Curbly Original
How To: Make a DIY Modern Bird Feeder

by Chris Gardner

How To: Make a DIY Modern Bird Feeder

If I were a pet owner...buddy, my guys would be living in style. Mod dog houses, pet beds, Eames dot collars, you name it. After all, they'd have to go in my house, which doesn't contain a lick of traditional nor country.

But, I'm not a pet owner. I have quite strong allergies to most any creature, and so, my only option is to share the modernism with the little guys who live outside my house. And since there's no way I'm doing anything kind to the squirrels and bunnies who snatch at my veggies, I'm looking to give some style to the birds.

So, I made a nice, low-slung mod bird feeder that echoes the long, low houses of Eichler-era California modernism, and you should too! Here's how:  

Materials and Tools:

  • 5" candle plate (available at the craft or home decor store)
  • 1/32" galvanized aluminum sheet, at least 7 x 4 3/4"
  • 10-24 hardware:
    • 2" eye bolt
    • threaded rod or long bolt (with the top cut off)
    • 3x nuts and washers
    • 1x locking nut
  • 1/4" hollow aluminum tube (hardware store or hobby shop)
  • Saw for cutting metal: hacksaw, coping saw, angle grinder, etc
  • Ruler, pencil, and masking tape
  • Electric drill and drill bits
  • Pliers
  • Two-part metal epoxy, such as JB Weld
  • Spray paint and primer
  • Clamps (recommended)

Please note: My design was inspired by the by Marcel Wanders' bird feeder for Droog Design. It's a beautiful piece of work, but at $100, beyond my budget. Mine cost around $9.00.

created at: 04/19/2011

1. Begin by taking off the little feet from the candle plate. Mine snapped off easily with a little twist of some locking pliers. Or, I guess you could leave them on, if you wanted your feeder to sit atop a flat surface. Then, drill a 3/16" hole in the center.

To find the center of the circle, check out this helpful guide from our eBook, Make It! Mid-Century Modern. Which, you will note, is on sale for a mere $5.00!

created at: 04/19/2011

created at: 04/19/2011

2. Cut the galvanized aluminum to it's final size of 4 1/2" x 7". I like using a hacksaw with a bi-metal blade to cut metal, but you could try tin snips, a rotary tool, or whatever you have. They even make metal blades for handheld jig saws.

Then, drill a 3/16" hole in the dead center of your roof. When drilling metal, go slowly and apply nice, steady pressure.

created at: 04/19/2011

3. Find a nice sturdy straight edge, like a table or a workbench, and use the edge to bend your roof to about a 50-degree angle, right down the center. Using scrap wood and clamps to provide even pressure is recommended if you have the tools, but if not, no worries. Aluminum is soft and easy to bend.

created at: 04/19/2011

4. So, as this point you have your base and roof, and they just need to be held together. Begin by threading a nut all the way up the eye bolt and placing it through the top. Then, add a nut to wedge the roof in place (don't go crazy with the tightening, you'll be epoxying it into place later), and figure out how far away you'd like the base to sit from the roof; mine was about 2 1/2". Cut your 1/4" tube to this length.

created at: 04/19/2011

5. Then, place the hollow tube onto the eyebolt in the roof, and thread the bolt or threaded rod through the circular base. Add a nut and washer, and thread as much rod (or long bolt) through until it meets the eyebolt in the roof. So, the ends of the eyebolt and the threaded rod will touch end-to-end, and the tube goes on the outside of those, like a sleeve, to cover up the threads. Add the thickness of you locking nut, and cut the threaded rod to that length. Then, attach the rod onto the base using a nut and washer on the top, and the locking nut to hold it in place. As my tube was 2 1/2", I cut the threaded rod to 2".

created at: 04/19/2011

6. Assemble everything for a dry fit. If it looks great, mixup some epoxy, and add to all of the fasteners. Put epoxy on the nuts on top and below the roof, and along the threads, and glue on the tube. Then, add epoxy to the nut and washer on top of the base.

So, you'll have two pieces:

  • The roof with the eyebolt on top, and the hollow tube hanging down
  • The base with the threaded rod sticking up

created at: 04/19/2011

7. Using clamps while the epoxy sets is a great idea if you have them. Which you should, cause they make every DIY project easier!

created at: 04/19/2011

8. When the epoxy has set, spray both parts with a spray primer, and then your colors of choice. When the paint has dried, mix up a bit more epoxy, and spread it along the threaded rod, and then slip it into the tube. Remove and excess with a damp towel, and allow to set.

Add some seed, and hang it up!

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Curbly Giveaway: Win a Free Copy of Make It! Mid-Century Modern

by Bruno Bornsztein

Curbly Giveaway: Win a Free Copy of Make It! Mid-Century Modern

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

created at: 04/11/2011
This month we're exploring modern design, in all its incarnations. We're also selling our excellent Mid-Century modern DIY manual for only $5 (find out about that here). On top of that, this week we're giving away TWENTY free copies of the PDF version of the book to lucky readers! Yep, that's right, two-zero, twenty people will win a free copy of our PDF. Read on to learn how to win.

   

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DIY: Mid-Century Modern Clock Magnets

by Capree K

DIY: Mid-Century Modern Clock Magnets

You've probably seen bottle cap magnets before or maybe even made a few yourself.  (I have one of a Miniature Schnauzer on my fridge that my nephew lovingly picked out for me from the local craft fair.  It's awesome.)  But, have you seen MCM-inspired bottle cap magnets??  Yeah, that's what I thought!  

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Five Eames Chairs that Aren't Just for Seating

by Craftmel

 

Five Eames Chairs that Aren't Just for Seating

In my opinion, the most loved and easily recognized and furniture designers of the Mid-Century are Charles and Ray Eames.  Together, they had the Midas touch when it came to home furnishings; if the Eames' designed it, it became a classic. 

If you aren't lucky enough to own an actual Eames Chair of any variety, how about using their images as decor?   

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How To: Make Modern Paper Ornaments

by Chris Gardner

The DIY paper ornaments have been a hit at our family gatherings for years. They're quick, simple, and practically free to make. Read on to find out how! 

DIY modern paper ornaments for Christmas

Having completed yards of modern paper holiday garland, I wanted to create some more paper decorations to maintain the look and colors throughout my home. I tried making paper snowflakes from the colored cardstock, but they didn't really work. Then I recalled an old trick I learned in...

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1950's Kitchen Tour

by DIY Maven

1950's Kitchen Tour

Syliva takes us on a pictorial tour of her 1950's kitchen. A REAL kitchen that has some trouble spots, but that's what gives it its authenticity. Not to mention the honest to goodness vintage appliances. So cute and homey!

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Roundup: 12 Unconventional Christmas Trees That Will Have You Re-Thinking The Fir

by Capree K

Roundup: 12 Unconventional Christmas Trees That Will Have You Re-Thinking The Fir

As a tradition, my husband and I usually go on the day after Thanksgiving to pick out a tree with his family.  There's a special lot that has our preferred species (Balsam Firs - I love how skinny and open they are, which is great for showcasing ornaments.  Take a peek at our tree from last year to see what I mean).  This year, though, we were out of town and to this day are still treeless, which is nearly blasphemous.  I am dying to get a...

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Make a Mid-Century-Inspired Dove Wreath

by Mod Home Ec Teacher

Make a Mid-Century-Inspired Dove Wreath

Breaking my own "No Christmas before Thanksgiving" rule, I had to resurrect this mod wreath project from from the archives. Not my archives, but a project by Mid Century Modern Utah. As any fan of modern design knows, it can be a challenge to come up with a mod wreath. Maybe because wreaths just drip "traditional?"  But it is the season, and it seems timely to share this fantastic DIY, unusual, MCM design. Here's what I need from Michael's: (Don't forget the coupon.)

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Build a Mad Men Bar with Vintage Cocktail Ware and Classic Recipes

by Meg Allan Cole
Build a Mad Men Bar with Vintage Cocktail Ware and Classic Recipes


If all of this talk of fall entertaining drives you to drink, never fear, that's all you really need to be a great host. Building a stylish & chic bar can be your biggest asset during the cold and cozy seasons. Nothing welcomes someone into your home more than a freshly-poured drink on the rocks in a classic highball glass.

created at: 10/26/2010

I've assembled most of our barware from Etsy. Vintage highballs, drinks carts and ice buckets that would fit nicely in Don Draper's office create an air of elegance we're sorely missing these days. I say we bring the classic five o'clock cocktail hour back with finds like these.

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Dramatic Mid-Century Makeover

by DIY Maven

SDC11348  Before & After a Dramatic Mid-Century Modern Renovation!

Dramatic, stunning, excellent, awesome...pick your adjective and be prepared for it to fall short of describing the makeover of this mid-century modern home located in Atlanta, GA. A lot of very bad things happened to its interior since its birth, but in the right hands, she's back

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Crestview Doors: Period-Perfect Front Doors for Mid-Century Modern Homes

by Alicia Lacy

Crestview Doors: Period-Perfect Front Doors for Mid-Century Modern Homes


When David and Christiane Erwin remodeled their 1951 cottage a few years ago, they wanted to restore the home to its original, mid-century modern look and feel. Along the way, they ran into a problem ... they couldn't find a period-appropriate front door. They turned this problem into an amazing thing, a company called Crestview Doors

created at: 07/11/2010

After making a replica of a neighbor's door to fit their own front door frame, the Erwins started building...

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Curbly Giveaway: Win a $300 Giftcard from Crestview Doors

by Chris Gardner

Curbly Giveaway: Win a $300 Giftcard from Crestview Doors

Curbly is very pleased to announce our latest giveaway: a $300 giftcard to CrestviewDoors.com, makers of mid-century doors and kits to match your atomic-age home.

created at: 07/19/2010

We've always been big fans of David and Christine's family-owned business. We wrote about them a few years ago, and are happy their continuing to grow and produce great do-it-yourself Doorlite kits to add geometric windows to an existing door. Learn more about this awesome...

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