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Homemade Bird Feeders

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

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

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

Don't have a good tree to hang a feeder? Consider using a planter display or trellis.

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

More Bird Feeder Resources

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.

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

More recycled craft resources from the author.

© 2012 Rose Clearfield

Comments

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 18, 2012:

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!

Brenda Kyle from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA on August 17, 2012:

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

CassyLu1981 from Spring Lake, NC on August 17, 2012:

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!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 08, 2012:

Thanks so much, maggs!

maggs224 from Sunny Spain on August 08, 2012:

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.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 05, 2012:

Thanks so much, zsobig!

Sophie from United Kingdom on August 05, 2012:

Lovely hub with nice pictures and great ideas!

Voted up and useful!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 05, 2012:

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

Yvonne, good luck with your new feeders this year!

Julie, awesome. :) Thanks!

Blurter of Indiscretions from Clinton CT on August 05, 2012:

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

Yvonne Spence from UK on August 05, 2012:

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.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on August 04, 2012:

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.

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 04, 2012:

Thanks so much!

TripleAMom from Florida on August 04, 2012:

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

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 04, 2012:

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!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 04, 2012:

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.

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on August 04, 2012:

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 from Some tropical country on August 04, 2012:

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!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 04, 2012:

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!!!!!!!