How to make cup & saucer bird feeders

Written by jane smith
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How to make cup & saucer bird feeders
You can make bird feeders from cups and saucers from an old china service. (tasset en porcelaine (2) image by fotogisèle from

Give new life to leftover cups and saucers from incomplete sets of china by turning them into bird feeders. Cup-and-saucer bird feeders add ambience to your outdoor rooms. By varying the china used, you can add styles from shabby chic to Mediterranean to your garden. Collect three cup-and-saucer sets to make a wind-chime-inspired feeder that has a copper roof to protect the suet feed packed into the cups that will dangle beneath.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Yardstick
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Power drill, 1/16-inch diameter, titanium-coated high-speed bit
  • Set of jeweller's files
  • 15-inch diameter, 20 gauge thickness copper circle
  • Cardboard sheet or small tarp
  • Clear spray lacquer
  • Play sand
  • Cyanoacrylate adhesive
  • 3 ceramic cups with matching saucers in coordinating, bright colours and patterns
  • 6.8kg. test, plastic-coated steel fishing line
  • 10mm decorative copper or glass beads
  • 1-inch brass hex nut
  • 2-inch "O" ring

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  1. 1

    Find the approximate centre point of the copper circle by laying a yardstick across it and moving it until the right edge of the circle measures 15 inches from the left end of the ruler. Draw a line along the edge of the ruler from left to right.

  2. 2

    Turn the circle 90 degrees and measure again. Draw a second line. Use the intersection of the two lines as your centre point.

  3. 3

    Drill a 1/16-inch diameter hole at the centre point of the circle using a hand-held power drill and a 1/16-inch diameter, titanium-coated high-speed bit. Drill three more holes 4 inches from the outer edge of the circle, equally distant from one another. Deburr the holes using a set of jeweller's files.

  4. 4

    Lay the copper circle on a tarp or piece of cardboard. Spray with clear lacquer using short, even strokes. While lacquer is still wet, sprinkle with clean, white play sand. Allow lacquer to dry four to six hours and shake any loose sand off the lacquered copper circle.

  5. 5

    Coat the circle with clear lacquer a second time and sprinkle with sand again. Allow lacquer to dry overnight. shake off loose sand and coat the circle a third time. Allow to dry overnight. This will provide a rough landing surface for your feathered visitors.

  6. 6

    Cut 30-inch, 36-inch and 40-inch pieces of 6.8kg. test, plastic-coated steel fishing line. Fold each piece in half.

  7. 7

    Pass the looped end of the shortest doubled length of fishing line through the handle of one the china cups. Pass the two loose ends through the loop and pull the resulting lark's head knot tight against the cup handle. Repeat for the other two cups.

  8. 8

    Apply cyanoacrylate adhesive to the bottom of the cups, one at a time, and attach each one to a matching saucer. Allow the adhesive to dry overnight.

  9. 9

    Push the loose ends of the fishing lines for each cup and saucer combination through one of the three holes in the copper circle. Pass the ends through one of the copper or glass beads and tie them together using your choice of knot.

  10. 10

    Apply a drop of cyanoacrylate adhesive to each knot to prevent it from coming apart. Allow the adhesive to dry. The beads prevent the fishing line from being pulled back through the copper circle by the weight of the cup and saucer combinations.

  11. 11

    Cut a 32-inch length of 6.8kg. test, plastic-coated steel fishing line and fold it in half. Pass the looped end through a 1-inch brass hex nut. Pull the loose ends through the loop to make a lark's head knot.

  12. 12

    Pass the line through the hole in the centre of the copper circle and tie the ends to a 2-inch diameter "O" ring. The hex nut keeps the fishing line from pulling back through the hole in the copper circle when you hang the feeder.

Tips and warnings

  • Melt 1/4 cup lard and 1/4 cup peanut butter in a saucepan and add 2 cups cup bird seed. Mix together and pack the seed mixture into each of the cups. A Home for Wild Birds advises adding nuts, fruits and berries to attract juncos, wax wings, mockingbirds and orioles. Allow the lard to solidify before hanging your feeder from a shepherd's hook plant rod or a tree branch.

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