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How to Build a Mason Jar Bird Feeder

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.


This fun project can help keep backyard birds fed during the winter.


  • 1″ x 8″ x 5′ pine board cut into the following seven pieces:
    • 7-1/2″ x 7-1/2″
    • 6″ x 6″
    • 7-1/2″ x 10-1/2″
    • 6-3/4″ x 10 1/2″
    • 5-1/4″ x 5-1/4″ (cut in half diagonally to make two gables)
    • 6-1/4″ x 4″
  • Two 3′ lengths of rope or paracord
  • 1-quart wide-mouth Mason jar with lid ring
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • 1-3⁄4″ hole saw
  • Drill bit slightly larger than the rope or paracord
  • 1/4″, 1/8″ and 1/16″ drill bits
  • Four small screws or nails (to attach lid ring to base)
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Wood glue
  • Screwdriver
  • 34 1-1⁄4″ exterior wood screws
  • 18-gauge wire
  • Four 1⁄4″ dowels, 1-1⁄2″ long
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper
  • Birdseed



Step 1: Cut the seven wood pieces as indicated above and sand them.


Step 2: Find the center of the large square of wood by drawing pencil lines from corner to corner and side to side. Place the lid ring in the center of the square and trace around the inside and outside. Locate and mark the rope holes. Mark the center of each feeder cup hole. Drill out the feeder cup holes with the 1-3/4″ hole saw. Sand the top edge of each hole so it is slightly rounded. Cut off the corners.


Step 3: Center, glue and screw the small square of wood onto the bottom of the big square. Make sure to predrill and countersink all screws. From the top, drill a 1/8″ drain hole through the center of each feeder cup hole. Drill the rope holes. Drill four 1/4″ holes, about 5/8″ deep, in the center of each side of the base. Glue the dowels into the holes, leaving 1″ showing. Let dry.


Step 4: Glue and screw the roof together. Screw the jar stop in place. Drill the roof rope holes so they are straight above the rope holes in the base. Apply the linseed oil to the roof and base, and let dry for 24 hours.


Step 5: Drill four 1/16″ holes through the jar lid ring. Attach the ring to the base. Feed the first rope straight up through the front of the base and up through the roof rope holes, then feed it back down through the holes on the opposite side. Do the same with the second rope on the back of the feeder. Tie knots at the bottom of the feeder base. Make them loose enough so you can adjust them. Fill the Mason jar with birdseed. Slide the roof up the rope high enough to screw on the jar. Lower the roof back down so the jar stop rests on top of the Mason jar. Adjust the knots until the feeder hangs straight. If you are using paracord, melt the ends to keep the ropes from unraveling.


Step 6: Wrap the wire around the two top loops as shown and hang the feeder.


Check out these photos of the completed project sent to us by Boys’ Life readers. If you have a photos of a BL Workshop project, please use the form below to send them to us.

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13 Comments on How to Build a Mason Jar Bird Feeder

  1. How far in do you drill the holes for the hanging cords?

  2. Goodgamer/ // March 21, 2021 at 6:46 pm // Reply

    Super cool!

  3. Super coll

  4. You’ll need ropes at least 4′ long each, not 3′ like the plan says.

  5. Pardon me Sir, may I borrow your Grey Poupon?

  6. How do you get rid of the squirrels?

  7. Be careful to measure the lumber before purchasing. Boards labeled 1″ x 8″ are really 3/4 ” x 7-1/4″.

  8. Be careful when buying the wood. The wood labeled 1″ by 8″ sold at Home Depot is actually 3/4″ by 7-1/4″. So borrow a tape measure or ruler at the store and measure before deciding to buy it.

  9. Like it

  10. If you’re using sunflower seeds make the openings a little deeper

  11. It’s a very cool project!

  12. Good design, but the openings for the seeds can get clogged sometimes when the seeds get wet and stick together.

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