DISCLAIMER: I received free products from Goodwill Industries of Arkansas in exchange for writing this post. Though this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
Spring is here, time to spruce up my yard. What better way than to make a bird feeder to hang in my front yard? Better yet, why not make up a bunch of them so I can hang one in my yard and give others to family and friends?
I'd been wanting to give the bowl & plate bird feeder a try for a while, and this weeks' Goodwill project was the perfect opportunity. You can find inexpensive plates and bowls at Goodwill. The plate and bowl don't need to match each other, so mix it up all you want.
I'm using a white plate for the top and a light blue cereal bowl for the bottom.
The plate at the top of the bird feeder gives a little shelter for the birds and also helps keep the squirrels away. Keep in mind that the plate will be upside down, so you may not see much of the design on the top of the plate. The bowl at the bottom will hold the birdseed. The birds can perch right on the side of the bowl and have a little meal. You will need a few tools and materials to complete this project. A drill or drill press is essential to this project and without either, you will not be able to make a bird feeder. If you don't have either, you might want to read some drill reviews or drill press reviews and invest in a power tool. You can choose either but once you have the tool, you'll be able to complete numerous other DIY projects.
- Plate and bowl from Goodwill
- ½" tile or glass bit
- Drill and/or drill press
- ?" diameter threaded metal rod, 8" long. (We bought a longer piece and my husband used a hack saw to cut it down.)
- 6 1½" washers with ½" holes
- 6 ?" washers with ½" holes
- 7 ?" nuts
- Eye bolt with 3/8" diameter threads
- 2 channel locks or pliers (to tighten nuts)
- Masking tape
Not everybody will automatically have all of this equipment ready and waiting at home, so things like a galvanised threaded bar may require an investment from a reliable online seller.
Let's make a bird feeder!
- Mark the centers of your plate and bowl with ScotchBlue masking tape and a pen. The masking tape will help keep the drill bit from slipping on the slick surface of the dish.
- Drill the holes using a hand drill or drill press with a tile or glass bit. This is the trickiest step of the whole thing. Here are some tips:
- Use a tile or glass bit! Our first attempt was with a masonry bit. It took FOREVER to drill through, and the plate got quite hot in the process. Which leads to the next tip...
- Keep your dish from getting too hot! If it gets too hot it will crack!! (Ask me how I know.) The friction of the drill will heat it up rather quickly. Stop every so often and let the dish cool down. After the dish has cooled a bit, dump out the dust and then wipe with a wet rag to get rid of any remaining dust and to keep the dish cool.
- Don't touch the hot part of the dish with your bare hands. It can burn you!
- A drill press will save strain on your arms and shoulders. We used the drill press on the bowl, but the plate wouldn't fit in the throat so we used a handheld drill for that one.
- If you're using a handheld drill, put a piece of wood under your dish to give a place for that drill bit to go once it pushes through the dish.
- When the tip of your bit breaks through the bottom, turn the dish over and drill from the back.
Your dishes are drilled! The hard part is over!!! Do a little happy dance, then get back to work.
- Thread a small nut, small washer, and large washer on the eye bolt.
- Now add the plate upside down (bottom facing the loop of the eye bolt), then a large washer, small washer, and a nut.
- Use nuts to join the eye bolt with the threaded rod. Position one nut so half is on the eye bolt and half is on the threaded rod. Move the nut above it (on the eye bolt) so it sits flush against the one that is joining the two pieces. Then, add another nut to the threaded rod, also flush against the joining nut. You should have 3 nuts all flush against each other. Use channel locks or pliers to tighten them against each other for a secure hold.
- Bring the plate and washers and top nut on the eye hook down so they sit on top of the 3 nuts. Hand tighten. DO NOT USE A TOOL TO TIGHTEN OR YOU MAY CRACK THE PLATE.
- Now for the bowl. Thread a nut on to the threaded rod, roughly 1-2" from the end.
- Then, add a small washer, a big washer, the bowl face up (facing the plate), another big washer, another small washer, and finally 2 nuts.
- Move the 2 nuts to the bottom of the threaded rod. Tighten against each other with channel locks or pliers to lock the bottom.
- Bring washers and bowl down so they sit above the bottom nuts. Hand tighten. DO NOT USE A TOOL FOR THIS STEP OR YOU MAY CRACK THE BOWL.
Hang it in a pretty spot in your yard and fill the bowl with bird seed.