You'll also want a pencil, marker, ruler, bucket of water, needle-nose pliers, X-acto knife or scissors and plenty of newspaper.
The first step is to mark the locations of the holes you'll need to drill.
Next, mark the center holes on both clay saucers. Then set the pot in the larger saucer and mark drain holes on opposite sides of the saucer.
If you'd like to include the design that also functions as a seed window, now is the time to transfer your pattern to the pot. Whether your design is simple or complex, remember not to place the holes too close together. This will prevent problems when it's time to drill the holes.
After you've marked all the spots that require drilling, soak the pot and saucers in a bucket of water overnight.
The Dirty Work
Before drilling, place several layers of newspaper on your work surface. To start, use the 3/32-inch drill bit to make a hole through the center of the small saucer and then set it aside.
Still using the 3/32-inch drill bit, make small dimples at the center and drain-hole marks of the larger saucer. Then drill a series of dimples about 1/4 inch apart following the outline of the seed openings on the flowerpot. The dimples serve as starter holes to help keep the masonry drill bit in place during the next step.
Use the 1/4-inch masonry bit to drill holes at each dimple made on the pot and larger saucer. I've found the following tricks make this step easier:
- Use a slow speed while drilling and slowly wobble the drill bit.
- Stop drilling occasionally and dip the pot and saucer in the bucket of water. This helps lubricate the drill bit. (Keep your electric drill away from the water!)
- Use less force on the drill when you feel it's about to break through. When it does go through, run the drill bit in and out to clean up the hole.
If you're adding an optional seed window, continue following these tips as you use the 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch masonry drill bits to make the holes for your design.
To complete the feeder's seed openings, use needle-nose pliers to break out the small pieces of clay left between the holes you drilled. Clean the openings with a small file while frequently dipping the pot in water.
Let's attend to a few details before assembling the feeder. First, place the plastic water bottle that serves as the feed reservoir in the flowerpot and rest a ruler atop the pot and against the side of the bottle. Use a marker to draw the height of the bottle just below the ruler. Cut off the top of the bottle at the mark using an X-acto knife or scissors.
Next, while holding the bottle inside the pot, mark seed openings on the bottle by tracing through the openings you made in the pot.
Then cut out the seed openings in the bottle. Now use the 1/4-inch twist drill bit to drill a hole through the center of the bottom of the bottle and through the middle of a tree branch.
Assemble with Ease
Assemble the pieces following the diagram at right. Put a nut and washer about halfway up the eye bolt and insert the bolt through the bottle, pot, larger saucer and branch. Attach the remaining washer and nut loosely to the end of the bolt.
Wrap lightweight wire between the branch and the bottom washer, leaving one end free. Then tighten the bottom nut.
For hanging, I attach a fishing swivel to two lengths of picture-hanging wire. The swivel will help prevent the wire from twisting and breaking as the feeder turns in the wind. Leave at least 12 inches of wire from the top of the eye bolt to the swivel, so the top saucer can be lifted up high for easy filling.
For the final touch, attach the pine cone to the branch by wrapping it with the loose end of the wire. If you feed your backyard birds suet or peanut butter in winter, the pinecone is a great place to offer that extra treat!
- 1-liter plastic water bottle, 3-1/2 inches in diameter
- 6-1/2-inch clay pot
- 7-1/2-inch clay saucer
- 9-1/2-inch clay saucer
- Eye bolt, 1/4 inch by 5 inches
- Two 1/4-inch washers
- Two 1/4-inch nuts to fit eye bolt
- 12 inches of lightweight wire
- 48 inches of picture-hanging wire
- Fishing swivel
- Small tree branch, about 18 inches long