This modern bird feeder uses up small bits of scrap wood, but takes a bit of time to get the symmetry correct. These free building plans will take some of the guesswork out and have you feeding the birds in style!
One of my favourite things to do is to find something online and then try to build a version of it myself.
This modern bird feeder is one of those projects – and while my prototype isn’t perfect – the building plans in this post should have yours bang-on.
The bird feeder above uses a metal roof with metal dowels welded on. I haven’t tried metal work yet, so our feeder is going to look similar, but be made completely from wood.
(8) 8 ¾” x ¾” x ¾” (square dowels) with a 45° mitre cut on either end. The mitre cuts will run perpendicular to each other
(1) 10″ x 3″ x ¾” base
(2) 8″ x ¼” x ¾” sides
(2) 2 ¼” x ¼” x ¾” ends
Start by gluing up the squares that frame out the modern bird feeder using outdoor-appropriate wood glue and (optional) finishing nails, or clamp until dry.
Glue the 2″ end pieces between the 8″ side pieces (butt joint) and clamp or pin nail to hold until dry.
Glue the feeder box to the centre of the base and let dry.
Drill a small hole – or two – to allow for water drainage.
This is where a bit of symmetry comes in play; mark the modern bird feeder frames (both) where you want the feeder tray to sit. I moved the tray around until the ends of it sat equally outside of the frame on both sides. I also wanted to hide the ends of the feeder dish behind the frame.
Glue in place and reinforce with finishing nails. Note: only the base of the feeder tray will be attached to the square frame; the sides of the feeder section are inset slightly.
Glue the second square frame to the feeder tray and then clamp until dry.
So far the modern bird feeder is pretty easy right?
Here’s where it gets a teeny bit tricky…
You need to decide the spacing between the square frame of the feeder and the roof line. I went with ¾” to keep with the symmetry I was going for, but the inspiration picture has a much bigger gap in between. This matters because it will determine the length of your roof boards.
I suggest cutting your roof boards with a LOT of extra length so you can play around with it to get a look you like. The width of your roof sections will be 5 ½” by ¾” thick with a 45° mitre cut on one end.
Lay out your boards, as below, and vary the spacing between the square frame and where the roof will sit. Once you have a look you like, decide if you want the bottom of the roof line to line up with the angle of the bottom of the square (which was what I did), or if you want the lower mitre to line up with the centre seam as in the build plans above.
Once you’ve decided the spacing, length and angle, cut your roof boards.
Glue up the centre seam of the roof and let dry.
Cut two lengths of scrap wood to the thickness you wand the spacing between the roof and frame to be – you’ll need to insert the spacers when drilling your dowel holes.
Cut two extra pieces of scrap wood to ½” thickness to account for the offset between the roof and the feeder frame.
Mark your roof where you would like the dowels to go. The dowels will be inset the ½” of the roof overhang PLUS 3/8″ to the centre of the frame. I split the frame into roughly three sections and decided I wanted my dowels to be 2 ¾” in from the top and side of the frame.
Lay your modern bird feeder frame on top of the ½” scrap pieces of wood.
Lay your roof flat on your work surface. Insert your spacers, ¾” in my case, between the roof and the frame, then clamp the roof, spacer and frame together.
Using a ¼” drill bit, drill through all three layers of wood where you’ve marked on the roof.
Flip your feeder over and repeat on the other side. Your roof will look like above.
Thread ¼” wood dowels through the roof and the feeder frame, using the ¾” spacer to just keep everything spaced correctly. Use wood glue to hold the dowels in place and let dry.
With a flush cut saw, cut the ends of the dowels off and sand the roof and inside of the frame smooth so you don’t see the dowels.
Sand, stain, or paint as you like (and don’t forget to use an outdoor sealer).
I think my roof should have been a bit longer and should have lined up with the seams on the sides of the feeder frame – that’s why I adjusted the building plans to show that.
Not that the birds or squirrels will care. 😂
The feeder tray holds about 1 cup of seeds, but you could also fill it with oranges or peanuts etc to attract whatever species of birds you want. A suet block will also fit easily.
I was worried that an outdoor sealer – to protect your modern bird feeder for seasons to come – might not attract any birds. Can birds smell?
Regardless, it was a non-issue as I’ve had cardinals, chick-a-dees and a few squirrels clean me out regularly.
Pretty close to the inspiration piece eh?
And without any metal work necessary!!
Give this a try and if you can think of ways for me to improve my description of the modern bird feeder build, let me know. I’m not confident I explained it in a way that showed it as a relatively easy build. 🤦🏻♀️
Have a great one!