Decorating Plastic Bottles to Make Bird Feeders

Updated November 21, 2016

Make homemade bird feeders from plastic milk jugs, 2-liter soda bottles or any other plastic bottle in little time. Once you finish making a plastic bottle bird feeder, decorating it adds a personal touch, making the feeder truly unique. If you are looking for decorating ideas for you or your little ones on how to decorate plastic bottle bird feeders, a few examples will help spark the creative ideas.


Before painting the outside of the plastic bottle, prepare it to take the paint. Rub the outside of the bottle with sandpaper to scuff it up. The smooth surface of most bottles makes it difficult for paint to stick. Scuffing it gives it a longer lasting design. When painting the feeder, the choices are endless. A few ideas include a mosaic, pictures of flowers or a solid colour. When making a hummingbird feeder, for example, use red to paint it, since hummingbirds like the colour red. Ensure that the paint is completely dry before hanging the feeder.

Gluing Decorations

Either glue decorations on the outside of the bottle instead of painting it or add them after the paint has dried. Apply glue to the bottle and then add glitter in a pattern or smooth it over the bottle. Small silk flowers around the mouth of a hummingbird feeder helps attract the birds. Alternatively, for an all-natural look, glue leaves, sticks or dried flowers to the surface of the bottle. Avoid live flowers that will wilt. Allow the glue to dry completely before using the feeder to help ensure that the decorations do not fall off immediately.

Papier Mache

Scuff the outside of the bottle first using sandpaper. The textured surface helps the papier mache adhere better to the bottle. Dip strips of coloured paper, such as tissue paper, into slightly diluted craft glue. Pull the paper strips through your fingers to remove the excess glue and then apply the strips to the bottle in any pattern you would like. Use the strips to make a random pattern or a specific design. Allow the glue to dry completely.

Words of Caution

No matter what style of decorating you choose, remember the safety of the birds. When choosing paints, look for nontoxic ones. Acrylic or craft paints work well, as do watercolours. Utilise craft glues that are also nontoxic for both gluing decorations and for papier mache. Only use as much glue you need. Choose decorations for the outside that do not pose a choking hazard. Avoid small beads or pom poms that may be mistaken for birdseed. Inspect the bird feeder once or twice a week to check for damage to the decoration. If paint is peeling or decorations are falling off, remove the bottle to avoid a potential choking hazard for the birds.

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