November 20, 2018

DIY: How to make a bird feeder from an upcycled saucepan

I love having birds in my yard. They make me feel like ours is the fun house to hang out at in the neighborhood, at least among the aviary crowd. Although the birds don’t sit on my fingertips like I’m Snow White, they do sing a cheerful tune — and keep my dogs mesmerized for hours.

One way I keep the birds happy is with a feeder filled with birdseed. You can buy one, but I prefer this easy do-it-yourself version, which you can make with an old saucepan and lid. A little birdy tells me that all the feathered creatures will be pretty excited about the new eatery in town.

What you’ll need:

  • Small saucepan and lid
  • Industrial-strength glue such as E6000
  • 2 wooden spoons
  • Twine or string
  • Small bowl


1. Upcycle an old saucepan and lid

If you don’t have an old saucepan collecting dust in your cupboard, look for one in a thrift shop. The saucepan will become the main housing for the bird feeder, which will hold the bowl of birdseed. I used a 1-quart pan.

2. Glue the lid knob to the saucepan

Hold the saucepan so it can hang from its handle. This is the direction the bird feeder will hang. Turn the lid upside down so its underside is facing up, then place it inside the saucepan. Using permanent glue, attach the knob to the inside of the saucepan where the two parts make contact.

3. Tie wooden spoons to the handle

It is helpful for the birds to be able to perch on pieces of wood that extend out from the birdfeeder. In keeping with the cooking theme of the saucepan, two wooden spoons do the trick. First, tie the spoons together at their necks, then tie both together to the handle of the saucepan. The length of the spoons’ handles will rest on the sides of the pan.

4. Hang the bird feeder

Using the metal loop at the end of the saucepan’s handle, hang the birdfeeder from a tree branch. Some saucepans have holes instead of a loop, which work just as well. Either way, thread some twine through the loop or the hole, and then tie the twine to the branch.

5. Place bowl of birdseed in feeder

Rather than pouring birdseed into the upside down lid, fill a small bowl with birdseed and place the bowl onto the lid. This makes it easier to clean and refill the feeder. When purchasing birdseed, be sure to select the variety that caters to the birds in your region. Different types of birds eat different types of seed. If you’re not sure, look for all-purpose wild birdseed that includes an assortment.

6. Glue a burlap flower on the handle (optional)

As a finishing touch, I attached a burlap flower I found at the crafts store to the handle. Besides being ornamental, birds can use pieces of the burlap, which frays easily into individual threads, to build a nest.

Jonathan Fong is the author of “Walls That Wow,” “Flowers That Wow” and “Parties That Wow,” and host of “Style With a Smile” on YouTube. You can see more of his do-it-yourself projects at