Are your kids learning about birds or do you have kids who enjoy watching birds? Work together and make recycled bird feeders or nesting boxes!
We have an abundance of birds in our garden, from Finches to Woodpeckers, Hoopoes to Starlings and Owls. I wanted to make something colorful, which the birds can also use, either to nest or for feeders.
These bird feeders are mostly made out of recycled material that is easy to find.
You will need:
- Cardboard tubes (the sturdy type, available from a signwriter or fabric store, these tubes normally get thrown away)
- Pot plant drip trays – 80mm diameter, or to snugly fit your tube.
- Paint (primer, acrylic paints, clear coat)
- Fishing gut or jewelry wire
- Dowel sticks
- Beads (optional)
- Drill and drill bits
What to do
Clean all the dust and dirt off your tubes, lightly sand them. Cut the tubes in lengths of about 150mm to 200mm, using the hacksaw. The cardboard used for these tubes is extremely strong, so do not attempt to use a knife. Drill a large circle in the tube using a Circle Cutter drill bit or Hole Saw Cutter. Different birds will use different boxes for nesting, so you can drill a few on a lower level and others on higher levels.
Use a drill bit the same size as the diameter of your dowel stick, drill a few holes for the perches, again, you can make as few or as many as you like. Insert the dowel sticks through the holes and secure with a bit of wood glue. Close the top and bottom of the tubes with the pot plant drip tray. You can use a bit of glue around the edges for added strength.
They are now ready to be painted. Because the top and bottom of the tube are plastic, I would recommend painting a coat of multipurpose primer first. Once the primer is dry, paint your colors. Start with a base coat and add decorative effects. You can use free-hand patterns, stencils, trace your pictures: your imagination is the limit.
Once the paint is dry, add a clear coat because it’s going to be exposed to the elements. I used a quick dry, enamel-based clear coat and a spray gun because it’s the easiest method to ensure the inside of the box also gets a layer of clear coat.
If you do not have a spray gun, a paintbrush will also do the job, but try to give the inside a thorough coat. The water-based clear coat is the least messy when working with a brush and I would definitely recommend Plascon Paint Effects Glazecoat Varnish.
Drill two small holes through the top of your tubes, thread the gut through secure with knots. Before making the second knot you can add some beads to give your project a final touch.
Hang your bird feeders in the trees. Add a few wild bird seeds to the top of them and the birds will find their way to your garden in no time!