A Guide To Making a Bird Feeder | Love The Garden

How to Make a Bird Feeder

Jade Thomas's picture
By Jade Thomas, Wildlife Lover
Example of a homemade bird feeder

Creating your very own bird feeder to assist our feathered friends and brighten up your garden couldn’t be simpler. There are so many materials that can be used to build either basic or intricate designs, with the majority of the materials being found around the house. The complexity of the build will depend on the type of feeder that you would like to make, but there are a wide variety that are great for toddlers and up.

There are two main types of DIY bird feeders; biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Non-biodegradable ones can be made from items such as plastic bottles, glass bottles, tin cans, jars, cups and saucers or drink cartons. Biodegradable feeders can be made using fruit, peanut butter, lard and seeds. 

The following are two types of non-biodegradable bird feeder ideas to make at home. The first is very quick and simple, whereas the second is slightly fiddlier to make and requires different materials.

A selection of home-made bird feeders.

Basic & Easy Bird Feeder

Materials Needed:

  • Plastic bottle or bucket
  • Scissors, ruler, marker pen
  • String, twine or wire
  • Bird seed mix
  • Pine cones, twigs, tree bark, rope (these are optional for decoration)

How to Make the Basic Feeder

Step one - Prepare the Bottle

Make sure your bottle is properly washed and dried before starting. About a third from the bottom of the bottle, draw an outline for the shape and size of entrance you require. This can depend on the size of the bottle and the birds you wish to attract.

Step Two - Cut the Bottle

Carefully cut out your chosen shape, using a drawing pin to puncture holes in the bottle first if needed.

Step Three - Tie the String

Remove the bottle cap and tie the string, twine or wire around the top, then replace the bottle cap. This can then be used to hang the feeder in your garden. Alternatively, you can make a hole in the bottle cap to thread the string through and tie off.

Step Four - Decorate the Feeder

Decorate your feeder with pine cones, leaves, twigs, bark and rope. They can also be used to make a partial roof and creates a more natural look, making it more inviting to birds.

Step Five - Stock the Feeder

Fill the feeder with the bird seed mix(or whatever food your desired bird eats) and place in the garden. The feeder can also be attached to a wooden post, fence or wall outside.

Mason jar bird feeder
Image Credit: Etsy

Mason Jar Feeder

There are quite a few variations of mason jar feeders, but this is by far my favourite, mainly because it doesn’t require the use of a drill!

Materials Needed:

  • A round metal chick feeder
  • A mason jar
  • 8-Gauge copper wire
  • Bird seed mix

How to Make the Complex Feeder

Step One - Prep and Fill the Jar

Wash and dry the inside of the jar thoroughly before starting. Then fill the mason jar with the bird seed mix.

Step Two - Attach the Chick Feeder

Attach the metal chick feeder to the top of the jar. Make sure it is secure, but still able to be removed for refilling later. Turn upright quickly to avoid seed spilling everywhere.

Step Three - Create the Hanger

Starting from the bottom, coil the copper wire around the neck of the jar a couple of times. Then wrap the wire in a gradual spiral around the jar, finishing at the top by curling the remaining wire in to a hanger shape.

Step Four - Hang your Bird Feeder

Using the created hanger, suspend the feeder in the garden and watch the birds enjoy!

Biodegradable bird feeders.

Ways to Use Biodegradable Materials to Make a Feeder

Cardboard tubes

These can be small or large. Spread peanut butter across the cardboard tube and roll through seed mixture. The more peanut butter you put on the more seeds will get stuck. This can be placed or hung up in the garden.


These can be cut in half and hung up as they are for fruit eating birds. Alternatively, the fruit can be removed and the orange peel used to hold bird seed.


These can also be cut up and put out as they are, or they can be coated in peanut butter and bird seed before being suspended in a tree.

Pine Cones

This can be used in the same way as the cardboard tubes. Simply cover in peanut butter and roll through bird seed mix. As an extra treat small fruits such as grapes can also be added.


This is one of the simplest options. Using string to make a food necklace to hang up in the garden, this can include cereals and fruit such as cheerios and grapes.

Once you have finished building the feeder itself, you can begin experimenting with different bird food recipes.


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