We have made many types of homemade bird feeders over the years. We’ve hollowed out gourds, mini pumpkins and shared many other ways to make a simple bird feeder. What we haven’t shared is how to transform an old milk carton into a bird feeder. And, what about a bird feeder that looks just like your house? Now, that’s a fun idea!
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The other day I was looking through an old photo album and I came across pictures of a birdhouse I made many, many years ago. It was a big birdhouse that looked like my, then boyfriend – now husband’s, house. It was a birthday gift for my mother-in-law. Total blast from the past that planted a seed in my head.
What if we made a simple milk carton bird feeder that looked just like the house we live in. Much easier than constructing it from wood and perfect for kids to make.
DIY Bird Feeder – Milk Carton Bird Feeder
empty milk cartons or juice cartons
acrylic paints – the colours of your house
water-based sealant – we use Modge Podge matte finish
birdseed for wild birds that are native to where you live
Begin with your inspiration. We took inspiration from our own house. We have an attached garage, which is why we decided to add the smaller milk carton to the side of the house. Personalize your creation as much as you like. Is there a building in your neighbourhood that you like? Make it. Do you live in an apartment building? Make your apartment building!
We wanted to add a perch to our birdfeeder, so we added the craft sticks as a perch and they are our front lawn and driveway. This was so much fun to design.
The first step is cleaning the milk cartons. Rinse them thoroughly and let them dry out. You are going to have to let them sit for about a week…with the lid off…but keep the lid.
Once the cartons are cleaned, it’s time to cut out the openings. We cut out our garage door, the front door and then a couple of big openings on the side and back. Spots where the birds can enter and exit the feeder. We used the craft knife to cut out the opening. This is a job for an adult or older kid. Be careful. Be sure to leave a lip on the bottom edge of each opening. The lip will stop the birdseed from falling out.
Now you need to test the surface of your carton. Add a little paint to the scraps you removed. Some cartons have a very waxy surface and will have a harder time accepting the paint. If your carton is very waxy you can lightly sand the surface. This extra little step is going to make a big difference in your birdfeeder. Our cartons were okay and we were ready to paint. When painting the main surfaces. Our house is brick red and a black roof. Let the paint dry. A note about the paint, be sure you’re using water-based paint. You don’t want to use anything that might be toxic to the birds.
It’s going to take a couple of coats of paint to cover the milk carton’s design. When the paint is dried it’s time to draw on and then paint on the windows and the brick detail. If your house has siding, you can draw lines for the siding. Whatever the surface of the building is, use a black permanent marker to draw on the details. Let the surface completely dry between each step.
We added a grassy edge along the bottom of our house. To make the flowers, dip the end of your paintbrush into the paint and then dot it onto the grass.
Now, it’s time to think about the perch. Line up the birdfeeder on top of the craft sticks to determine how many you will need. Paint the craft sticks. Maybe yours will have a sidewalk? Or a grassy lawn like ours. Our yard always has clover flowers and dandelions, which is why we painted the little yellow and white dots.
Once the sticks are painted it’s time to secure them to the birdfeeder. We used the glue gun to adhere the garage to the main house. And used the glue gun to secure the sticks to the bottom of the milk cartons. I added sticks across the perch sticks to further stabilize the perch.
Now, it’s time to seal the entire house with a water-based craft sealant. Make sure everything is totally dry before you do this, or your paint will smudge.
When everything is dry, staple a long loop of string to the top of the bird feeder and hang up your birdfeeder. When your birdfeeder is in place, add the birdseed. What birdseed should you add to your birdfeeder? This depends on where you live and the type of birds that will be visiting the birdfeeder. Make sure you look for “wild bird” birdseed. You don’t want to use the seed for pet birds. Smaller seeds tend to attract smaller birds. Larger seeds and nuts attract larger birds.
Now it’s time to wait for the birds! I really hope the squirrels don’t come along and destroy the feeder before the birds have a chance to come. If you are worried about raccoons, bring your feeder inside your house at night. It will definitely last longer if you bring it inside when a storm is coming. While the birdfeeder has been sealed, it isn’t impenetrable to the elements.
Okay, I hope you have so much fun creating and building your milk carton bird feeders! Please come and share your project on Instagram, tag me @kitchencounterchronicles
Another simple bird feeder idea is to make birdseed cookie cutter bird feeders
Check out our fun collection of creative homemade bird feeders