DIYdiy projectskate pruitt

diy project: kate’s acorn bird feeder

by Grace Bonney

acorn bird feeder
since fall has officially arrived, i decided to make autumnal nature the theme for this month’s projects. sometimes i wish i could be a squirrel so i could stow away a giant collection of acorns, seeds, nuts, etc. in my little home inside a tree. when i stow a collection like that in my house it just gets kind of messy and spiders start living there, but that’s another story. ironically this week’s diy is actually sort of anti-squirrel, but they do just fine by themselves so i thought i’d give the birds some love. the wooden bowl for this feeder not only makes the perfect acorn cap, but it’s slippery so squirrels can’t hold onto it (hopefully). i wanted to put it out immediately, but unfortunately it’s pouring rain in oakland, so you have to see it in ‘faux nature’ for now. this is actually a great rainy day project though, or something fun to do with your kids.. have fun!! –kate

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!


1. wood bowl (these are from ikea)
2. bird seed mix
3. soda bottle (get a size where the base fits inside your bowl nicely. you can also use a terracotta pot for this.)
4. scissors
5. sisal rope
6. gelatin (1 packet)
7. pam or any cooking oil spray
8. drill

bird feeder materials


1. wash and dry your empty soda bottle and cut 4″ up from the base off with scissors.

2. drill a hole in the bottle cape that you can fit the rope through.

3. spray the inside of the bottle with the cooking spray. this allows the birdseed mold to slide out easily.

4. slide a length of rope through and leave 5″ poking out of the cap and 12″ coming out of the other opening.

5. make the gelatin according to the directions using ice cold water so it will gel quickly.

6. add bird seed a little at a time to gelatin and mix together so seed is completely coated and start to bind together. this mold used about 2-3 cups of birdseed and a half packet of gelatin. don’t use too much gelatin or the birds won’t like it as much.

7. use one hand to hold the rope in the center of the bottle and use the other to pack in the birdseed around the rope. keep pushing the birdseed in and packing it down firmly while keeping the rope in the center of the bottle. fill to the top and pack down again.

acorn bird feeder process

8. when the mold is done put it in the fridge for a couple hours to set. then take out and let it dry for a couple more hours.

9. while mold is drying and setting, drill a hole in the center of the bottom of your wooden bowl.

10. when mold is hard and set, tap the bottle gently to release it. taking off the bottle cap will help and you can gently push from that end while pulling from the other end to release the shape.

11. knot the rope at the bottom and snip off extra. place a knot and inch or two up form the top of the birdseed base and slide the wood bowl on upside down. knot again right above the bowl and then make a large knot at the top for hanging. snip extra rope.


NOTE: while researching this project i also found a recipe for a healthy “glue” that uses eggs instead of gelatin. it requires placing the molds in a low temp oven, so if you want to try this recipe i suggest using clay pots for your base instead of old plastic bottles. here is the link for that recipe: http://www.theaviary.com/seedbell.shtml

acorn feeder detail

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  • This is sooo super cute! Only…where do the birdies land to eat? Maybe you could attatch something for them to land on.

  • Hey! Nice craft idea. Just a tip from my side. When we were still living out on a farm we used to make seedcones for the birds too, but we used old deepfryer fat. The type that goes solid when cold. The birds love it, and it good for them to build up an extra layer of fat to keep them warm in winter. Just heat the fat till it’s liquid and poor it in a shape filled with the seeds. The fat will go white and will look really pretty!

    I will give your idea a whirl for a birthday present for my dad.
    Love Charlotte,
    Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    • sophie

      thanks for your comment- you’re welcome to link and summarize posts, but we ask that projects not be reproduced in full. thanks :)


  • As a lover of all things ‘acorn’, thank you so much for this delightful tutorial. I’m showing this to the mister to add to our ‘project list’. He mentioned bird feeders just the other day.

  • Lovely creative, attractive and good for the adorable birds. My little daughter and I will surely be making it as we are all about animals!

  • gorgeous! Instead of gelatin you can make it with 1/2 Suet(from your butcher) and/or 1/2 peanut butter – both will stay solid during the cold months when the birds need to beef up! I guess you could also attach a small disk through the bottom rope for the birds to sit on or stick skewers/sticks through it to make little perches.

  • Any chance you could use suet and melt it down to “glue” the seed together? I kinda remember doing something simular in Girl Scouts…back in the late 60’s early 70’s. I am not sure if suet is available in other areas of the world. Thanks for an excellent idea off to good will for bowls…

  • OOh, great timing. I was just looking at a jay out on the patio yesterday and thinking it was time to give the birds something to snack on. Great holiday DIY present, too. Thanks, as usual.

  • i was wondering if you had to coat the hole in the bowl with any waterproofing agent so that is does not rot or mold? i assume the bowl’s exterior is waterproof to begin with.

  • Ian the Nov issue of Martha Stewart Living is how to make a similar thing but with suet instead. Just thought I’d share!

  • That is the neatest idea I have seen in some time and I have done a lot of crafts through the years.It is squirrel proof too!!!Thanks for the sharing the idea!

  • Having lived in rain for the last three weeks I’m wondering…how does this hold up to weather? Does the gelatin melt or hold together? I’m thinking if it doesn’t hold up to the weather I might go the suet route. I was always thinking that you could do the pinecone feeder thing but use it to replace the bell if that makes sense.

  • I really like this idea, it is so cute. But, there must be something better to use than gelatin, eggs, suet or anything else birds should not be eating…

  • Thinking you could insert a straw in there to hold place for a post for the bird…

  • What is the gelatin do you use / where to buy it ?
    & does this hold up while in the summer ??

    Thanks for the idea c=

  • Oh wait never mind i googled it :P
    the summer question is still in the game though :)

  • Hi, this is SO cute! I love acorns too! And I’ve been bothering the hubby about making/buying a bird feeder :) This is just perfect – thanks!

    xoxo Brie

  • http://www.ehow.com/how_5638341_mold-birdseed.html
    this recipe and instructions were more exact and stuck together/easier to work with dried faster. HAs anyone found a good place to get cheap wooden bowls besides Ikea? I’m gonna try those disposable bamboo ones- if I can find those too1 I know I’ve seen them for sale somewhere!!

  • This is a really nice alternative to the suet blocks you buy. I hope this is too big for those sneaky squirrels to steal! Thanks for the great idea.