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2-Hour Project: How to Build a Cantina Bird Feeder

This two-hour project is a fun and clever way to attract some feathery friends to your yard, and to hone your woodworking skills while doing it.

Cantina Bird Feeder Lede FeaturedFamily Handyman
Bird feeders are an incredible way to enjoy the best of wildlife. They involve about as little work as possible for the most enjoyment when sitting and reading a book on your porch or working in the yard. You can pay a fair amount of money for one of these, and even more for one that looks like it is made by hand. So save yourself some money, build one that is actually made by hand and make it fun for yourself and your feathered friends. Here's how to build a bird feeder like this:

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Time
A few hours
Complexity
Beginner
Cost
$20-50

Build this bird feeder from standard pine boards or from pressure treated lumber. Treated boards will give you long-term rot resistance, but also have a disadvantage: Treated lumber contains a lot of moisture, so you’ll have to let it dry for at least two weeks before painting it. Treated lumber also tends to cup or bow as it dries. Either type of lumber will contain knots. If you don’t like the knotty look, buy an extra board or two so you can use the knot-free sections.

You can use just about any wine or liquor bottle for this how to build a bird feeder project. Photo 1 and 4 show you how to customize the parts to suit your bottle. And you can use any drink glass that has a flat base.

Securing the bottle in the feeder is very important. No matter how you display the project, something as simple as wind and rain can alter the bottle enough to knock it out of its perch and spill a lot of bird feed or break glass all over the ground. We used 3/8 in. adhesive-backed rubber weatherstrip placed on the inside of both braces (part F) to secure the bottle. You can find this product in the hardware section in most home centers and online. Below is the complete list of what you will need to buy at your local home center and liquor store.

How to Build a Bird Feeder

Materials

  • 3’ 1 x 8 Board (1)
  • 6’ 1 x 4 Board (1)
  • 2’ 3/8” Dowel (1)
  • Liquor/Wine Bottle
  • Glass
  • Bottle Caps (4)
  • Mirror Clips (3)
  • 3/8” Adhesive-Backed Rubber Weatherstrip
  • 1-1/2” Trim Head Screws (20)
  • 5-Gallon Bucket
  • Hot Glue

Tools

  • Jigsaw
  • Drill/Driver
  • Clamps
  • Speed Square
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Utility Knife

Cutting List

Alcoholic Bird Feeder Cutting List

Cut the sides

Alcohol Bird Feeder Cut the Sides

Angle your jigsaw to 45 degrees and cut the sides (part C) to the heights of your bottle and glass added together and then subtract 2 in. Ours ended up being about 15 in., but this will almost certainly be different for your project so plan accordingly.

Make the keyhole for the bottle

Alcohol Bird Feeder Make Keyhole

Cut a circle with a 2-1/2-in. hole saw in the center of the bottle holder board (part B). Then, use your jigsaw and square to create a 1-1/2-in. wide channel that will fit the neck of your bottle.

Fasten the sides to the base

Alcohol Bird Feeder Fasten sides to base

Use a scrap piece of wood as a guide and screw the sides 3/4 in. from the edges of the base.

Attach the bottle holder to the sides

Alcohol Bird Feeder Attach bottle holder

Mockup the assembly to find the correct height of the bottle holder (part B). Cut some scrap wood to hold up the bottle holder to the correct height so it stays level. Drill pilot holes and screw into the bottle holder from the outside of the feeder.

Mount the roof

Alcohol Bird Feeder Mount the roof

Screw the longer roof piece (part D) to one end of the shorter roof piece (part E) and attach the roof to the tops of the sides with screws. Be sure to drill pilot holes so that you know the screws will keep the roof in line.

Create and attach the braces

Alcohol Bird Feeder Create the braces

Cut the 1×4 pine to 10 in. pieces. Miter a 45-degree angle into the ends, leaving 3/4 in. on the ends. Mark 3/4 in. from the edges and use a 5-gallon bucket to mark an arc on the board. Clamp the board to the work surface and cut the arc with a jigsaw. Screw the braces to the sides. Cut the adhesive-backed rubber weatherstrip to 3 in. with a utility knife. Peel the backing and attach the strips to the inside of the braces.

Attach the mirror clips to the base of the feeder

Alcohol Bird Feeder Mirror clips

Mark a centerline on the base. Set your glass onto the center of the base and screw the mirror clips to the base, securing the glass to the assembly.

Put in the bar stools

Alcohol Bird Feeder Bar stools

Cut your dowel to 4 in. pieces. Plan out where you want the bar stools and drill 1/4-in.-deep pilot holes with a 3/8-in. drill bit into the base. Create an “L” guide with scrap 1×4 to make sure you drill plumb into the base. Hot glue the bottle caps to the top of the dowels to create the final bar stool look. Once you you finish, you can paint/finish the bird feeder anyway you would like. We went a little crazy and tried to keep the cantina style with our paint styling. We used some basic acrylic paints and primer that you can purchase at any craft store.

Tech Art

Alcohol Bird Feeder Tech Art

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