This is a fun, easy and inexpensive project for kids that can start conversations about recycling and upcycling. Keep the project going by researching and studying the types of birds the feeder attracts.
Materials: plastic bottle, 14 inches of paracord, scissors, lighter or matches (optional), 2 plastic spoons, bird seed, funnel, newspaper or dropcloth, marker, tweezers (optional)
Step One: Rinse out plastic bottle and remove label. If there are droplets of water remaining in the bottle, dry it well–I used a tissue and wooden spoon handle, which worked nicely. I dried the bottle in step nine, but it’s easier if you do it now.
Step Two: Mark spots on opposite sides of the bottom of the bottle. Cut out holes about the size of pencil erasers where the marks are.
Step Three: Cut 14 inches of paracord, then pass the cut ends quickly through the flame of a match or lighter, until ends are no longer frayed, but sealed together. Use extreme caution when handling a flame. I cut and seal the paracord myself before the project starts, so that each child is given a length of paracord that’s ready to lace through the bottle.
Step Four: Thread the paracord through the holes in the bottle, then tie with a double knot. I like to use paracord because it’s stiff enough to thread through the bottle pretty easily, although sometimes it helps to use tweezers or kneedle nosed pliers.
A small amount of birdseed will come out through these holes when the bird feeder is filled, so the holes should be as small they can be while still letting the cord pass through.
Step Five: Still holding the bottle upside down, make a half inch long line on the bottle, then cut a slit with scissors.
Step Six: On the opposite side of the bottle from the line, and slightly lower, draw a circle between the size of a nickle and dime.
Step Seven: Cut out the circle, then put the handle of a plastic spoon first through the circle, then through the line in the bottle, so that it looks like:
Step Eight: Repeat steps five through seven on the opposite sides of the bottle, so that the two spoons cross through the center of the bottle
Step Nine: Make sure the bottle is completely dry inside, and turn the bottle over, placing a funnel in the mouth. My kitchen funnel was too narrow for the birdseed I bought, so I used a rolled up piece of paper. A little birdseed will spill during the next steps, so make sure you’re working over a dropcloth or surface that’s easily swept.
Step Ten: Use the funnel to fill the bottle with bird seed. A 17 oz bottle holds about a cup and a half of birdseed.
Step Eleven: Tighten the lid on the bottle, and the birdfeeder is ready to hang. By inverting the water bottle, the birdseed stays fresher and has less of a chance of getting old and stale, or forming a cake in the bottom of the feeder.