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Last Updated on May 28, 2021 by Katherine

If you are looking for a cost-effective way to attract and feed the birds this winter, I highly recommend making yourself a stylish milk jug bird feeder. As you can guess from the title, you’ll need an empty milk jug (be sure to wash it out before starting). Together with some twine, a craft knife, and some paints, you can spend the afternoon creating something to lure in some feathered friends.

This craft is perfect no matter what your skill level, and you could be able to complete this craft in under an hour (not including the time you spend waiting for paint coats to dry). I also love how inexpensive it is to create something fresh. This craft cost around $20.

Ready to get started?

Everything You Need To Get Started:

To make a milk jug bird feeder, you don't need a lot of materials!
  • Empty and washed milk jug
  • Twine rope
  • Craft Knife (or Exacto Knife)
  • Twigs or popsicle sticks
  • Acrylic Craft Paint (or paint that will work on plastic)
  • Assorted paintbrushes (I used foam and then smaller detailed brushes as well)

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Let’s get started!

Bonus Research Tip

I recommend spending a little of time reading up on your native birds. Color attracts and repels birds, so you’ll want to pick colors that will attract birds in your area.

Try googling your region + “birds” and see what turns up.

Check if your area has a local bird watching group, they may have a website with some tips for you as well!

If you aren’t sure, a safe bet is to select some earthy toned colors as all birds prefer those, whereas brighter colors can sometimes seem toxic to birds.

Prep Your Milk Jug

I start by washing the jug; you can just use dish soap. Fill it up and let it soak for a few minutes or hours. Rinse out and let air dry.

Once your milk jug is rinsed out, it's ready for cutting!

Once you’ve rinsed out your jug, let it air dry and then cut out the holes you need!

Start with a sharpie pen and mark where you want to cut out!

Then, with a knife or Exacto blade, cut out what you want.

Just Add Paint

I went for a grave vine theme because I live in a wine-producing region of the world (Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada), and I figured the birds around here are used to seeing that sort of thing.

I started by painting the whole jug a beautiful green. Allow the paint to dry between coats.

I started painting my feeder with green acrylic craft paint.

Next, I used black paint and a small brush to paint vines and some leaves. I have a few grapevines in my backyard, so I modeled the leaves somewhat after them.

I then used purple paint and dotted in little grape “clusters” on the jug until I was happy with my jug.

My milk jug is all viney and grapey now!

Once everything was dry, you can use a clear acrylic sealer to save your paint job from the elements Please do not place your bird seed in until it is all fully cured (check the sealer bottle for details). You can skip the sealer if you are putting the feeder in a sheltered spot.

If you aren’t crazy about grapevines, I highly recommend checking out Learn How to Make 69 DIY Homemade Bird Feeders Today from Homesthetics for other clever feeder ideas.

Adding Some Twigs or “Perches”

Once your paint is dry, you can cut smaller holes along the bottom to insert some twigs to act as perches for the birds. I have some trees on my property, so I foraged my own. Another option is to buy dried branches at your local Walmart or crafting store.

This is a perfect playground to forage for some twigs!

Once you have your twigs, use your handy knife to poke large enough holes in the jug to insert the twigs.

Once your paint is dry, you can use a craft knife to poke a few "twig" holes in.

How to Hang Your Milk Jug Bird Feeder

I see two options readily available to you when it comes time to hang your pretty and painted milk jug bird feeder. You could use the handle to hang it from a tree and use some good quality twine or rope to secure it on, or you could create a hanger from the lid.

If you’d like to take the lid hanging route, start by carefully drilling in two holes in the lid and loop your twine through those holes and then knot the top.

Next, you’ll want to glue that lid onto the jug; I recommend gorilla glue. I just dab a thin layer around the inside of the lid and pop that onto the jug and allow it to dry completely (Your package instructions will let you know how long it should take).

You’re ready to hang it up now!

Final Thoughts

I love using an old milk jug to make a bird feeder that will help encourage birds to hang around your property. Particularly in the winter when their food sources can be quite low, a feeder can assist them in surviving and thriving out in the wild.

I spent about an hour painting, so the longest bit of this craft is waiting for coats of paint and glue to dry. It’s a perfect upcycling craft because you’re taking something you might toss in the recycling bin (or worse, the garbage) and creating something useful. For some other upcycling ideas, check out Upcycling – 7 Awesome Ways to Get Started!

That is all for this week. Please share this post on your favorite social media network by using one of the share buttons or pin it to Pinterest!

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Until next time, stay crafty, my friends!

Storing your craft supplies efficiently will make you a master crafter in no time!

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