I got the inspiration for this great little family craft project from my school, where the kids were making something similar for wood-working. These bright and colourful bird feeders are cheap and easy to make, and lots of fun for the whole family.
It’s quite funny how the inspiration for this project happened around the same time as my husband started feeding the birds outside our kitchen window.
He just randomly through some bread out there one day, and a small flock of sparrows and finches appeared on the fence.
Each day, whenever he cut off the kids’ sandwich crusts in the morning, he’d throw the crusts out the window, and more and more birds would appear.
And now, there’s often a line up of wee birds sitting on the fence waiting for their breakfast snacks!
It’s been a real talking point in our house. In fact, our hilarious 2 year old tried to tell me the other day he was upset because he hadn’t seen the birds that morning (it wasn’t that, he was actually just throwing a tantrum because his milk was too warm!).
So, we had the fence, we had the birds, and we had the bird feed. But what we didn’t have was somewhere to feed them off the ground. And with our cat Bonnie-Bono constantly on the prowl, we needed a solution! So this bird feeder project came along at just the right time.
This is a great craft project for the whole family. Both our kids, 2 and 5 years, had a go cutting the decking timber with the jigsaw, and hammering in some of the nails. We all painted our own bird feeder with paint colours the kids picked out. And Dad got to cut timber and help us with all the nailing and gluing.
As the saying goes:
The family that knits (or crafts) together, sticks together!
Bright and colourful bird feeders project
You will need
Cheap decking timber offcuts (we bought about 2 meters of offcuts for under $10)
4 assorted Resene test pot paint colours
Small paint brushes
A saw for cutting the timber (eg. jigsaw, dropsaw, handsaw)
Small timber nails, 1 large nail, an eye-hook screw and a hammer
Good quality water-resistant timber glue
What to do
1. Mark your timber where you’ll cut out the pieces. The actual measurements don’t really matter. But you want 1 longer piece, 1 shorter piece and 2 medium sized pieces. Our bird feeders were roughly 20cm for the long, 10cm for the short, and 12cm for the medium sized pieces.
2. Cut out the timber with your saw of choice. We used a jigsaw because it isn’t too loud as power tools go, and the kids were keen to have a go with it.
3. Place a block at one end of the longest piece of timber and draw on a right angle. Cut this out to create a pointed top.
4. Now you can have fun painting! Paint each of the timber pieces a different colour, and go really bold and bright with your colour choices to make it fun. We used Resene Go Go Go, MET Enchanted, MET Zoop De Loop, Energy Yellow, Tangerine, Allports, Scrumptious and Niagara. It pays to paint at least 2 coats on. And try and encourage your kids to paint right out to the edges, and get a good coverage with each coat.
5. Once the timber is dry, set out your pieces on the floor so you know how they’ll sit. The longest piece, with the pointed top goes at the back, and is fixed to the medium size piece that becomes the floor. The smallest piece is fixed to one side of the pointed roof, and the second medium size piece is fixed to the other side of the pointed roof, and also to the small piece. See the image below for setting it out:
6. Now it’s time to nail it together. We used small nail tacks so as not to split the decking timber, and because hammering it together is a little fragile (you could also pre-drill holes, and use small screws and a screwdriver). Make sure to apply good timber adhesive to both parts of the timber, and nails, to create a strong bond. The nails are really just there to hold it together while the glue sets. Leave the glue to dry, preferably overnight.
7. Finally, you can screw a small eye-hook to the bottom of the bird feeder. This is great for hanging bird food from, or even a peanut butter pinecone. And nail a long, stainless steel, nail through the back of the bird feeder into a fence. Nail this in about a third of the way up from the base, and leave at least half the nail exposed. This is perfect to attach pieces of fruit to, such as apple or pear.