Homemade Bird feeders

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This bird is enjoying his snack.

These bird feeders make it easy to watch birds in the backyard. I helped my daughter make these for a science project at school. We made them out of recycled materials, including a paper towel roll, a shoebox lid, and a milk carton.

You can make one, or all three of these feeders for your yard and enjoy watching the birds as they return for spring. Beware of squirrels, though. They seem to like the bird feed as much as the birds do, sometimes knocking down the feeders trying to get at the food! But the fun of watching the birds close up is definitely worth the effort of putting the feeders back in place and refilling them.

Shoebox lid feeder:


  • Lid from a shoebox
  • Sisal rope
  • Hot glue gun


Take the lid of a shoebox and cut in half. Then slide the pieces together so that the lid is shaped more like a square than a rectangle. Glue the pieces together. Then cut the rope into 4 separate pieces, about a foot in length. Glue each end to the inside corners of the lid. Then tie the other pieces together at the top. Use another length of rope to tie to a tree branch.

Bird feeder collage

Paper towel roll feeder:


  • 1 Paper towel roll
  • 2 plastic lids
  • Sisal rope
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wooden skewer, or popsicle stick


Cut a round hole, about 2 inches in diameter into one side of the towel roll. Then break off the end of a wooden skewer or popsicle stick, insert it into the hole so that it will serve as a perch for the birds to sit on, and glue in place. Then glue a plastic lid at the top and bottom of the feeder as shown in the picture. Next, cut a six inch length of rope, form it into a loop, and glue to the top of the feeder. Finally, use another length of rope (as long as needed) to hang the feeder to a tree branch.

Milk carton bird feeder:


  • Half gallon milk carton
  • Wooden skewer, or popsicle stick
  • Wire hanger for a hook
  • Scissors


Cut a square window into both sides of the milk carton. Place wooden skewer, or popsicle stick, inside so that is sits across the window openings, forming a perch for the birds to sit on. Then use scissors to poke a hole into the top of the carton. Stretch out a wire hanger, using one end to hold the carton and the other to hang on a tree limb.

Fill each of your new bird feeders with bird seed. You can find birdseed at pet stores, supermarkets and department stores that have a pet department. You can pick different kinds of seed mixes to attract different birds.

I hope you enjoy watching nature at its best with your kids!

Birds and their habitats are featured in my book Mallory the Forgetful Duck. Watch the book trailer below.

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20 thoughts on “Homemade Bird feeders

  1. This is a great idea! What a great way to spend some quality time with the kids and enjoy nature also!

  2. Lovely project. In my area, we are not allowed to feed the birds (something to do with the bird flu outbreak that happened a while back). I wonder whether this would be okay. THanks for sharing!

  3. I love these ideas. However, I’m afraid if I feed the birds here that I’ll actually be feeding the neighborhood cats including my own–better not do that!

  4. Love feeding and watching the birds. This is a great project to do with little ones. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love the look of that homemade milk carton bird feeder. My wife and I would love to hang some unique hummingbird feeders in our yard. We don’t have the time to do these types of projects so we’ll want to find something online.

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