Saturday, July 15, 2017

DIY mason jar and bottle hummingbird feeder

Yes this post is yet another about a mason jar hummingbird feeder!  (Apparently I am not the only one who loves mason jars and hummingbirds.)  I love the look of this feeder and love that, even in the windy areas around my home, it is virtually leak-proof. 
This feeder is almost identical to my birdseed feeder that I posted about, which calls for a tiny mason jar with a wine or soda bottle, the only change being a different pattern cut into the mason jar lid.

Not to worry, I will post all the steps here again to save you some time.  First I gathered my materials and tools. I used a clear, large, twist-on capped, sparkling juice bottle to match my tiny, clear mason jar, some wire, and some cheap plastic and cloth flowers.  As far as tools go, I used some pliers, a hammer, a nail and my tiny chisel.

I set the sparkling juice bottle upside down on the mason jar lid and drew around the mouth of the bottle in the center (or as close as I could get) of the lid.

Then I used my chisel and hammer to cut out the circle.  I also drew 4 marks where the drinking holes would go in the top of the lid, as close to the edge as I could get without hitting the seal.  I used my nail to punch through and had 4 fairly equidistant holes for the hummingbirds to drink from.
here is a pic of the nail hole spacing in the lid-unfortunately,  as i forgot to take a pic of this when i did it the first time, you will notice the plastic stems of the fake flowers poking thru-oh well, you get the idea, right?

Next I threaded the lid of the mason jar with its ring onto the sparkling juice bottle. 

Then I took the lid to the sparkling juice bottle and cut an "X" into the top with the chisel and peeled the edges back.

Once peeled back, I screwed the lid on the bottle, securing the mason jar lid and ring to the juice bottle.

Once secured, I screwed the jar onto the mason jar lid and ring.  Almost done!  You just need some wire to hang it.  Start wrapping around the neck of the bottle and from there up and around a few times.  From there, leave several inches of wire to make a hook to hang it and snip off any excess wire.

To finish it off, I added four cheap cloth flowers that had small, hollow, plastic bases.  They were part of a dollar store bouquet and as it turns out they pulled quite nicely off their plastic stems and the hollow base was the perfect diameter for hummingbird beaks.  (I also made sure that the nail I used was the same diameter as the plastic bases of the fake flower blossoms).

I wanted to make sure that my creation would actually work for the hummingbirds, so I filled it up and hung it and in just a short time there were two hummingbirds fighting over the feeder and drinking from it.  Success!
I love how it looks and love that it doesn't seem to leak at all, even in windy conditions.  Hope this was helpful and easy to follow.  I am sure if you make your own, you will love yours too!  

Also, if you like more "mason jar" and less "sparkling juice bottle" don't forget to check out my earlier post about mason jar hummingbird feeders!
This picture is from my earlier post about how to make your own mason jar hummingbird feeder using recycled and common household items. 

a hummingbird drinking at the feeder

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

DIY Simple soda bottle hummingbird feeder

this is a simple soda bottle feeder with a tiny hole in the cap, suspended by wire-it works incredibly well and is incredibly easy to make

Yup another hummingbird feeder post. Yikes, I know.  Apparently there are a lot of crazy people out there like me who like hummingbirds and unique feeders!  This one is as easy as they come, no flowers, no feeding tube, nothing special, but it is still a fun and unique way to attract and feed hummingbirds.  You will need a soda bottle with a twist on cap-preferably a bright yellow or red (if the cap isn't yellow or red, get some paint), you will also need a hammer, a nail and some wire.  I use baling wire as we have quite a bit around here.  You can get fancy and paint the wire if you like.  My little girl wanted to, so we did and she was right, I like it better.
First, clean out the cap and your bottle.  We liked the label on our bottle, so we left it alone and even sprayed a little clear enamel on it to keep the colors brighter longer.
Next, put the cap on your bottle and take a small nail, like the kind you might use in your house to hang a picture or the calendar, and hammer it through the center of the cap.  Remove the nail.

Grab your wire!  You will need quite a bit for this-I think I used about 30" or so.  Now it's time to bend it up.  I like to start with the two ends of your wire-take one and carefully wrap it around the largest part of the neck of your bottle one time.  Then take the other end and wrap it around the base of your bottle once-about an inch or two up from the bottom.  Now hold your bottle out in front of you sideways but with the cap end pointed slightly down.  Bend the center of your wire up to form a hook and hold your bottle at that angle.  You can design your hook to go on branch or a nail or whatever.  (I designed mine initially to hang over a small branch in the crabapple tree.)

Lastly, Fill the sucker up with nectar, screw the cap on tight and hang it!  (If you fill the bottle up all the way, so there isn't any air inside the bottle, it won't drip as much when you initially hang it.  I filled mine up half way so initially there was a whole lot of dripping going on as I hung it-not to worry, if your cap has a good seal and your angle isn't too severe, the dripping will quickly stop.)  The angle makes it perfect for the hummingbirds to drink virtually all the nectar without much waste.
There ya go!  It is a fun way to re-use, re-purpose or recycle your favorite drink bottle.  Hope you have as much fun making these as we did.

Friday, June 16, 2017

DIY suction cup window hummingbird feeders and hat-clip (hat-attached) feeders

This is one of my favorite suction-cup window feeders made from a tobasco bottle-the birds love it too!
This suction cup window feeder is a favorite around our house-it is made from clear, flexible tubing with cork stoppers on the ends and baling wire wrapped around for a perch.   The crystal clear tubing allows everyone to see every detail up close

Yes this is yet another hummingbird feeder post!  Sorry, but there has been a lot of response to my previous posts about how to make mason jar feeders and prescription bottle feeders, feeders that attach to your hat brim, feeders you hold in your hand and especially the feeders that suction cup onto your window, bringing the birds closer for curious viewers as well as those who are bed-ridden.   
Suction-cup prescription bottle bird feeder-refer to my earlier post about RX bottle feeders
As I mentioned in my post about prescription bottle hummingbird feeders, we recently had a member of the family diagnosed with a chronic illness that has provided us with lots of RX bottles and got me thinking about how to bring the hummingbirds closer so that someone on bed rest could see the birds right at their window without having to sit up or move to see the feeder out in the yard.  The answer came to me on a night when sleep wouldn't.  I started making the feeders by upcylcing the prescription bottles, but another idea tickled inside my head and I branched out using materials that I already had in the house.  These feeders work very well and are light-weight so that they can attach to your window easily.  They are made from recycled materials that are re-purposed, which I love.  Here are a few examples that I will show you how to make.
Here are three different types of suction cup window feeders and on the far right, a feeder that attaches to your hat!
Basically the idea is exactly the same as the prescription bottle suction cup window feeders and hat clip feeders for the top three feeders pictured.  The clear-tube feeder pictured on the bottom is a tiny bit different, but uses most of the same materials.
For all of these feeders you will need some cheap suction cups that are designed to hang items-they have little plastic hooks that you can remove easily, leaving a hole through the end of the suction cup that is perfect for your wire hook to go through for the top 3 feeders-for them, you will need to simply remove the plastic hook and you are ready to go.  For the clear tube feeder, don't remove the plastic hooks.

To make this simpler, I will first discuss how to make the bottle-style suction cup feeders and hat clip feeders.

Once you've got the hooks out of your suction cup hangers, you just need wire to wrap around the bottle of your choice.  I use baling wire because we have a lot of that around here.  Once you've wrapped your bottle, bend the wire hanger perpendicular to your bottle and about 4-6" away, snip the wire off and make a hook on the end.  Once you've made your hook, bend it up so that when you put the end of your wire hook through your suction cup hanger, it will hold the feeder at the correct angle.
Here is a good example of how to wrap the wire around any bottle and make the hook in the end of the wire so that when the hummingbird comes to the feeder you can see it drinking up close and get a full profile.

 I am hoping that these pictures show you how to bend your wire hook up-right so that when you stick your suction cup on the window, it holds your feeder out correctly.

To make the hole where the hummingbirds will drink you will need a small diameter nail just large enough for the hummingbird beak to fit thru.  You may also want a cloth or plastic flower for the end or some nail polish or paint to make a faux flower to attract the birds to the hole they need to drink from.  However, for the tobasco bottle, due to the fact that the cap was small and already a nice vibrant red, I didn't need to use any paint or nail polish or a fake flower of any kind to help the birds find the drinking hole.  (For my mason jar feeders, I usually make the flowers out of electrical tape-If that's more your style, see my post about mason jar hummingbird feeders.)  I simply used a lighter (a match would work fine, just use a glove as that lil' nail can get hot quickly) and heated up a small diameter nail, like the kind you might hang a calendar from in your home, then stuck the nail thru the center of the red cap. 
For bottles like the tobasco bottle, that is all you need.  Just fill it up with nectar, lick your suction cup, stick it to the window of your choice and hang up your feeder!  The weight of the feeder with the nectar will pull downward slightly on the suction cup, but use that to your favor and adjust the angle so that the end of the bottle with the drinky-hole is tilted slightly downward.
For the smaller test-tube shaped bottles, I used a slightly larger nail, punched through the top of the lid and stuck a dollar store cloth flower with a hollow, plastic tube-base through the hole.  (I had previously measured the diameter of the hollow plastic flower "stem" first and chose my nail accordingly.  I also checked to make sure that the inside of the hollow tube was large enough for hummingbirds' beaks.)  These work very well and are a lot of fun to experiment with!  I am trying to experiment with links, so if you like these, but would rather have me make them for you, click here and I will send one to you.
The hat clip feeder here has exactly the same steps as the prescription bottle hat clip feeder, but this one I made from one of my tiny tobasco bottles so no faux flower of any kind was necessary.  Wrap the wire around your bottle, stretch the end out several inches and then bend the end to attach onto your hat.  I will show the way to bend the wire in a picture below as that will make more sense than me describing it.
This is how you bend the wire so that it clips or attaches onto the brim of your hat.
  Once you've finished your bends, you will notice that it makes 3 prongs/loops.  Simply take the center loop and lift it slightly as you slide this onto the brim of your cap so that the center loop/prong is on top and the others are underneath. 

To finish, just heat up your small nail and stick it through the center of the plastic bottle cap, fill it with nectar, attach it to your ball cap brim and you go relax out on the porch in your favorite chair.  These are fun to make and experiment with.  Once again, if you would rather have me make one for you, click here.

Now for what is probably our most bizarre and unique feeder.  The "clear tube suction cup window feeder" has been awesome for our family to see these amazing birds drinking up close.  We can see their beaks insert, the bubbles they often blow into the feeder itself, etc.  If you like seeing these details right up close just outside your window, this is the feeder for you and I will show you how I made them.
First, I actually just happened to have some extra flexible, clear tubing about an inch in diameter lying around the house.  Once again, the idea to make it came to me on a night when I couldn't seem to get to sleep.  I remembered the tubing and thought it would be cool to make a hummingbird feeder our of it.  I got up the next day and set to work.  After trying several experimental ideas, I settled on the one you see below because frankly, the birds liked it the best and it didn't leak. 
For the sake of not taking up the entire window (and because some bedroom windows are not as large as others) I decided on cutting the tubing into about 7" lengths.  I dug out some of the corks we had in the craft box (honestly the hardest part of this whole project was finding two corks that fit into the ends of the tubing) as well as 2 tiny "I"-screws, pulled off another blossom from the dollar store faux flower bouquet, gathered up some baling wire, a lighter, a nail and two of the hanger-type suction cups and got to work.
I eye-balled the center of the tubing, heated my nail and made a drink hole large enough to stick the plastic base of the cloth flower blossom.  Next I screwed a tiny "I"screw into the top of each of my 2 little corks. 

I filled the tube with nectar, stuck the cork back in, took the two suction cup hangers with hooks outside, licked them and stuck them just wide enough to hold the "I"-screwed corks without pulling them out and I tried it out.  Honestly it worked ok, but not great until I decided to add the wire wrap for a perch.  As soon as I did, it was magic.

Because it is difficult for me to explain clearly, I am sticking another pic of the wire perch above.  As you can see, it isn't difficult to do at all. (As you can also see, we decided to paint the wire bright red which went nicely with the bright red flower bud.  Do whatever you like to make it fun.)

Of all my feeders around my house (and I'm gonna be honest, there are a lot) they keep hitting the clear tubing the most, much to the delight of my kids.  I liked the unique design and the closeness and crystal clear quality that allows for much more detailed viewing of these amazing little birds.  I hope you have as much enjoyment from them as we have.  If you would like one, but don't want to make one right this second, click here and I can make one for you!  Enjoy!

(Quick note: to fill these up, pull out one cork, put your finger over the drink hole and pour the nectar in, then replace your cork and you are ready to go!)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

DIY Antique Ice Tongs paper towel holder

I love functional antiques!  So when I was deciding on ways to dispense our ever-needed paper towels, I decided on some antique ice tongs.  Having found and purchased a pair of inexpensive ice tongs, there just remained the question of how to finish the dispenser.
     I gave it some thought for several days.  There are a lot of great ways to do something like this.  I could use a pvc pipe or a small metal pipe or a dowel or any number of materials.  I could use some spring loaded tubes or elastic bands to keep the dispenser tube in place, etc., etc.  After some consideration, I decided I wanted to keep the antique feel of old wood and metal.
   I hunted around and found several old, weathered and broken pieces of wooden handles that once belonged to shovels or pitchforks or rakes or something like that.
     I measured about an inch longer on each side of a regular tube of paper towels, selected my chunk of wood and with my chop saw, cut it to length.

When the antique ice tongs are suspended by their handle, they are designed to grip what is in the tongs.  I decided to give the tongs a little help by drilling in the ends of my wooden dispensor about a 1/2 inch or so.  I had a head start on this because one of the ends of my dispensor already had a drilled end.

instead of using a spring or an elastic band I decided to use the natural effect of the ice tongs to hold the wooden handle/dispensor.  

  I tried it out and everything worked great!  I wanted to seal the whole project up to protect it and to make it easy to wipe down and clean so i sprayed the entire thing with a clear enamel.  After it dried, I added two small nails to hang it, and it was finished!