Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Snapple Bird Feeder

Have you seen those bird feeders using glass bottles in a wooden frame attached to the house?  I've seen a couple but I really wanted a hanging version, so I made this bird feeder:


I think it needs a bit of design work but the concept is ready to share, you might to grab a cup of coffee, this is a long one.  Here's what you'll need to make your very own upcycled bird feeder:

1. A glass bottle with lid, you'll want a bottle with a larger opening so the seed will fit through.
2. The bottom of a 2 liter soda bottle
3. Craft wire
4. Galvanized Steel Wire
5. Drill, maybe.  If you can start the hole in the lid with a nail and hammer you can use a good pair of scissors to widen the hole
6.  Scissors...oh yeah, you'll need a blow dryer too.

The first thing you'll want to do is set up the cup portion of the feeder.  Cut around the bottom of the soda bottle to give you the shape of the flower.  Be careful not to cut too low between the "petals" or you'll end up with a leaky cup.

To help the birds latch on you'll need to make a sort of ledge on the petals.  Nothing fancy, just flip your bottle bottom over so the petal tips are on the table and use your blow dryer heat the edges.  As you do, apply a little pressure to guide the shape. This will help the edges bend over instead of just giving you a way appearance.    This doesn't take very long so be sure to keep an eye on it.

Now we need to attach this to the lid, so drill a hole in the lid and use a pair of scissors to widen the hole.  It needs to be pretty wide to fit the seed through (I had to widen the hole in the picture) but not so wide that steel loop falls out.

Now grab a length of galvanized steel wire, 12-15" long should do it.   Take one end and form a loop that is just slightly smaller than the caps diameter.  Then make a 90 degree angle in the wire at a spot that will allow the wire to pass through the center of the hole in the lid.
You'll repeat a similar process to attach the feeding bowl.  First poke a hole in the center of the soda bottle bottom and insert the steel wire. Form a loop that will support the bowl.  Make any adjustments that you need to make so that the bowl lies flat on the galvanized wire.  When determining how long to make the piece of wire between the lid and the bowl, keep in mind that the lid should be inside the bowl to control the flow of seed.

The assembled bowl piece should look like this.  When you attach it to the bottle you may need to wiggle it...just a little bit (name that tune) to adjust that wire out of the way of the bottle's rim.   Okay, last part.  You'll need a cage from which to hang your bottle.

I've used four different colors of fine craft wire - five feet of each color.  Holding all four pieces together, bend them in half and begin twisting them. You'll only need to twist enough to go around the neck of the bottle.  And, leave a small loop at the place that you bent the wires.   Pull the wires through the loop and bend them back on themselves.  

Here's were the fun begins, separate the wires so that you have four bundles of two (I separated mine by color). Now think chicken wire. Wrap two bundles around the bottle and twist them together a few times.  Bring those same bundles back in the same direction from which they came and twist them each to one of the remaining bundles.  Continue in this fashion until you get to the bottom of the bottle. (This might require some video!)

Now gather up all of your pieces, twist them together and form a closed loop for hanging. 

Fill 'er up, screw on the lid/bowl assembly and hang it in the garden.


  1. This looks good.
    The problem I have found with some of the feeders using plastic bottles is the seed starts to 'sprout', but with this tray I think you have avoided the problem.

  2. Do you think this design would work with a plastic bottle (with a few modifications)? I'm going to be hanging it from a suction cup hook so I'm worried about weight.

    1. I assume you're hanging it from a window, so I'd worry a little bit about the feeder hanging freely unimpeded from the window. But, maybe a skinny enough bottle? Let me know if you find a way to make it work.

  3. you could even decorate the glass bottle with paints, or sharpie markers


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