Create a Tea Cup Bird Feeder for Your Garden

Using a few common tools and a ceramic or porcelain tea cup or other cup, bowl or container you can create a unique and very nice bird feeder. You will need a few tools to do this, a drill and masonry or ceramic drill bit. The items you need for this can be just about any type of tea cup or mug or some other kind of cup or bowl. You will also need a treaded rod and a couple of nuts and washers.

I found that 5/16 inch treaded rod works great with a washer on each side of a nut on top and bottom of the tea cup or whatever it is your using for the bird feed. I found some washers that have a neoprene rubber gasket on one side at a local hardware store that works great for the washer, it holds the cup on and is gentle against the ceramic. I put the first nut onto the threaded rod and then a washer with the rubber facing up then the cup or bowl and then the next washer with the rubber against the ceramic, then the last nut inside the cup.

I also found that the smaller threaded rod does not support the tea cups very well but that larger sizes are a bit more difficult to be drilling through the cups and saucers. If you use the smaller rod the feeder tends to bounce around and it would send the birds that landed on the feeder for a ride. The 5/16 inch size is a good size for the rod, I use a masonry or ceramic tile drill bit and a regular corded drill. The ceramic bits you can buy at a hardware or home supply store for about three to five dollars a piece, a whole kit of different sizes cost about $15. I bought the kit so I could use the different sizes for different projects I do around the house and for different crafts.

The drill should be a corded drill as it takes a few minutes to drill the hole through the cup and saucer or whatever you are using as a feeder. I say whatever you use as a feeder because I have used several different types of bowls and things made of ceramic for feeders. Here I have some kind of small bowl that is part of a candle set and a short larger bowl along with a regular coffee cup with saucer.

I have made several of these and have sold some, it just depends on what you like and want for a feeder if your making your own. You can pick up sets of cups and saucers at any thrift store pretty cheap and for less than at a regular store like Walmart. I found they have quite a variety of other things to use but you have to make sure you don’t get anything too heavy as it will be just like using the smaller rod and send the birds for a ride, which might be fun to watch but you do want to feed the birds with the feeder. You can use bowls, candy dishes or just about any kind of ceramic type of material. You should try to stay away from things like glass, as it is bit harder to drill through than ceramic and tends to chip and crack easily. Ceramic just like the tea cups or any kind of baked material, even stuff that says it can used for cooking like Bakeware or Stoneware works.

Start with whatever piece you are going to drill and put it upside down on a piece of scrap wood. Use a piece of masking tape on the spot you want to drill through to prevent the bit from skidding across the surface of the cup or saucer. If you are using a cup and saucer, drill through the saucer first and then place it on the cup upside down to mark a spot on the cup to drill with the cup centered on the saucer. Use a marker to mark the spot and then move the saucer, use a piece of masking tape so the bit stays put on the spot you want to drill through and drill through the cup. It will take a few seconds to drill through if the bit is newer but if you have used the bit a few times it may take a little longer to drill the hole. You should not push down too hard on the drill as you drill the hole, just move the drill around in a small circle with the bit in the same position on the piece as you are drilling, this seems to help as you are going into the ceramic.

When you are drilling the hole you may feel the bit go through the ceramic and start to create the hole in the piece all the way through the ceramic, you can start on the inside or other side of the piece once you have gotten a hole through to the other side. Make the hole as big as the threaded rod you have to use for the feeder. I used 5/16 inch threaded rod and a drill bit that was also 5/16 inch. To make the rod fit into the hole as you are drilling the hole move the drill around in circles as you move the drill up and down through the hole after the bit has gone all the way through. This will make the hole a little bit bigger and the rod will fit through it.

When the piece has the hole in it, you can put the threaded rod on and tighten it, I just used my fingers to tighten the nuts on, it does not need to be any tighter than that. Pu the first nut on the rod and then the washer with the rubber on it so that the cup, bowl or saucer is against the rubber, then put on the saucer, cup or bowl. Then put on the other rubber washer and then the nut and tighten. I spray painted the threaded rod before I used it, a flat black is fine, but you can paint it any color you want and get creative with it. You can make it look kind of like a flower with the green stem and some leaves like the kind I have shown. I also used some flowered vines on two of my bird feeders. You can buy just about anything you would like to use for the feeder pole; flowered, vines, leaves or something seasonal like fall colors or winter stuff like holly or evergreen. Use floral tape to hold the vines, plants or whatever on the threaded rod, this is a good way to hold them on. It is also cheap, a roll is around a dollar, you can also use electrical tape or friction tape.

One variation on this type of feeder that I have seen on the Internet is to hang the feeder with a hanger like the ones used for plants, you would just drill three holes in the saucer or rim of the bowl and use a chain plant hanger on the three holes. A wire hook in the hole would connect the hanger to the cup or saucer. You can glue the saucer to the cup with an epoxy or silicone sealant type glue, something that is waterproof.

The neat thing with this project is you can buy just about anything that is not too heavy for the feeder dish, and use whatever you like on the pole for the feeder. You can have the fun of shopping for the bowl or cup and other parts and then you get to try your hand at your own craft project. The tea cup bird feeder is not a very difficult project and does not take that much time to finish. It can be as simple or complicated as you would like to make it. You can also add anything you would like to the feeder or pole, Small fake butterflies or just about any kind of artificial flower, plant or wild growing thing.

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