Introduction: Easy Recycled Bird Feeder - Makes a Great Gift!

About: Hi! We're a family who loves to play, create & build together. Our boys are always looking for the next fun project to make.

On short notice, we were invited to a birthday party. The little boy loves to draw animals. So we quickly made this bird feeder and included a bag of bird seed. Now he can draw all the different birds he sees. In the Pacific Northwest(North America), this makes a wonderful (winter) rainy day activity. As with any Instructable, please take care utilizing power tools and/or cutting tools. If you build this, you do so at your own risk.


1 Half Gallon Cardboard Drink Container (Soymilk/Milk/Juice). Wash out with soapy water. Rinse thoroughly. Place upside down and let air dry completely. (I usually keep extra cartons on hand. You never know what handy craft can be made from them).

Pair of Bamboo Chopsticks (wash and dry if previously used)

1 Lanyard (We upcycled one that we got from summer camp). It’s great to reuse ones from events or trade shows too.
Duct tape (just to further reinforce the lanyard clasp to help squirrel-proof it).

Electric Drill with a 3/16” bit helps to create holes for chopsticks and the lanyard clasp. Basically, you want a bit slightly smaller than your chopstick circumference. (Then your cardboard will give a little and make a snug fit around the chopstick).

A Utility knife or Box Cutter (carefully by an adult)

Step 1: Cut Notches for Seed Access

Utilize a box cutter/utility knife. Carefully, cut a triangular notch starting 1” from the bottom. The top of the triangle point is about 1/2” tall. Make it big enough for the birds to grab seeds but not too big where it spills out too easily. There will be a seed notch on each corner above a perch. The beauty of cardboard is that it’s cheap/free, and if you make a mistake, the birds won’t mind. We just use duct tape to patch it, if needed.

Step 2: Drill Holes for Bird Perches and Lanyard Clasp

To help create holes for the chopsticks and the lanyard clasp, I used a 3/16” drill bit. Drill a hole (1/2” from the bottom and 1/2” from the left side). For balance and to allow multiple birds access to the seeds at one time, make another matching hole on the bottom right. Flip the carton over and do the same on the opposite side so the chopsticks can go all the way through to create four places to perch.

For the lanyard hole, we drilled into the top of the carton where it is double-thick cardboard (In the middle, about 3/8” down). Fasten on the lanyard clasp. Then reinforce and cover (where the lanyard attaches) with about 3 to 4 strips a duct tape. This will help keep the squirrels from the weakest spot of the feeder. It’s nice that the feeder naturally spins as a deterrent. However, the great feature of this feeder is the ease of replacing the carton. Our feeder usually lasts a season. If it does becomes squirrel damaged, merely get a new carton ready. Then reuse the chopsticks and lanyard from the previous one.

Step 3: Fill With Favorite Birdseed & Hang Up

We made this as a gift but also as a science project with our boys. We like to fill our feeders with Black Oil Sunflower seed. These seeds are especially good for colder weather. They have higher protein and fat. These seeds also have a thinner shell, making them more accessible to a larger variety of birds. We’ve enjoyed viewing nuthatches, jays, chickadees, juncos and finches so far. It’s fun for my boys to document the types of birds that are attracted. Also, for a science activity we note which birds feed only at the feeder versus those that only feed off the ground. Enjoy all the action! In winter, this is where the party is at.

*As with anything nowadays, please double check with your local bird conservation organization. They should be able to provide tips and/or advisories on what or what not to feed birds(if at all)*. My source for the United States of America was the Audubon Society

I think there is confusion as to which hemisphere I’m discussing. I’m talking about the Northern hemisphere not Southern. If in Australia or New Zealand, you have different birds and different regulations. Please check with

Step 4: Enjoy!

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