Kiddie Craft: DIY Milk Carton Bird Feeder from Parents Magazine

A few of you asked for the instructions for making the milk carton bird feeder I featured in this post, so I scanned the original instructions from Parents Magazine to share with all of you.

How to Make a DIY Bird Feeder Out of an Upcycled Milk Carton

{click on photo to enlarge}

Tips They Didn’t Include:

*Although it doesn’t mention this in the instructions, it is extremely difficult to paint over a milk carton with acrylic paint.  It took me 5 coats to even get to the opacity shown above!!  (I swear, I studied that photo for near to 15 minutes trying to figure out how they got it that opaque-looking.)  I’d highly recommend either lightly sanding the surface, or ideally, applying a coat of primer first and then doing your acrylic paint.  That way it should be much easier to get a solid color to the feeder.

*Although this isn’t mentioned in the instructions either, since this bird feeder is probably going to be used outside (right?) a good coating of spray sealant is highly recommended.  Once my sprinklers hit it that acrylic paint cracked up completely.

How to Get Birds to Come to Your DIY Milk Carton Bird Feeder:

*place it slightly at or above (an adult’s) eye level, in a sheltered area

*place it away from squirrels, cats, or other predators that may scare away the birds

*make the opening only large enough for the type of bird you’re looking to feed (not large enough for squirrels or crows, etc)

*essentially it’s not the color of the feeder that attracts the birds, it’s more the location, accessibility, and food.  (Except for hummingbirds, who are attracted to the color red.)

*place something shiny, like a piece of metal, on the feeder.  Birds love shiny objects!


Hope that works for you guys!  It’s a super-fun craft to do with your kids (or even by yourself for your garden, deck, or patio!) – so definitely try it out.  Ours is drawing a number of birds to it every morning!

Happy DIY’ing!


~If you liked this craft, please share it!~

5 Comments on Kiddie Craft: DIY Milk Carton Bird Feeder from Parents Magazine

  1. Rebecca
    3.31.2014 at 7:34 am (1 year ago)

    I made a bird feeder from a milk carton (actually orange juice!) last summer. The birds have loved it, and it was wonderful watching them during the winter here in Knoxville, TN. Now the birds are migrating back, and the bird varieties have once again increased. I used spray paint used for plastic (rustoleum), and it has held up extremely well, plus it is opaque in just one coat and dries quickly. I love the way you and your boys decorated them – something I didn’t think of when I made mine. Thank you for the information and ideas. :-).
    Rebecca recently posted..Hiking Rainbow Falls Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains

    • carlyjcais
      4.01.2014 at 4:44 am (1 year ago)

      You’re welcome, Rebecca! :-) Aren’t the milk cartons just the perfect size for birds? And so cheap that if they fall apart you can easily make another one (like ours eventually did). For our next one this Summer, I will definitely try out the Rustoleum spray paint -thanks for the tip!

    • geno
      4.03.2015 at 4:13 pm (5 months ago)

      Try scratching the carton with sand paper and then apply primer then paint it

      • carlyjcais
        4.05.2015 at 3:58 pm (5 months ago)

        That is a great idea, geno! That will definitely help it last longer and the paint stick :-)


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