choose is either outdoor, or indoor/outdoor. This will help the color and paint LAST.

If you're spraying over a dark material, I'd advise grabbing primer OR getting a paint that is both primer and paint.I stopped into Michael's Craft Store and picked up some bright colors that caught my eye. They were Krylon indoor/outdoor paint & primer at only $6.99 a can.



Paint and primer; Indoor/outdoor
Paint and primer; Indoor/outdoor

3. Spray, Dry, and Marvel at Your Finished Product

I sprayed multiple coats over the holders just to make sure I got every inch of metal and choosing a bright colored paint made it easier for the dark spots I missed to "pop".


I originally was going to spray paint the whole tea light cup, but didn't want to rid of the beautiful design on the outside of the cup. Instead, I just sprayed the inside and let that dry too.

Look at that awesome pattern! Hope the birds appreciate this too!
Look at that awesome pattern! Hope the birds appreciate this too!

Make it Family Friendly

This project can be great for the whole family!


Since it IS Summertime, why not having the kids help too!? Get them off the couch and into the backyard. They can even pick out funky candle holders and help to add the bird seed into the cups!

Your garden will be livened up with bright colors and bird songs.

Some dripping may have occurred. I'm not a master sprayer!
Some dripping may have occurred. I'm not a master sprayer!

Final Product

To finish this project, I'm going to grab plant hanging hooks with brackets so that I can secure this to the fence in our new backyard.


Seeing as how we aren't moving until the 18th of this month, I can't post a final final photo, but I can tell you that I'm excited to update when we're there! Thanks for visiting and I hope this helps you liven your backyard as well! Post any pictures of yours in the comments!



Follow me on instagram @sassiieecassie

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