Photo: Artem Kniaz via 123RF

With summer underway, birds are flying around and anxious for any seeds in your backyard. This year, create some family memories by building a bird feeder out of materials that you likely have in your home already. There are many fun and easy options here, so grab the birdseed and get to work!

Peanut Butter Tube

A quick DIY bird feeder that uses ingredients you most certainly already own is the peanut butter tube design. Using an empty toilet paper or paper towel tube, coat it with peanut butter and then roll it in birdseed. This is a great option for the youngest crowd. Even though peanut butter can be a bit messy, the potential for breaking or damaging your bird feeder is nonexistent. For the final step, string a piece of yarn through the tube and hang it up in a tree. For complete instructions, check out this guide here.


For a sophisticated look that will stand the test of time, use a teacup and saucer to make a beautiful bird feeder. You can either use a slightly chipped set that you already have in the china cabinet or scour thrift stores for a pattern that stands out in your garden. The most important part of this design is to give the glue time to set, so make sure that you attach your cup and saucer at least 24 hours before you plan to hang them outside. You can use a gutter hook or string to loop around the teacup handle and place it in a tree. Consider using different patterns and sizes throughout your yard for a look that’s at once unified and eclectic.

Citrus Rind

If your family juices citrus or frequently has a surplus of citrus rinds, then this DIY bird feeder is for you. Instead of tossing those empty citrus rinds, use them to hold delicious birdseed! You’ll need a strong needle to thread some string through the rind at four different spots, but otherwise, you should have all of the supplies on hand already. Make sure that you mix your birdseed with a little bit of peanut butter so that it sticks to itself enough to say in the citrus cup. The best part of this design is that you can use different sizes of citrus for various locations; a large tree could hold a grapefruit half, but a small bush calls for a lemon or lime.

Photo: krrad via 123RF

Milk Carton

If you have older kids, this design for a DIY bird feeder is a winner. They’ll need to use a box cutter and choose some vinyl adhesive (contact paper) for the design, so everyone’s end product can be unique! Using a completely clean and dry half-gallon milk carton, cut out an opening for the birds and seed. Cover the remaining carton with your chosen pattern of contact paper (or you can choose to paint with non-toxic acrylics; you’ll probably need two coats and then a sealant) and attach a hook at the top. This design is a great way to recycle materials that would otherwise go in the trash bin, and it’s easy enough to make a new one each season. Have fun choosing contact papers that either mimic the outdoors (like this wood grain) or infuse a burst of color into your yard.

Tin Can

If you’re like many families, you probably have extra tin cans around from dinner this week. Repurpose these cans into bird feeders with a few tools and supplies you might already have around the garage. The first step is to spray paint the exteriors of the cans; make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area, and then let them dry for 24-48 hours. After the paint is completely dry, drill holes for the string and attach foam flowers to the open ends of the cans. If your local craft store doesn’t carry flowers, simply trace a circle about one inch wider than the opening of the can and then cut to make petals around the perimeter. Hot glue works well for attaching these flowers to the opening. You can adorn the hanging strings with beads or other decorations to make this addition to your garden really pop.

Flower Pot

For a DIY bird feeder that can weather several seasons, try using repurposed flower pots. Because the pots are already designed for outdoor garden use, these feeders will withstand the elements. This project is more involved than some, so ensure that you have the required time and tools necessary to finish the job. You’ll drill holes in both the flower pot and saucer, and the easiest way to drill in terra cotta is to soak it overnight first. After your holes are set, use an empty water bottle inside the pot to hold the seed and let it spill out of the pot into the saucer. You can also paint the flower pot first to add some color to your garden!

These DIY bird feeders are great for all ages, so try a few in various places around your yard to attract all of the birds this season!