Feeder on a Dime
Save time and money with this simple feeder that songbirds will love!
By Dottie Baltz, Pennellville, New York
Platform feeders are one of the most popular options for attracting backyard birds. You could easily spend $50, $75 or more to buy one, but don't waste your money! Instead, build your own for less than $10!
What You Will Need
- 4 pieces of rough cedar, cut to 15/16 x 2 x 9-1/16 inches
- 4 pieces of molding strips, cut to 1/2 x 3/4 x 9-1/4 inches
- 1 10 x 10-inch piece of aluminum screen
- 8 1-1/2-inch panel nails
- 16 1-inch panel nails
- 4 8mm or 1/2-inch eye screws
- 4 10-inch-long pieces of No. 16 jack chain (chain for hanging plants)
- 1 link of chain about 1-1/4 inch long (larger chain for hanging plants)
- Exterior wood glue
- Needle-nose pliers
- Duct tape
- 1/16-inch drill bit
For more of Dottie's projects, visit her Web site.
- Once the wood and screen are cut to size, assembly is pretty simple. The finished feeder will be 10 inches wide, 10 inches long and 2-3/4 inches high. The first step is to glue the four pieces of cedar together to make a square box (see diagram). Wipe off any glue that may have oozed out the sides, then allow to dry.
- Hammer in two 1-1/2-inch panel nails at each intersection to help reinforce the glue.
- Determine which side you would like to be the top. Place the frame bottom-side-up on your work surface, then center the aluminum screen on top of it. You can use a staple gun to attach the screen to make it easier to handle, but it is not necessary.
- Place the molding strips on top of the screen, again forming a box, overlapping the joints of the feeder to add strength.
- Hammer four of the 1-inch panel nails, evenly spaced, along each side to secure the molding and screen to the base of the feeder.
- Turn the feeder over so the screen is closest to your work surface. With a ruler, determine the center of each side and mark it with a pencil or by making an indentation with an eye screw.
- Using a 1/16-inch drill bit, drill a pilot hole no deeper than 1/4 inch in the center of each side. This hole will help prevent the wood from splitting when you attach the eye screw.
- Screw in the eye screw to each side using the pilot holes. You may need to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to help you turn the eye screw. Put a piece of duct tape on the end of the pliers if you find it is scratching the metal.
- Attach one 10-inch length of chain to each eye screw, using the pliers to open and close the links.
- Attach the end of each 10-inch chain to the larger link to make the hanger. Then hang and wait for your feathered friends to arrive!