Thursday, May 17, 2018

DIY Mason Jar Bird Feeder - Tutorial and Product Review

One of my favorite things in all the world is to spend time observing and photographing wild birds.  Most avid bird-watchers and photographers know that providing food is one way to ensure a steady stream of visitors and photo moments.  For some time now, I have wanted to make a new feeder for the birds that bring me such great pleasure.

Right away I knew that a mason jar bird feeder would be perfect for my country home.  Who doesn't love the charm of the ever-popular mason jar?  I thought I would share this project and a few tips for those out there who might also enjoy treating their feathered friends.  It is likely you already have most of what is needed for this easy do-it-yourself craft.  Let's get started.






Supplies Needed

  1. A regular mouth canning jar.
  2. A chick feeder base.
  3. A bowl or plate for the canopy over the jar.
  4. E6000 glue (or another super strength clear adhesive).
  5. Birdseed.
  6. Chain or picture wire (plant or basket hanger).
  7. Optional: Decorative knob.
Step One:  Acquire a regular mouth canning jar and proportionately sized dish for its canopy.  You can find inexpensive mason jars at thrift stores, any of the dollar stores, craft stores, etc.  Though I already had some canning jars at home, I fell in love with The Pioneer Woman's embossed Betsy mason jars.  In addition to being especially lovely, the jars are 32 ounces, which means you won't have to fill your bird feeder as often as with smaller containers.

Step Two:  Buy a screw-on chick feeder base that fits a regular mouth mason jar.  Most feed stores will have them, or you can purchase one online.  I get mine locally from either Tractor Supply Company or Big-R.  Typically, I pay $2.99-$3.99, depending on whether I buy a plastic or a galvanized metal feeder.  There are usually a few colors from which to choose.  My store has red, green, yellow, purple, and the galvanized silver feeders.


Step Three:  Determine if you are going to hang your feeder or place it on a post.  If you plan to hang your bird feeder, you may wish to use a decorative knob on the canopy (to provide an anchor point for a chain or hanging wire).  The ceramic knob I chose couldn't be glued on, so I used my Dremel and a tile bit to drill a hole in the center of my canopy dish.  The bit worked perfectly and created a very neat little hole for the screw that holds the knob in place.  Tip:  Keep the surface wet and go slow while you are drilling.  Angle the bit slightly.


Step Four:  Insert a screw and use two washers (one for the interior screw and one for the exterior knob) to protect the bowl's surface.  I used a 3/4-inch long machine screw (#8) that fit the thickness of the bowl and the knob threads.  Tip:  Be careful not to over-tighten the screw.  You wouldn't want to crack that beautiful bowl (part of the vintage floral pasta bowl set by The Pioneer Woman).  *You can skip steps three and four if you choose a scalloped edge bowl and hook your plant hanger chains between the rounded curves.







Step Five:  Apply E6000 glue on the bottom rim of the mason jar (around the entire rim).  Follow the instructions on the glue label to ensure the best adhesion results.














Step Six:  Center bottom of mason jar inside canopy bowl and apply gentle pressure while the glue is bonding.  Set aside for the glue to cure.  Depending on the temperature and weather conditions, curing time can take 1-2 days.  It's important not to rush this step.

*In this photo, you are looking down inside the open mouth of the jar.  You can see how it is centered over the screw for the canopy knob.  Tip: Use a flathead screw so the jar rim can sit flush on the bowl.










Step Seven:  After the glue is fully cured, fill mason jar with birdseed.  I used safflower seed.  Supposedly, squirrels won't bother a feeder with this kind of seed.  It is also said to keep bully birds from hogging all of the seed.  Safflower seed attracts the kind of birds I am hoping to feed.  I plan to hang my feeder, but decided to wait one extra day to ensure the glue is totally cured.

Because my hummingbirds are attracted to red feeders, I am thoughtfully considering the best location for this bird feeder.  You can see from the introductory photo on this page that the first bird to check out my new feeder was a hummer.

I love how my DIY mason jar bird feeder project turned out (so much so that I am making more than one feeder).  In addition to the Betsy mason jars, the dishes I purchased for the canopies are a part of The Pioneer Woman Collection.  The pattern on the red bowl matches the embossed pattern on the glass jar.  I bought everything at Walmart.


Now I'm excited to see who shows up at the feeder today.  More photos to come soon!



















Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

16 comments:

  1. How clever of you to come up with a homemade DIY bird feeder, Diana. And the supplies are inexpensive to boot. Well done. I know your resident birds will appreciate your new feeder and give you great pleasure for both viewing and for photography moments. Looking forward to some of your beautiful photographs of the birds who visit your new feeder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember getting the idea from a post Dawn Rae shared a few years back. That idea has been incubating for quite a while. I just put my own twist on it.

      Delete
  2. What a beautiful bird feeder, Diana! You really do come up with some of the best DIY projects and I love how pretty the mason jar and dish are together. I didn't know squirrels wouldn't eat safflower seed. That is important information to know for any bird feeder. I look forward to seeing your photos of the birds it will attract. You always take gorgeous photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mouse. That was new learning for me, too... about squirrels and safflower seeds. Squirrels aren't a problem for me out here where I live. I don't think I have ever seen a squirrel at my country place. The birds that are a nuisance here, in terms of bird feeders, are the jays. They will clean out all of the feeders in seconds, leaving nothing for the more polite little birds. I stopped feeding for a long time because of the raucous behavior of the rowdy birds.

      Delete
  3. Love this DIY bird feeder made with a mason jar! I think I will have to do this for my patio!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you love this feeder, Heather. I hope you do make one. Send a pic so we can see your creative approach to this project. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  4. What an ingenious idea! Although the birds seem to find plenty to eat in my yard, I'll file this idea away in case I decide I do need a feeder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I only feed birds at certain times of the year when it seems they can use a boost.

      Delete
  5. What a great idea and it came out looking so pretty. I love these kinds of crafts especially when it keeps the birds happy too! Great job, thanks for sharing this idea with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Olivia. If the birds aren't happy, momma ain't happy. :-)

      Delete
  6. What a clever idea. Love this feeder. Looking forward to seeing photos of your birds on this feeder!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking about you and your bird photography as I posted this feeder. I'll bet your sweet feathered friends would enjoy a mason jar buffet. Will post bird pics soon. Thanks!

      Delete
  7. What a creative idea. I have friends who are avid bird watchers. They LOVE birds. I'll have to pass this idea along to them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for this !!! My favorite bird feeder is similar - purchased from a person at a flea market who made them. I thought about trying to figure out how to make my own..... but I was too scared to try. Thank you so much for this tutorial.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no doubt you can successfully make your own mason jar bird feeder. I remember seeing your flea market feeder. So pretty when made with a vintage glass dish. I was thinking it's the perfect feeder for The Shack. I think I'll make another feeder today with a colored mason jar and a galvanized chick base. I've got some of the limited edition canning jars made with blue and purple glass. I also have some pretty feather stencils that would look lovely spray painted on one of the clear jars with a frosted glass effect. So many different ways to give a creative spin to this project. I hope you do make one for your special retreat.

      Delete