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Bird Feeder Plans

Bird Feeder Plans Watching birds feeding in your backyard can be a very relaxing pastime. In this bird feeder project, you will use a piece of 8"-wide cedar lap siding to build a decorative bird feeder and then mount it on a piece of scrap plywood. The birds won't mind the leftover building materials. And you'll like the bird feeder because it costs almost nothing to build. Even the plastic viewing window covers that you place inside the bird feeder can be made with clear acrylic scrap left over from another project. To fill this cleverly designed bird feeder with seed, turn the threaded rod that serves as a hook so it is aligned with the slot in the roof. Then, simply lift up the roof and add the bird seed.

Cutting List

Key   Part   Dimension   Pcs.   Material
A   Base   3/4 × 16 × 16"   1   Plywood
B   Post   3/4 × 3/4 × 7 1/4"   4   Cedar
C   Box side   5/16 × 6 × 7 1/4"   4   Cedar siding
D   Ledge side   3/4 × 1 1/2 × 17 1/2"   2   Cedar
E   Ledge end   3/4 × 1 1/2 × 16"   2   Cedar
F   Roof panel   5/16 × 7 1/4 × 20"   2   Cedar siding
G   Ridgepole   1"-dia. × 20"   1   Dowel

Materials: 1/4"-dia. threaded rod with matching nut and washer
hotmelt glue, 4d common nails, rigid acrylic or plastic.
Note: Measurements reflect the actual size of dimension lumber.

The base provides room for several feeding birds and seed.

1. Cut the base (A) from 3/4" plywood. Draw straight diagonal lines from corner to corner to locate the center of the base.

2. Measure and mark a 6" square in the middle of the base, making sure the lines are parallel to the edges of the base. This square marks the location for the bird feeder.

3. Drill a 1/4"-dia. hole through the center of the base where the lines cross.

4. Measure in toward the center 3/8" from each corner of the 6" square and mark points. Drill 1/16" pilot holes all the way through at these points (photo A).

Drill pilot holes in the corners of the bird feeder location that is laid out on the plywood base.


The posts and box sides form the walls of the bird feeder. Vertical grooves in the feeder sides let you check seed levels. Seed flows through small arcs cut in the bottoms of the bird feeder sides.

1. Cut the posts (B) to length from 3/4"-square cedar stop molding. (Or, rip a 3'-long piece of 3/4"-thick cedar to 3/4" in width to make the posts.)

2. From 8" cedar lap siding (actual dimension is 7 1/4") cut two 6"-wide box sides (C). Then, cut two more panels to about 7" in width to be trimmed later to follow the lap-siding bevels.

3. Cut viewing slots. First, drill two 1/2" starter holes for a jig saw blade along the center of each box side—one hole 2" from the top, and the other 2" from the bottom. Connect the starter holes by cutting with a jig saw to form the slots.

4. Cut a 1/2"-deep arc into the bottom of each box side, using the jig saw. Start the cuts 1 1/2" from each end. Smooth out the arcs with a drum sander on a power drill.

5. Cut strips of clear acrylic or plastic slightly larger than the viewing slots. Hot-glue them over the slots on the inside of the box sides (photo B).

Cover the viewing slots by hot-gluing clear plastic or acrylic pieces to the inside face of each panel.

To mark cutting lines for trimming two of the box sides to follow the siding bevel, tape the box sides together into a box shape. The wide ends of the beveled siding should all be flush. Trace the siding profile onto the inside faces of the two box ends (photo C). Disassemble the box. Cut along the profile lines with a jig saw.

Mark the profile of the bevel of the siding onto two of the box sides for trimming.

1. Hot-glue the posts flush with the inside edges on the box sides that were trimmed in Step 6.

2. Hot-glue the untrimmed box sides to the posts.

1. Align the assembled feeder box with the 6" square outline on the base. Hot-glue the box to the base on these lines. Turn the assembly upside down.

2. Attach the base to the feeder box by driving 4d galvanized common nails through the predrilled pilot holes in the base, and into the posts on the feeder box (photo D).

Drive 4d common nails through pilot holes to fasten the feeder box to the base.

3. Cut the ledge sides (D) and ledge ends (E) to length. Next, build a frame around the base that prevents seed spills. Using hot glue, attach the ledge pieces so the bottoms are flush with the bottom of the base. Reinforce the joint with 4d common nails.

1. Cut the ridge pole (G) from a 1"-dia. dowel. Cut the roof panels (F) from 8" siding.

2. To create the roof pitch, lay the panels on your work surface so the wide ends butt together. Place a 1"-thick spacer under each of the narrow ends, 2" in from each end.

3. Apply a heavy bead of hot glue into the seam between the panels (photo E). Quickly press the ridge pole into the seam. Let the glue harden for at least 15 minutes.

Insert 2" spacers in from the "eaves" of the roof to set the pitch before applying glue to the seam.

4. Set the roof right-side-up, and rest each end of the ridge pole on a 2 × 4 block. Drill 3/8" starter holes down through the roof and the ridge pole, 1" to either side of the ridge's midpoint. Connect the starter holes by cutting a slot between them, using a jig saw. Widen the slot until the 1/4"-dia. threaded rod passes through with minimal resistance.

5. Cut the threaded rod to 16" in length. Use pliers to bend a 1 1/2"-dia. loop in one end of the rod. Place the roof on the bird feeder. Then, thread the unbent end of the rod through the roof and the hole in the base (photo F). Spin the rod loop so it is perpendicular to the roof ridge.

The bird feeder is held together by a looped, threaded rod that runs through the roof and is secured with a washer and nut on the underside of the base.

6. Tighten a washer and nut onto the end of the rod, loosely enough so the loop can be spun with moderate effort.

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