Introduction: Upcycled Bird Feeder

I've been working a lot on my backyard for a while now. I have fruit trees, flowers and lots of different cacti.

All these plants attract butterflies and bees but no birds have shown up so far, so I decided to offer them a feeder so they can do a pit stop at our yard before they continue their adventurous trips.

I didn't want to buy one and knew I could build one with a bit of creativity, I just needed it to comply with the following requisites:

  • It had to be easy and fast project to build
  • It had to be built out of upcycled materials (reduce - reuse - recycle)
  • It had to be waterproof (you know.. rain)
  • It had to protect the food from the weather (rain... again)
  • It had to have a removable dish for the food. (bird dishes also require washing from time to time)
  • It had to be colorful to attract birds
  • It had to be pretty :)

I am happy with the result as it checks all my boxes. Hope you like it too!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

To build this bird feeder you will need the following materials and tools:

For the feeder:

  • A plastic plate. I never buy them but I took this used disposable one from a party I went to.
  • Small plastic container. I used the one where the mascarpone cheese came, after making a tiramisu.
  • Bright colored plastic straws. Again, I took them used from the party I went to.
  • T-shirt thread. Any resistant thread could work but I went with this one since I had it at home and it matches the container and plate.
  • A pair of Scissors
  • Bright colored permanent markers. I used the same colors the straws had.
  • Pure acetone
  • Cosmetic cotton disks

For hanging it up:

  • One shelf bracket
  • Electric drill
  • Plastic anchor
  • Spike

This last part is optional. In my backyard I have no tall trees where I could hang the feeder from so I decided to hang it from the wall. If you do have a tree then you can skip this part and simply tie the feeder to a branch.

Step 2: Prepare the Container

I wanted to keep my design minimal so I decided to remove the ink the container had on it.

To remove branding ink use pure acetone and a cotton disk (like the ones for makeup removal) and scrub a just bit. Don't worry, it easily comes off.

In case you do not mind the container having the brand and communication on it simply skip this step.

Step 3: Decorate With Colors

I read that birds are attracted to bright colors, so I decided to add some to the feeder.

I kept my design simple and just aded some colored lines that matched the colors of the straws I rescued.

Feel free to draw anything you like as decoration, or even not decorate at all! It is up to you, your style and creativity.

*Tip: The acetone and cotton disks are very useful to "erase" any error you did on your design and also to remove permanent marker ink from your fingers ;)

Step 4: Mark and Drill Holes

Both the plastic plate and the container's lid need to have a through - hole in its center.

Use one of the markers to draw a dot on the center of both, and use the spike to " manually dril" a hole on both dots.

Step 5: Cut the Thread

Cut three pieces of thread, each 1m (about a foot) long.

If you are planning on hanging your feeder from a branch (or similar) add 50cm (about 1/2 foot) more. You can always cut out the excess.

Step 6: Cut the Plastic Straws

I wanted the bright colors to be the main part of my design so I decided to add them as accents to the threads as well. You can also do the same or skip this step, it is up to you

Use the scissors to cut a piece 2.5cm (about an inch) long of each color.

Select one of the colors and divide that 2.5cm (inch) piece in three pieces.

Step 7: Add the Accents

Make a double knot about 2.5cm (an inch) away from one tip of each of the three pieces of thread.

Thread the t-shirt yarn through the pieces of straw you just cut following the design on the picture.

Tie the three pieces of yarn together with a simple knot about 10cm (about 4in) away from the knotted ends of the threads.

Step 8: Mark and Drill the Lid

The plastic container's lid will be the surface where the food's dish (plastic container) sits. And to make it secure we will use the threads to hold the container in place. That way even if the wind blows or a bird stands on the edge and the dish will not fall easily.

Using a marker draw three dots around the lid, dividing the lid in three pieces. If it was a clock imagine a dot at 12h, 4h and 8h.

Using the scissors cut a little notch on the edge of the lid right where the dots were drawn. These will help us guide the thread and help it stay in place.

Using the spike, "manually drill" the holes where the dots were drawn.

Step 9: Finish Assembling

Now it is a matter of threading and building the feeder as if it was a macrame one, but way simpler!

Pass the three threads through the center hole of the lid and then each of the threads through one of the three holes you just drilled on the lid (12h - 4h - 8h ones). Secure the threads using the three little notches you just did on the lid so they do not move and slip around the lid easily.

Make a simple knot 2.5cm (1in) away from the lid on each of the threads and thread a plastic straw on each of the threads. This knot is 2.5cm (1in) from the lid because that is how tall my container is. Measure your container's hight and use that as a distance for the knots.

Pass the three threads through the center hole of the plastic plate.

Thread all three pieces of yarn through the last one of the plastic straws and this one through the shelf bracket. Tie a final knot to secure the feeder to the bracket.

You can skip this last step if you plan on hanging your bird feeder from a branch on a tree.

Step 10: Hang the Feeder

If you are hanging your bird feeder from the wall, like I am, it is time to hang the bracket on the wall.

Drill a hole on your wall and place the plastic anchor on it. Screw the pike and hang the shelf bracket on it.

If you are hanging it from a branch, simply tie the loose threads you have at the top end of your feeder and secure with a knot.

Now all you need to do is fill the container with bird food and secure it on top of the lid. Check out how I place the food dish on the lid and secure it by placing the edge between the knots and the straws so it is kept in place.

You are done!

I hope lots of birds stop by, you get to see them, and they get to rest and eat as well.

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