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How to Build a DIY Bird Feeder

Lure your feathered friends to the backyard with a handsome feeder.

diy bird feeder with blue jay

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 day

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Miter saw
  • Drill with bits and driver
  • Sharpie marker
  • Random-orbit sander with abrasive disks
  • Hammer
  • Carpenter's square
  • Bar clamps
  • Paintbrush and rags


  • #17×11/4" stainless-steel brads
  • #14×1" stainless-steel panhead screws
  • #8×1/2 " stainless-steel panhead screws
  • 1/2 " galvanized pipe flange, #22440
  • 1/2 "×72" galvanized pipe, #24071
  • #12×11/2 " flathead wood screws
  • #8×3" flathead wood screws
  • Liquid Nails 2.5-ounce silicone adhesive, #239057
  • 8-ounce Titebond III ultimate wood glue, #627
  • Rust-Oleum 12-ounce universal black spray paint, #233317
  • 1 quart Olympic Maximum Toner, cedar natural tone, #7316
  • 1 quart Klean Strip denatured alcohol, #148736

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources


This project is built in two phases:  Start by cutting all the parts to length and prepping for assembly - this part of the project is best done by an adult familiar with woodworking tools.  Then you'll need your favorite assistant to help assemble the feeder. 

Prepare the Parts

Step 1

From 1"×2" cedar, cut the stock for the base rails A and slats B to length (Cutting Diagram, Cutting List).

Step 2

Align one slat with the ends of the rails and space the remaining slats 1/16" apart (Platform). We used brads as spacers. After placing all the slats, mark the final length of the rails.

Step 3

Mark the ends C to fit between the rails, and cut the rails and ends to length. Set the parts aside.

Step 4

Next make a feed spreader to help guide the feed out of the feeder under the Lexan panels. Cut the bases D, riser E, and cap F to length. Stack the parts as shown (Platform) and assemble the parts using glue and stainless-steel brads.

Step 5

Cut the fronts G, backs H, and roof supports I to length. Lay out the height of the front and back (Feed Bin) and draw a line to indicate the final length of the angled parts. Cut the parts to length using a miter saw.

Step 6

Cut the sides J to length. Sand all parts with 120-grit sandpaper, easing all edges.

Step 7

For the liners K, front L, back M, and roof panels N, cut the Lexan to size (ask your Lowe's associate for assistance). The sheets also can be cut using a carbide-tipped blade in a table saw.

Step 8

For the roof panels, laminate the two panels using silicone adhesive and use a weight, such as a concrete block, to press the panels while the silicone cures. When cured, sand the edges of all the Lexan panels using 120- and 220-grit sandpaper.

Step 9

step 9

Use brads to space the slats B. With all slats positioned, mark the final length of the rails A.

Step 10

step 10

Clamp the side parts G, H, and I. Lay out the height of the front G and back H, then mark the angle cuts for three side parts of the feed bin.

Step 11

Start the brads in the sides J, apply glue, and then hold the parts while you let your assistant finish the job.

Step 12

Use a scrap to hold the Lexan ¼" above the work surface; the feed will run through this opening.

Step 13

Apply glue to the bottom of the feed bin and clamp in position, centered on the platform length, and with the sides flush.

Step 14

Position and secure the roof to the roof supports. This is easier when you can see through the roof prior to painting.

Build It Together

Step 1

With the parts all prepared and the cutting complete, grab your assistant and get started. Assemble the base, securing the slats B to the rails A, and install the ends C (Platform). Attach using glue and brads. (Use brads to space the slats.)

Step 2

Glue the base D, riser E, and cap F assembly in position, centering it on the platform.

Step 3

To assemble the sides, align the bottoms of the front G, roof support I, and back H. Place the sides J in position, spacing them with brads. Overhang the front and back by ¼". Use glue and brads to secure the parts. (The lid support is used as a spacer between the front and back so the top can slide into the feed bin easily.)

Step 4

Drill 3/16" holes in the liners K and position them on the inside faces of the side assemblies. Mark the holes and drill 1/8" pilot holes in the wood; your assistant can drive the screws that attach the liners to the sides of the feed bin.

Good to Know

Prevent splitting the Lexan by predrilling holes slightly bigger than the screw threads.

Step 5

Stand up the two side assemblies and position the front L and back M on the feed bin sides. Predrill the holes and drive the screws.

Step 6

Set the now-assembled feed bin on the platform with the sides flush and the feed bin centered on the platform (Final Assembly). Secure with glue and clamps and reinforce the joint with 3" screws.

Step 7

daughterdad building

Set the roof in place and mark the locations of the holes on the roof where it will be secured to the roof supports. Remove the roof, and drill ¼" clearance holes in the Lexan for the screws. Reposition the roof, drill pilot holes in the roof supports, and secure with the screws.

Finish and Install

Step 1

Remove the Lexan and apply an exterior stain to the cedar. Paint the roof, the pipe flange, and the pipe using spray paint, wiping the parts first with denatured alcohol. The paint we chose bonds to metal and plastic without primer.

Step 2

Reinstall the Lexan panels and attach the pipe flange, centering it on the bottom of the platform.

Step 3

Predrill and drive the mounting screws.

Step 4

feeding bird

Drive the pipe into the ground and spin the feeder onto the threaded end. (Protect the end of the threaded pipe with a block of wood when you drive the pipe into the ground.) When you need to fill the feeder, slide the roof up and pour in the feed.

Note: Different birds eat different feeds. Check out the great selection at Lowe's for feed specifically made for the birds in your region.