Introduction: Glass Dish Birdfeeder
At a craft fair a few months ago, my husband and I stopped at a booth selling bird feeders made out of old dishes. They were so cute and I fell in love immediately... until I saw the price. $65. Each.
AAACK! Not going to pay that much for some old dishes. So, like any good DIY-er, I figured out how to make them myself. Then I made one for each of my kids, my mom, my husband's parents, my sister-in-law, my niece, two (so far) for me...
Okay, I'm a bit obsessed. This instructable shows how you can make your own for about $10 - $15, depending on the cost of the dishes.
Step 1: Supplies
You will need:
- Old dishes. We shopped at thrift stores for these. Keep in mind that something you would not be caught dead using in your house might make a really cute bird feeder.
- A bowl works best for the top, 7-8 inches in diameter and no more than 3 inches deep. I used a plate with a deep rim for one of mine. Ceramic bowls with designs on the outside make great-looking feeders but can be hard to find. Clear glass dishes are really pretty too. They do not have to be round - I made a really cute one with an oval bowl. Just make sure that the inside bottom of the bowl is wide enough that the mason jar can sit flat inside.
- A plate is best for the bottom, at least 8 inches in diameter. I liked salad-size plates, but dinner-size works well too. Saucers are not big enough to hold the poultry feeder, and will not leave a rim for the birds to stand on.
- A mason jar poultry feeder. You can find these at farm supply stores for about $4 to $5.
- A one quart mason (canning) jar. These are available at a variety of stores, or check the thrift store while you're there, or ask Grandma for one of her old, chipped ones. Don't let her catch you sneaking one out of her house!
- Eye bolts, 1/4 in diameter by 1 1/2 to 2 inches long depending on whether your dish is curved very much on the bottom or has a ridge along the back. You'll also need the nuts that go with the bolt. I used two for each feeder, one for the top to hang it from and one on the bottom because I wanted to hang a little decorative butterfly from it. You could also use flat head bolts on the bottom if you want the feeder to sit on a table, as long as your plate has a ridge on the bottom.
- Washers. I used 1 inch washers with a 1/4 inch hole in the middle. You will need 4 per feeder. This holds a lot of the weight of the feeder, so a big washer is nice to have.
- Glass glue. This adds a bit more security to the whole structure.
- A drill.
- A diamond drill bit that is made for drilling holes in glass or ceramic, size 6 or 8 mm. This will help to make sure that you get nice neat holes and not shattered dreams... er, dishes. This is the one that we used:
- Water to cool the drill bit.
- If desired, a decorative element to hang from the bottom bolt. I used plastic butterflies that were purchased from Oriental Trading.
Step 2: Preparing the Dishes
First, dig up the compass from your high-school geometry class and use it to find and mark the center on the back of each dish, the mason jar, and the poultry feeder.
Step 3: Drilling
Using the drill and your fancy diamond drill bit, drill a hole in the place where you marked in each dish and the mason jar. Pour some water on before you start drilling to keep the glass from overheating and shattering. It helps to have a guide to hold the drill bit steady and in place. We just drilled a 1/4 inch hole in a piece of scrap wood to make our guide. You will need a couple of extra hands for this step. Grab your spouse, child, or a handy neighbor to help hold the guide in place while you drill.
You can use a regular 1/4 inch drill bit to drill a hole in the metal poultry feeder.
Step 4: Assembly
Wash and dry each of the components to remove the streaks left by the water and ground-up glass or ceramic.
Squeeze a bead of glass glue around the bottom outside edge of the mason jar.
Put a washer on an eye bolt. Place the mason jar in the bowl, bottom of the jar on the inside bottom of the bowl. Starting from the back side of the bowl, place the bolt through the holes in your bowl and the jar. The bolt acts as a handy guide to line the holes up!
Place another washer over the bolt on the inside of the jar, then screw on the nut. I used long forceps to do this step. DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN the nut. Your jar and/or bowl will break if you do.
Next, squeeze a bead of glass glue on the bottom of the poultry feeder and place on the top side of the plate, lining up the holes.
Place a washer over the other eye bolt (or flat head bolt, if using). Starting from the back side of the plate, place the bolt through the hole in the plate and then the hole in the poultry feeder. Once again, the bolt will help you line it up.
Place another washer over the bolt, then screw on the nut. Do not over tighten.
Step 5: Finishing
Allow the glue to dry.
Add a carabiner clip or a chain, or both, to the eye of the bolt for hanging purposes. If using, attach a decorative butterfly to the bottom eye bolt using thin wire or chain.
Fill the mason jar with bird seed, then screw on the poultry feeder. Hang up and enjoy watching the birds!
Step 6: Just a Few Others That I Made
What you use for your dishes depends completely on your taste and what you can find. These are a few of the other feeders that I made with dishes found at thrift stores. As you can see, there are different shapes and colors. The one with the square plate (shown pre-assembly) actually has an oval bowl for the top. You just need to make sure that the inside bottom of the bowl is large enough to allow the mason jar to sit flat.
Step 7: And the Birds Love Them!
Participated in the
First Time Author Contest