Introduction: How to Build a Finch Bird Feeder

Picture of How to Build a Finch Bird Feeder

I was in a bird store to buy a finch feeder. I saw one for about $20, but immediately thought, 'I can make this, and probably for less.'

So I tried, and sure enough, for a cost of about $5 and 20 minutes work, I made one that looks better than the 'professional' model. Here's how I did it.

Step 1: Buy the Parts

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It just so happened that next door was a TAP Plastics store. In there I found something called a Tube-Pak. It is a clear plastic tube with a red cap on either end. I chose one 18" long and 2" in diameter (cost: $3.50). Then I found some cool 1/4" colored acrylic rods ($3.45). I chose purple. Now it's time to build.

Step 2: Measure Holes

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First I marked where I wanted to drill holes for the rod. I started 2" from the bottom and then marked every 4". Then I turned the tube 90 degrees and did the same thing again, but started 4" from the bottom.

Step 3: Drilling Hole

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Next I drilled 1/4" holes all the way through the tube at each of my marks.

Step 4: Drill Small Holes

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Now I need to mark the holes for feeding. I drilled 1/8" holes 2" above each of the big holes I just drilled. Because the seed needs just a bit more room to get out, I lengthened the holes just slightly by pulling the tube sideways while the drill was running. This created an oval hole.

Also drill a 1/8" hole through the tube just below the top cap. The wire hanger will attach here.

Step 5: Cut Rod

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I cut the rod to 6" length, using a band saw. A hacksaw would also work.

Step 6: Insert Rods

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Push the rods through the 1/4" holes. The fit is tight enough so glue is not needed.

Step 7: Make Hanger

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To hang the feeder, use a wire coat hanger. Cut a straight piece about 13" long. Bend it into a 'U' shape. Then bend the ends 90 degrees.

Step 8: Attach Hanger

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Slip the bent ends into the two holes at the top of the feeder and bend them up further so they don't come out.

Step 9: Finished Product

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You're done! Buy some Thistle seed and enjoy some backyard wildlife.

Check out the free videos at for more ideas.


Robo Brickie (author)2014-10-19

Anyone know of a similar product to Tube Pak in the UK?
Thanks for reading

fw2000 (author)2009-06-25

thistle seed is very tiny and the finch beak is very thin. try using 1/16" bit and make slots 1/4" long running top to bottom. Now for the show - the finch is the only bird known to hang upside down and eat. Make your slots under the perch instead of above. No other birds will eat at this feeder.and it is awesome to watch them land, swing over, and eat.

conradhop (author)2009-02-25

I just discovered something about this feeder that is different from the store bought ones. The store bought ones get filled from the top. So, the seed at the bottom just sits there and gets old and soggy. I fill this feeder from the BOTTOM so the oldest seed is now at the top and always gets eaten first. I never have old seed to clean out of the feeder. Very cool.

canida (author)2008-12-02

Looks great! I had no idea those feeders were so easy. Is there a specific kind of seed that should be used with this type of feeder, and do you need to change hole size for other seeds? We're big fans of TAP Plastics - you're our source for most of the plastic we use on internal projects! Thanks for posting.

tap guy (author)canida2008-12-02

This feeder is designed for Thistle seed, also known as Nyjer seed. It is a very tiny elongated seed, so it works well with the small holes. This seed is chosen to attract colorful finches, whereas regular bird seed attracts the more common, less colorful birds. Larger seed, such as sunflower, requires larger holes, and then the seed would be prone to fall out.

AndyGadget (author)tap guy2009-01-31

A few of weeks ago I modified a normal feeder for nyjer seed and put it up near my other bird feeders and watched hopefully for a feeding visit from the goldfinches which we've seen passing through. Nothing, then I remembered something about birds responding to the colour red. I outlined the main feeding slot and smaller holes with bright red indelible pen and a couple of hours later a goldfinch stopped by and gorged himself for ten minutes. Half an hour later and he must have told his mates because we had a charm of 8 goldfinches around the feeder. I haven't counted 8 since, but there are usually some around in ones and twos. Gorgeous little birds, but very aggressive in their feeding. They will see off any other nearby bird.

njdjs (author)2009-01-17

Only thing for me is I live where its hot and the sun beats on the feeder so I need one that the plastic has UV in it so the sun don't kill it. But for the shade areas this is a great idea I wish I had some shade to put some in I would make a bunch.

conradhop (author)njdjs2009-01-22

Use Acrylic tube for the feeder and it will be totally UV resistant. Acrylic lasts forever outdoors. The bird perches are already acrylic, so they are fine.

AndyGadget (author)2008-12-02

In the UK, you'll attract goldfinches with nyjer seed - they love it. BTW, the collective noun for goldfinches is a 'charm'.

conradhop (author)2008-12-02

You're right. It took me less than 1/2 hour to make, and it works!

About This Instructable




Bio: TAP Plastics has been providing customers with unique fiberglass, plastic and related products since 1952. We specialize in fiberglass resins and fabrics for fiberglass repair ... More »
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