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Wednesday, May 3, 2023

DIY Recycled Bird Feeders To Make With Kids

This huge list of DIY bird feeders will give you lots of inspiration to use different recyclables and materials you probably have at home already to create homemade bird feeders with your kids. Making a homemade bird feeder with kids is a great DIY recycled craft activity as well as a way to encourage children to learn more about nature and the native birds in your area. 

photo grid of different diy recycled bird feeders


Problem solving - If you don't give children a set of instructions to make their bird feeder, but rather give them materials and ask them to come up with a design it will allow them to hypothesise and problem solve.

Fine motor skills - Making the bird feeders usually involves fine motor movements such as cutting, gluing or tying materials together and decorating. Spreading, scooping or pouring seeds into the feeders are also great fine motor practice.

Attracting native wildlife - Adding a bird feeder to your garden will attract the native birds to visit more often. It can also attract butterflies and squirrels depending what type of bird feeder you make.

Observation skills & Patience - Once your bird feeder is finished the fun doesn't end, the kids can then spend time bird watching as the birds visit. This will teach them observation skills and patience. They could also record which birds come to visit in a bird watching journal or log.

Recycled craft - Making bird feeders from recycled materials is a great way to teach children about the benefits of reusing materials, it's also great to do as an activity to celebrate Earth Day.


There are many different materials you can use to make a homemade bird feeder including recyclables like empty cans, milk bottles, egg cartons and even old tea cups. You can also make bird feeders inside food like apples, oranges and pumpkins. However, before you start making your DIY bird feeder you should consider these things to help you decide which design will be more appropriate.

  • The type of birds that are native to your area and what they eat. Different types of birds will require different bird seed mixes, so make sure you choose one that suits the birds native to your area. Some birds also prefer fresh fruits or flowers so you may want to add these to your bird feeder.
  • Will you need a hanging bird feeder or one that sits on the ground. If you have lots of trees in your backyard or front yard it will make sense to make a hanging bird feeder, however if you don't have trees then a design that can sit flat on the ground, or can be attached to a fence might be more suitable.
  • What materials you have available to use. Choose a design from the list below that fits the materials you have available whether that's recyclables, food items or natural items like twigs and pinecones.
  • The current climate and season. Is it currently hot or cold where you live? Is there likely to be lots of rain or snow? Some bird feeders are better to use in cold climates and some are more suited to warm climates. 
  • Will the bird feeder be out in the elements. If you're putting the bird feeder in a tree where it can be exposed to rain or strong winds, certain materials like cardboard, egg cartons and toilet paper rolls will disintegrate quite quickly.
  • Any food allergies. Some bird feeders will use food materials such as peanut butter which children can be allergic to. It's important to make sure anyone exposed to the bird feeder while making it, or playing near it, isn't allergic {especially when making them in a class setting}. In this case you can substitute peanut butter for vegetable shortening, lard or suet. 


All of the bird feeders featured in this post can be made with children, either completely by them, or with some adult assistance. Some of them will require the use of scissors or strong glue when assembling so will require caution and adult help. However, children can definitely help to decorate and fill them with bird seed. A lot of them are also great to complete as class projects as part of a nature, garden or bird unit.


All of the following bird feeders can be made using items you already have at home that would usually be destined for the recycling, rubbish or even donated to a thrift store. Next time you go to throw these items in the recycling or put them aside to donate, save them instead and give them a new life as a bird feeder in your garden.

Milk Bottle Bird Feeder

diy bird feeder made from a milk bottle

Before you recycle your milk bottles, save one and wash it out to make a DIY bird feeder. We get 3L milk bottles here in Australia and they're the perfect size to make a hanging bird feeder for smaller birds. If you're in America you can use a 1 gallon bottle. Follow our instructions to make a milk bottle bird feeder. Milk bottle bird feeders are great to use all year round, just hang them under cover during cold months to protect from rain or snow.

Milk or Juice Carton Bird Feeder

milk carton bird feeder house

Give the birds in your neighbourhood their very own house by upcycling a milk carton or juice carton into a cute bird feeder house. Your bird house can be hung in a tree, on a fence or placed on a table, just keep in mind the current weather as it will start disintegrating if exposed to the rain

Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder

plastic bottle bird feeder

We love reusing plastic bottles to make sensory bottles, but you can also keep them to make a bird feeder. The great thing about a plastic bottle bird feeder is the majority of the seed is always protected from the elements and it will naturally refill the feed perches as the birds eat the seed.

Mug Bird Feeder

mug suet bird feeder on fence

If you have an old one off mug hanging around in the back of the cupboard, instead of rehoming it to a thrift store, use it to make a bird feeder mug. This bird feeder uses suet so is best to use during the cooler months otherwise it will melt and fall out of the mug. If you're in Australia you can substitute suet for copha.

Tea Cup Bird Feeder

bird feeder made from tea cup and saucer

Similarly if you have any tea cups and saucers you no longer want, you can turn them into bird feeders too. This one doesn't need suet as you can use loose seed because the saucer provides a wider base and also acts as a perch for the birds to eat from. You will need strong super glue though to secure the cup to the saucer. Follow these instructions to make your own cup and saucer bird feeder.

Mason Jar Bird Feeder

mason jar bird feeder

This mason jar bird feeder is filled with bird seed, unflavoured gelatin and corn syrup. The mixture combines together to help keep it compact within the mason jar, however it's best not to use this mixture in hot weather as it may melt and drip out of the jar. If you're worried about using glass, you can always use plastic mason jars with handles.

Egg carton bird feeder

bird feeder made from an egg carton

The kids will love helping to make and decorate an egg carton bird feeder. These are super easy for the kids to put together, the only downside is that they're not particularly weather resistant so you might want to hang them in a shady, partially covered area to make them last longer.

Cardboard House Bird Feeder

cardboard bird house feeder

If you want to make an entire bird house that's also a bird feeder, follow the instructions to make this bird house feeder. Although it looks impressive, you only need cardboard, a stick, peanut butter and birdseed to make it. Being made from  cardboard it's naturally very susceptible to bad weather, so only put this one out on clear sunny days.

Clothes Peg Bird Feeder

peg and cardboard bird feeders

These clothes peg bird feeders are super easy for kids to make and peg onto smaller twigs and branches in the garden. These are best to use in cooler weather as they use peanut butter to stick the birdseed to the cardboard heart, however they'll still be vulnerable in rain or snow.

Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder

toilet paper roll bird feeders

Toilet paper roll bird feeders are probably the easiest bird feeders for kids to make, however they're also the most delicate when it comes to weather exposure. It shouldn't matter though because you should always have new ones on hand to make more. You can also see more toilet paper roll bird feeders and other crafts here.

Tin Can Bird Feeder

recycled tin can bird feeders

Next time you have an empty tin can, remove the label and thoroughly wash it out to use it as a bird feeder. There's so many different ways kids can help to decorate the tins with paint, stickers or pens. See how to turn tin cans into bird feeders here. These are great for all year round as the cans provide lots of protection from the elements.

Popsicle Stick Bird Feeder

popsicle stick bird feeder

If you have an overflowing collection of popsicle sticks in your craft stash, you can use them to make a layered popsicle stick bird feeder. This one will need some adult assistance as it uses a hot glue gun. You can also make these with plain craft sticks.


These bird feeders are made from natural materials, including natural resources you can forage from the environment in your garden or at the park, and biodegradable food scraps that you can still add to your compost bin once the birds have finished using the bird feeders.

Twig Bird Feeder

bird feeder made from cardboard and twigs

If you have lots of fallen twigs in your garden or local park, collect some up and use them to make a twig bird feeder. This bird feeder is rustic looking and will blend in with any trees in your yard. I do not recommend filling it with bread as shown in the photo though as bread can be dangerous for birds.

Pine Cone Bird Feeder

pine cone bird feeder with birds

Pine cone bird feeders are really fun and easy for kids to make as they get to roll the pine cone into bird seed to cover it. Just make sure they're careful of the little spikes as they're rolling them. Once all the seed has been eaten the pine cones can be put back in the garden.

Shell Bird Feeder

shell made into a bird feeder

If you have lots of smaller native birds in your area then you can make a small shell bird feeder. Next time you go to the beach and collect shells try to find some clam shells {or pipi shells as we call them in Australia}, or scallop shells as they're nice and wide for bird seed. You can also order crafting shells if you can't find any.

Apple Bird Feeder

apple bird feeder

Next time you have apples save 1 or 2 to make apple bird feeders. These are really easy for kids to fill, however they will need some adult assistance to add the string. Apple bird feeders are better suited to the cooler months as they will deteriorate quicker in the heat. Once the seed is finished, or they're starting to rot, add them to your compost bin.

Orange Bird Feeder

bird feeders made from oranges

Next time you cut up an orange or mandarin be sure to carefully take out the fruit so the rind remains in full halves so they can be saved to make bird feeders. Orange bird feeders are 100% biodegradable and may also attract butterflies too. Follow the instructions to make an orange bird feeder here. Orange bird feeders will last longer in cooler months as they deteriorate quicker in warm climates.

Gourd Bird Feeder

gourd bird feeder

Next time you have a butternut pumpkin {also known as a butternut squash or gourd}, cut off the base and keep the skin once you've removed the flesh to make a gourd bird feeder. These are the same type of design as an orange bird feeder, however the gourd skin is much tougher so will last longer. 

These are also best for the cooler months. Once they start to rot you can add them to your compost bin or a worm farm.

Cereal Bird Feeder

cereal bird seed feeders made from cheerios

Cereal bird feeders are a great fine motor activity for younger kids as they need to thread the cereal onto string or a pipe cleaner. These need to made with hollow cereals such as Cheerios and Fruit Loops. Any cereal that birds drop onto the ground will naturally biodegrade. 


These bird feeders are best for climates where it snows or the temperature stays quite low. You can also make them in winter as long as it gets cold enough where you live.

Frozen Bird Feeders

frozen bird feeders

For obvious reasons these frozen bird feeders can only be put out during cold temperatures or they'll rapidly disintegrate. They are extremely easy for kids to help make though, the hardest part for them will be waiting for the bird feeders to finish freezing.

Bird Seed Ornaments

bird seed ornaments

These bird seed feeder ornaments can be made in any different shape using cookie cutters. These ornaments aren't frozen, however they are made with a gelatin mixture which will fall apart in warmer weather. Follow these instructions to make bird seed ornaments.

Suet Bird Feeder

bird eating from suet bird feeder

This suet bird feeder is made in recycled yoghurt or paper drinking cups and uses suet to set the shape and keep it together. Suet is saturated animal fat which, similar to gelatine, will congeal together and hold it's shape in cold temperatures, however it will melt in warmer climates. If you don't have suet you can use lard.

diy homemade bird feeders kids can help make at home

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