We always get a ton of birds in our yard chirping away every day; it’s so nice to sit and watch them at mealtimes! As a result I have been wanting to make a bird feeder for them but wanted to do something unique. I was searching around on Pinterest for a while when I discovered this amazing bird feeder.
This feeder is actually from here and is intended to be sold in fair-trade shops to assist Ugandan producers of raffia goods. It’s made in a somewhat complicated fashion that I obviously in no way could replicate but wanted to somewhat recreate using local materials found at my hardware store.
I thought long and hard about this project; about how best to create it that would be sturdy and basically waterproof. Finally I hit gold and realized I could make this simply out of thick sisal rope, a 2L plastic milk jug, and a glue gun.
It’s not exactly the same but I rather love it! I think it could even be cute if I made a few and hung them in a cluster in my bird/nature themed nursery I’ll be designing and store little trinkets inside! Here’s how I made it!
First, buy a 2L plastic jug of milk, drink and enjoy your milk. Once the jug is empty thoroughly clean out the jug and carefully cut it in half. Try to keep your cut as straight as possible. I actually used a sharp knife to get me started then switched to scissors for the last little bit.
Next grab your supplies; I used 1/4” sisal rope. You will need quite a lot of this as I almost finished off the entire roll. You also use a lot of glue sticks, I have a mini glue gun and I used about 6 small sticks of glue.
Once you have your supplies poke 2 small holes into the top of your milk jug; I found a paring knife worked well for this. Luckily the sisal rope had small bits of twine to prevent it from uncoiling so I actually used this twine to make my handle. Poke the ends of the twine through both holes and knot the ends. You’ll be using this handle to help you hang your feeder in your tree. You will want a rather large handle however as at one point while wrapping the sisal around the jug you have to pass the twine through your handle. I couldn’t think of any way around this because the holes are impossible to find once the jug is fully wrapped so it can’t be added afterwards. If you do think of an alternate solution please let me know!
I found it easiest to start wrapping my jug from the back. I figured it would be best to wrap in a circular pattern and then just keep going around the sides. Problem is the jug is slippery and it was hard to maintain a really tight coil at first so I started this separately and then glued it down to the jug once I had a nice workable size.
This is a job that takes 2 hands so I wasn’t able to take any process pictures but I’ll show you all sides of the jug in a minute. I noticed however while finishing my jug that my plastic was uneven (or my wrapping was) as some ends of the rope were already at the end of the jug while others weren’t so I just cut off the extra jug to make things even.
Once I fully covered the plastic I then brought my sisal inwards to form a bit of a lip to my feeder to help prevent bird seed from falling out super easily. You could probably make even more of a lip if you wanted but I decided to leave mine open so birds could more easily access it. To finish it off I just snipped the end at a convenient spot and glued it down.
Here is what the inside of the jug looks like, pretty crazy hey? I will note it is important to keep your rope tight as you wind it around your jug, and be sure to try to always press it up against the previous row so you don’t get gaps.
Here is the back of the bird feeder so you can see I just glued on my little coil then continued winding it directly on the jug gluing it down as I went.
And here is the finished jug hung up filled with seed! The birds absolutely love it and it’s the perfect size for the smaller birdies we get around here. I really love how natural looking it is in the tree while not blending in either.
All total this project only cost me $4 for the sisal rope. It also puts a good emphasis on helping the environment with taking care of our animals and recycling! Gotta love that double whammy! It was a fast project too, especially once you get in the groove, and only took me 30 minutes to make. This could be a great craft to make with slightly older kids you trust wielding a glue gun.
Has anyone else made a bird feeder this Spring? Do you have any creative ideas for reusing milk jugs or even saving the environment in general? Feel free to share!