DIY Hummingbird Feeder

A while back, Julia expressed interest in a hummingbird feeder, but I wasn’t excited about paying 15+ dollars for some molded plastic.  I told her I would make one instead!  Something that I thought could be pretty complicated turned out to be pretty easy.

DIY hummingbird feeder
The parts I needed for the hummingbird feeder:
-Powerade bottle
-red, shallow, square tupperware container
-thin rope
-cutting utensil (I used a knife)
-hummingbird food (can be bought or made yourself)

First, take the lid off of the powerade bottle (be sure to hold on to it!) and mark the center of the top of the tupperware container (mine is not very well centered).  Now cut a whole in the center of the tupperware top the size of the opening to the powerade bottle.  Once that’s done, check to make sure that the powerade bottle fits through the hole and the lid can be screwed back on.  The hole needs to be small enough so that when the lid is screwed back onto the bottle, the tupperware lid is stuck between the two.

DIY hummingbird feeder

Next, cut four small holes near the corners of the top of the tupperware container for the hummingbirds to drink out of.  Make sure to leave enough of a ledge for the hummingbirds to sit on.

One of the trickier holes to cut is in the top of the powerade bottle.  The hole needs to be big enough so that the hummingbird food fills the tupperware container, but not so big that it overflows.  In the end, the humingbird food should only come up to the level of the powerade lid and won’t actually fill the whole tupperware container.

Put the gatorade bottle through the hole in the tupperware lid (from the top) and fasten the gatorade bottle lid to the bottom of the tupperware lid.

DIY hummingbird feeder side view

Once all of the holes are cut, it’s time to get the feeder ready to hang.  Powerade bottles are shaped nicely such that you can hang them easily with thin rope (I didn’t have a gatorade bottle, it might be the same with them).  I tied two loops around the bottle, one loop for each indentation and then tied the hanging rope from these two sturdy loops.  It is a pretty sturdy hanging method and has already survived a couple of thunderstorms.

DIY hummingbird feeder hanging

Within 3 days I heard hummingbirds near the feeder and saw them on the fourth!  While this is probably because of the large number of hummingbirds in our area, hopefully your homemade hummingbird feeder will attract them too!

DIY hummingbird feeder

DIY hummingbird feeder


SAFETY UPDATE: Some concerns have been raised about our feeder design and hummingbird food dye. While there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that red dye is actually dangerous to hummingbirds, the red color is the food is not necessary to attract hummingbirds as long as your feeder itself is red. We will be using homemade sugar + water with no dye when we put the feeder back out this summer. Also, there appear to be some feeder designs that allow hummingbirds to get stuck in the feeder. Ours actually has quite wide holes in the top (wider than they look in the picture above – maybe hole-punch sized) – so hummingbirds are not required to stick their beaks in straight down. You can see in the picture of one feeding above that it is actually at quite an angle. There is also no gap around the outside for the birds to get stuck in. We had great use of our feeder all last summer with no hummingbirds getting stuck.

37 thoughts to “DIY Hummingbird Feeder”

  1. I loved the recycle effect of this Hummingbird feeder. I wonder if using a paper punch for the 4 smaller holes would work better! This is a great craft for Pre-Schoolers to make. Thank you very much. Can’t wait to make one with my Grandaughter. I am a follower.

  2. You shouldn’t put red dye in the sugar syrup, it makes their eggs thin which means they most likely won’t have babies…

    1. I believe this rumor was started by a newspaper article citing a fabricated source, which was then quoted in a larger magazine. All of the commercial hummingbird food we could find had red dye in it as well. However, I also have read that the red dye is not necessary for attracting hummingbirds.

      1. Red die HAS been proven to harm the birds. Red is NOT needed to attract the birds. I am an experienced Humming Bird enthusiast. Keep you feeder clean, use fresh home made juice.

        1. I posted above that red dye is not needed to attract the birds. If you have a source that proves red dye is harmful – we would love to see it. Either way we will probably switch to making our own hummingbird food without dye just to be safe.

  3. This design is flawed. Hummers would have to put their beaks in straight down,which could trap them,they could die. Needs more of an angled entry for the feeder holes. As far as nectar, make your own.One cup sugar,four cups water.The birds prefer this over store bought as it is closer to the fructose in real flowers.

    1. While I appreciate your concern, I have seen designs that would trap them because of a bad perch, but this does not have that flaw. There is no gap for the hummingbirds to get trapped in, and the holes are actually quite wide – so hummingbirds do not in fact have to stick their beaks in straight down. Hundreds of hummers have already enjoyed the feeder, and happily none have been trapped!

    1. Can I “Like” this status?? Poor guy just tried to show us his awesome bird feeder design and he’s being attacked on all sides… I think it’s a great design! And I hope he keeps on creating!!

  4. I have never used red food coloring in the sugar water and we always have an abundance of Hummingbirds at our feeders. I figure if red dye is not good for me it sure can’t be good for the small birds.

  5. I have just gotten done reading extensively about the collapsing of the bee colonies. There are studies that are linking it back to GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms). I cannot help but wonder, if GMO crops have such an impact on bees after they have been exposed, what about the hummingbirds drinking our sugar water? Most sugar, just so you are all aware, is derived from sugar beets… a GMO crop/Monsanto crop. I see no reason to take a chance, being that I have literally hundreds of hummers every summer and enjoy them immensely. I’m not saying that there is proof that GMO’s can harm them, but just like I’m not taking any chances with giving my family GMO’s, I’m certainly not going to feed it to my birds. If you’re interested, give GMO/Monsanto a quick Google. You’ll see.
    To avoid taking any chance, we must make certain that our sugar says it’s 100% CANE SUGAR, which as of this writing, is NOT GMO.
    I’d like to also say that some of the comments on here are quite disturbing. Nit-picking at people because they spelled something wrong or put a space between something, and all this tension about the red dye is so unlike other birders that I know. It’s distressing that we cannot come together and even have a conversation. Birding in our way is connecting with nature, and it’s awfully disturbing to read such down-right nastiness between people who claim to want the kind of peace that accompanies our passion with hummingbirds.
    I hope you all have a blessed summer with your birds, and be kind to one another. 🙂

  6. I just made a feeder using your instructions. I’m so glad I could do this using things I already had and it only took 5 minutes! Thanks for the D.I.Y.

  7. Thank you for the instructions for the bird feeder! We just boil water let it cool then add the sugar. The birds still find the sugar water without the red coloring. Thank you again!!

  8. I have 2 hummingbird feeders next to each other and I tried an experiment last year. I put my 1 part sugar to 4 parts water mixture in one feeder and a store bought brand mixture in the other feeder. I did this after they had been feeding on my mix only. They would not even go close to the feeder with the store bought mix and the mixture was red. My mixture is clear. As soon as I changed it back to my mixture, they started feeding again. So for my birds color does not make a difference and they deffinity do not like store bought food. I have a question about this feeder that was made. It does look like the birds actually have a place to perch or stop and feed. That could make a difference on whether their beaks could or could not get stuck. My mother has a store bought feeder that is simmular in style to this home made one. The only difference is the red top has a small curve to it, I believe it is a Humm Zinger. And just about everyone sells that feeder. So I think that this feeder should be safe as long as the holes are large enough. All you would have to do is check the size with another feeder. I have wanted a nother feeder to put in another part of my yard and this is what i am going th try. Thanks for the efforf. Also remember to keep them the same place every year so they can find them easier. armymom

  9. Eddie, I’m so happy I found your post on Pinterest! I bought a few hummingbird feeders this year and they’ve been SWARMING with birds. (I attribute that to homemade clear nectar and zero cats on my deck) Problem is: I can’t keep them full. Every single morning I fill all FOUR feeders and they drink them dry by nightfall. So, I bought some larger ones. Same problem, and increased nectar production became my focus. Today I dropped one of the smaller feeders off the deck and it broke. I pulled up your post and made my first upcycled feeder! I used a Gatorade bottle and a KFC coleslaw container. It’s decorated with red duct tape flowers and I used black shoestrings and a key ring to make the hanger. I love it and it’s three times larger than the one I dropped. Thank you! (If you email me, I will send you a photo of it.)

  10. This is a great idea! One of the simpler diy hummingbird feeder designs I have seen. I was looking through my kitchen for supplies, and found a ketchup bottle with the plastic flip-top style lid–I thought this would be easier to use than the powerade bottle as the lid already has a nice size hole in it and all you have to do is cut or break off the flip part of the lid. The bottle has a nice aesthetic shape, but no ridges good for tying a rope hanger so I am going to wrap the bottle with wire instead. Thank you for the inspiration!!!

  11. Have been searching for diy glad I found this one..looks super simple and can’t wait to try it Thanks!!!!

  12. My hummingbirds go through over a gallon of nectar every day and I’ve been looking for an easy way to get more feeders in the yard. Thanks for the great idea.

    As far as adding red dye is concerned, it’s a waste of time and money. My feeders full of clear, homemade nectar are mobbed with hummers. One part sugar to four parts water and you’re good to go – tap water is just fine. Do remember to change the nectar and rinse out the feeder every three days, especially if it’s really hot outside!

  13. This was a great inexpensive tutorial on how to make your own DIY hummingbird feeder. I made 2 just like this and they work perfectly. Thank you very much for sharing!! 🙂

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