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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

How to make a DIY Butterfly Feeder

My girls are obsessed with butterflies, they get so excited when one comes into our yard. They much prefer butterfly watching to bird watching. Unfortunately we have quite a small backyard and no plants so most of the butterflies that come in our yard are simply passing through looking for flowers.

To try and encourage more butterflies into our yard and to get them to stay for longer I decided to make our own butterfly feeder. Butterflies are attracted to bright flowers and nectar so I did a bit of research and then came up with a simple butterfly feeder using items from around the house. Making the butterfly feeder with the girls was a fun activity within itself and since then it's provided hours of entertainment and excitement as they check it for butterflies.

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- Water
- Scissors
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Rocks {optional}
- Pyrex jug {optional}
- Banana or orange pieces {optional}
- Shallow basket or wicker plate holder
- 1.5m thick ribbon, bakers twine or jute string
- Plastic lid or plant saucer
- Flowers from the garden

To make a butterfly feeder the main thing you will need is a flat basket or plate so that you have an area to put the butterfly food on, which is what attracts them. I made ours a hanging butterfly feeder because we have cats so I used a wicker plate holder as the base with a plastic bucket lid inside to hold the butterfly food. If you don't have any other animals in your yard you could make the butterfly feeder without any string and leave it on a table or in the garden, in that case you could just use a plant saucer or a shallow bowl. 


1. Collect all the items you will need. To make our butterfly feeder I simply repurposed items we already had around the house that I could transform into the idea I had in my head. We have a heap of wicker plate holders that I inherited from my grandma and I've been pondering what to do with them for a while, turns out they're perfect for a hanging butterfly feeder. I didn't have any shallow lightweight bowls so I used a plastic lid from a fairy floss bucket. I couldn't find our twine so I searched the Christmas stash and found some silver elastic ribbon.

2. Cut the string in half to make two even pieces. Thread a piece of string through the wicker basket on either side. Make sure the two pieces coming out are even in length so the basket will hang flat.

3. Make the sugar water mixture. Boil some water in a jug then combine water and sugar in a pyrex jug and stir until all the sure is dissolved. You will need to use a 9:1 ratio of water to sugar. We used 9 tablespoons of boiled water and one tablespoon of caster sugar. You can use any sugar you like, but caster sugar dissolves a lot quicker because it's so fine. Once the sugar is dissolved put it in the fridge to cool. 

If you don't have a pyrex jug you can measure out the water and sugar and boil it in a saucepan on the stove top. Stir the sugar as it boils until it is completely dissolved. Transfer the water mixture into the fridge to cool.

4. While the water is cooling collect some flowers from the garden to use in your butterfly feeder. You can use any flowers, however pink and purple ones are meant to attract butterflies better than other colours. We cut some flowers from our neighbours yard, you could also collect some on a nature walk or from a park.

5. Layer all the items inside to butterfly feeder. Put your plastic lid or saucer inside the wicker plate holder and place the flowers on top to get an idea of where to place them. If you're hanging the basket it's easier to compile it all once the basket is already hung, but I did this to have an idea of how I wanted to set it all out.

6. Hang your butterfly feeder outside on a post or in a tree. We initially hung ours under our pergola in the backyard and later moved it to the front of the house. Make sure the basket is hanging flat before you add all the items into it.

7. Assemble the butterfly feeder. Carefully pour the water mixture into the butterfly feeder {you will only need a small amount if your lid/saucer is shallow}. Any left over mixture can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Layer the flowers into the sugar water so the stems are in the water and the flowers are overhanging the edge of the basket. You can also add some rocks to balance the weight if needed and some pieces of banana or orange into the mixture. Butterflies are attracted to nectar so the bright flowers and sugar water + sugary fruit will attract them to land on the feeder. *You will need to change the flowers every few days as they wilt and top up the water mixture as needed.

Our butterfly feeder has been set up for over a week now and the girls love checking it to see if there's any butterflies on it. There have been all different coloured butterflies stopping by {of course they always fly away before I get a photo}. We initially set up our butterfly feeder in the backyard, but we've now hung it in our front garden so all the neighbours can enjoy watching the butterflies as well.


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