Plastic Spoon & Bottle Hummingbird Feeder

As I’ve perused the blogosphere over the past few months, I’ve been seriously inspired by all the imaginative, creative people that turn the old into something new and beautiful.  (Seriously, just visit my “Reinvented & Repurposed” Pinterest board  if you want an afternoon full of creative motivation.)

With Earth Day just around the corner, I thought I’d dig into my recycling bin and pull out something beautiful.  And maybe I can help save the planet in some small way, too.  =]

So here’s what my upcycled-brain came up with.  I remembered reading somewhere that when plastic bottles were thrown into the regular garbage instead of being recycled, they took up to 1,ooo years to decompose in a landfill.  And here’s another bit of useless trivia (I’m great at those): Making new plastic takes more energy than recycling it.

In honor of Mother Earth – and because I was feeling guilty for all those bottles I chucked into the garbage bin when Maddy and I ventured to the park – I decided to transform my bottles of water into hummingbird feeders.

And the fun didn’t stop there!  I also reused some old plastic spoons from a recent family BBQ to create a big red flower blossom.

I bet you already have most of this stuff if you want to learn how it’s done.  Well, maybe you don’t have the hummingbird feeding tubes, but you can get those here for super cheap.  They are sold in multiple packs, but I figure that’s just a bonus because you can gift these hummingbird feeders as eco-friendly handmade gifts.  AND, you have the knowledge that you’re not only saving money, you’re also saving the world!  Yeah, that’s how we roll around here.

I know it says “pliers” when those are clearly cutters.  You’ll need both.  Bear with me – I’m dopey like that sometimes…  Ok, most of the time.

step 1: Light your candle and hold your spoon over the flame.  Move the spoon in small circles to heat the curve evenly.

step 2: Once the spoon curls over, it’s pliable enough to mold into a petal shape.

step 3: Use your fingers to pinch the spoon into an organic-looking shape.  It doesn’t have to be impeccable.  I think that the more curves and imperfections there are, the more lovely and realistic your flowers look.

**NOTE: Be careful when molding your petals, as the plastic can get very hot!

step 4: Set the first spoon aside and continue making petals.

step 5: When you have enough petals (the number will vary depending on the bottle you use), use your cutters to trim the spoons off the handles.

step 6: Create all your petals.

step 7: To make the first layer of petals around the mouth of the bottle, heat the bottom edge that you just cut.

step 8: While the plastic is still hot, press it against the round edge of the mouth of the bottle so it forms to the shape.

step 9: When you have enough petals for the first layer (I usually end up with 8), use your hot glue gun to attach them to the bottle.

step 10: Now we’re going to fill in the first layer with another layer of petals.  This time use your needle-nosed pliers to hold the petal and once again, heat the bottom.

step 11: Place your petal behind and in between two of the front petals, and use the pliers to press the heated plastic flat against the surrounding plastic.  Doing this securely bonds everything together.

step 12: Continue heating and pressing, heating and pressing to fill in the gaps.

step 13: Using your hot glue gun, draw a bead of glue around the petals, both on the top and underside.  This step is totally optional, but I do it just to make sure everything stays in place.

step 14: (Ok, why I put this step before the others I’m not quite sure, lol.  Feel free to hold off on step 14 and 15 until after you’re completely done.)  Use a funnel to fill your feeder with nectar,  filling it all the way to the top to prevent dripping.  If you want to save money, feel free to use our homemade recipe, courtesy of my pops (LOVE YOU DADDY!)

step 15: Insert your hummingbird feeding tube, pushing it flush with the opening of the bottle.

step 16: Wrap your chain around the middle of the bottle, leaving a long tail to hang it from.

step 17: Wrap and attach a small length of chain around the opening of the bottle, directly underneath the petals.

step 18: Measure out a length of chain that will fit snugly between the middle and the top chains.  Connect this last piece of chain to the two other chain “belts”.

The hubs walked into the room at this point and said, “That’s cool, Babe!  Can I help?”  How could I resist?  He’s so cute…  ^_^

step 19: Attach your hanger (which in my case was actually a shower curtain hook) to the end of the long tail of chain. You can also fill your feeder at this point, if you haven’t already.  And again, you can use my dad’s famous homemade nectar if you want to save yourself some money.

And that’s it!  I’m loving our new eco-friendly feeder.  I love taking trash and turning it into treasure!

And I’m happy to report that they hold up exceptionally well in a storm.  We had torrential rain, hail, and thunderstorms last week (in Southern California?! I know, right?); I forgot about the feeder I knew the feeder would hold up during the storm, and thankfully it did!

I know it’s just a water bottle, but after looking at it from angles I don’t normally notice, I’m starting to see that it’s quite pretty…

I hope these recycled feeders have inspired you to upcycle a treasure of your own.  Thanks for crafting with me, lovelies!!  Until next time!

 

**EDITED TO ADD:  Jacquie pointed out a very important fact in her comment:

Out here in our desert heat the feeding liquid will ferment and turn moldy. The mold will attach to a bottle and is nearly impossible to remove. Your idea can recycle bottles. Use a bottle until it gets mold growing then make a new one. Turn the old bottle into the recycling center. This way the hummers will not receive any tainted liquid.

So true!!  I wouldn’t want any hummingbirds to accidentally get poisoned because I neglected to mention a cleaning method.  Here’s what I responded:

Yes, I can see how the heat would be a problem. I should have mentioned in my post the way I clean these feeders, which won’t affect the hummingbirds. As Jacquie pointed out, the heat can cause the nectar to ferment, which will create mold and bacteria inside your feeder. To prevent this, clean your feeder with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and warm water (half & half). Swirl the mixture around and rinse out. Use this method to clean as often as necessary. I live in Southern California – perhaps not quite in the intense desert conditions that Jacquie described, but it can get quite hot on a regular basis. However, cleaning my feeders once a week this way has prevented any mold from growing inside my feeders, and it doesn’t leave any chemical residue that could harm the hummers.

Thanks for pointing that out, and for the kind comments, Jacquie!!

Linking to all the fantastic parties on my Links page, as well as these amazing parties:
http://www.thethriftyhome.com/
http://todayscreativeblog.net/crafts-blog/

Related posts:

This entry was posted in Tutorials and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Plastic Spoon & Bottle Hummingbird Feeder

  1. this is a great idea – it turned out so beautifully!

  2. I love this and your instructions are so clear. Is it OK if I pin this to my Garden board on Pinterest? I would also love it if you would link up to my party at http://www.claimingourspace.com/2012/04/tout-it-tuesday-2.html.

  3. Kim says:

    What a cute project! I’m gonna see if I can pick up a hummingbird feeder tube at our local birders’ supply store. Thanks so much for sharing! Nice pics, too!

  4. love this idea.. I just pinned it! Thanks for linking up at friday fun party.. :)

    • Nicole says:

      As always, you’re a sweetheart Hani!! ^_^ Thank you SO much for pinning me – I’m absolutely honored that you were inspired enough to add me to your Pinterest board!!

  5. Crystal says:

    I love this idea…perfect for this time of year. :-)

  6. Peggy says:

    That is so amazingly creative! What a lovely outcome from something we would normally chuck or throw into the recycle bin!
    Peggy

  7. Suzanne says:

    Looks lovely! Bookmarked your page, cheers!

  8. Erica says:

    What a brilliant idea! Your tutorial is full of detail and easy to follow. Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to recreating this idea. What brand is the water bottle?
    Happy Weekend! Enjoy!!
    I am so happy I found your blog on TT&J :)

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you so much, Erica!! The water bottle was actually an Aloe Vera water bottle that I purchased at my local World Market. However, any glass or plastic bottle would work well. My friend enjoys wine coolers, lol, and I just got a bag of empty glass bottles from her. ^_^

  9. Jacquie says:

    Thanks for the idea. Out here in our desert heat the feeding liquid will ferment and turn moldy. The mold will attach to a bottle and is nearly impossible to remove. Your idea can recycle bottles. Use a bottle until it gets mold growing then make a new one. Turn the old bottle into the recycling center. This way the hummers will not receive any tainted liquid.

    • Nicole says:

      Yes, I can see how the heat would be a problem. I should have mentioned in my post the way I clean these feeders, which won’t affect the hummingbirds. As Jacquie pointed out, the heat can cause the nectar to ferment, which will create mold and bacteria inside your feeder. To prevent this, clean your feeder with a mixture of distilled white vinegar and warm water (half & half). Swirl the mixture around and rinse out. Use this method to clean as often as necessary. I live in Southern California – perhaps not quite in the intense desert conditions that Jacquie described, but it can get quite hot. However, cleaning my feeders once a week this way has prevented any mold from growing.

      Thank for pointing that out, and for the kind comments, Jacquie!!

  10. You totally rock! This is awesome. Visiting from Sugar & Spice. So glad I dropped in! I just love bird feeders, humming bird is my favorite. I’ve always made our own humming bird food, but never did I think I’d ever be able to make a feeder. You’ve totally inspired me! If you can make it, I would love to have you link this up on our Fab Friday link party. Starts every Friday, sometimes Thurs. night and ends the following Thurs. Again, this is fab! Hope you had a great weekend!

    • Nicole says:

      Wow, thank you so much, Tiffany!! To hear that I’ve inspired someone has got to be one of the BEST compliments someone could give me. ^_^ And after the kind invite, of course I joined up at your party. Your blog is awesome. Thank you again!!

  11. Donna says:

    What a terrific way to re-purpose water bottles. I totally love this idea! You are incredibly talented and creative. Hope it’s okay but I just pinned this because I have so many creative friends. I’m thinking this would make a great birthday or Christmas gift.

    I, too, live in California, in the central San Joaquin Valley so the vinegar and warm water cleaning solution is a Godsend to me! I’m so inspired, I’m going digging in my pantry and recycle bin! Thanks Nicole!

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you SO much for your kind comments, Donna!! They left me with a HUGE grin on my face, for I love it when I hear that my work has inspired people enough to create a handmade present for another. There is no greater gift in the world, in my opinion. ^_^ I’m so happy to have you among my readers, Donna. Thank you again!!

  12. Virginia says:

    I love your hummingbird feeder! Great way to recycle. I make them using wine bottles that I paint…Goodness knows I have plenty of wine bottles I need to keep out of the landfill!

  13. Lisa says:

    I am concerned about the plastic bottles leeching chemicals into the hummingbird food. They already tell us that it is not safe for us to use water bottles over or after they get hot. I would rather wash glass than take that chance!

    • Nicole says:

      Hi Lisa. Thank you for your comments. Although I completely understand your concerns, I found the following info on plasticsinfo.org, an American Chemistry Council website (http://www.plasticsinfo.org/Main-Menu/MicrowaveFood/Need-to-Know/Plastic-Bev-Bottles/The-Safety-of-Polyethylene-Terephthalate-PET.html):

      “Polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, has become a material of choice for bottling beverages, such as mineral water and carbonated soft drinks. The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of issues related to nutrition, food safety, toxicology, risk assessment and the environment – has comprehensively reviewed the scientific and technological aspects of PET. They state that, ‘PET itself is biologically inert if ingested, is safe during handling and is not a hazard if inhaled. No evidence of toxicity has been detected in feeding studies using animals. Negative results from Ames tests and studies into unscheduled DNA synthesis indicate that PET is not genotoxic. Similar studies conducted with monomers and typical PET intermediates also indicate that these materials are essentially nontoxic and pose no threats to human health. There is a significant body of evidence that demonstrates that the use of PET is not a concern and is perfectly safe.’”

      I can understand your worry about the heated bottles leeching chemicals into the nectar, but unless you live in a desert and the hummingbird feeder will be in direct sunlight all day, I don’t think there is much to worry about. Thanks for addressing this issue, though!! If you still don’t feel comfortable using plastic, I’m sure the glass bottles would be just as lovely.

  14. Lorie says:

    This is such a brilliant idea! And GORGEOUS!! I am going to feature it on my blog tomorrow and will be adding you to my Google Reader! I can’t wait to catch up on your other posts!!

    • Nicole says:

      Wow Lorie!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I love your blog, and can’t tell you how honored and humbled I am to know that one of my favorites noticed me (you like me, you really like me). lol. ^_- Thank you again, Lorie!!

  15. Nikki says:

    I totally love this idea. What a great way to recycle with style ! Unfortunately we don’t have Hummingbirds in Melbourne Australia but I’m going to think about other ways to adapt your clever idea. WIll let you know what I come up with. Thanks for sharing

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you SO much for the kind comments, Nikki!! Wow, Melbourne is so lovely, and has been on bucket list of places to visit for quite some time. So even though you don’t have hummingbirds, I know there are so many other things that make up for it!! ^_^

  16. Karen says:

    Hi, Nicola –

    Where did you source the feeder tube? I’ve had several ideas for fun recycled feeders, but haven’t had any luck finding a simple stopper tube like yours.

  17. Melanie says:

    Coolest idea ever!!!! Love it!

  18. Oopsey Daisy says:

    WOW! I love how you melted down the red spoons. Incredible. Great idea–especially for the spring/summer! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

    • Nicole says:

      Thank you SO much for the kind comments, Alison! ^_^ The spoon idea is fun – there are so many things that one could do with it. In fact, I will be having more posts featuring my plastic spoons in the near future… ^_-

  19. Hello stopping by from the Tutorial Tuesday link party, I wanted to share with you a post I wrote about a Hummingbird Momma that made her nest at my moms house. I would have known how to make the feeder before it started to get really hot. But I got some cool pictures and just wanted to share.

    http://motivatedmommyoftwo.blogspot.com/2012/04/momma-hummingbird.html

  20. Vicky says:

    LOVE this! I think my niece wold love to make it. She is 11, and quite crafty. I pinned it for her! Great tutorial…thanks again!

    ~joy!
    Vicky at sleeping in an unmade bed

  21. m-a says:

    That’s cool! I love that flower. I do something like that last summer but I was looking how to make a flower.There it is! Thank you

  22. Allison says:

    I love this so very much! There will be many happy hummingbirds around my home this spring. Thanks for the super tutorial!

  23. This is so clever! Thanks for linking up to Fabulous Friday. I’m featuring this. Stop by tonight and grab a button!

  24. tamara bearheart says:

    how awesome (yep, a so. cal. gal here)is this ! you are so creative. I’m going to invite friends over and have a party making hummer feeders out of all those bottles I have saved up in my recycle bin. can’t thank you enough. also, thanks for the vinegar trick !

  25. Amy says:

    Wow, what you have created looks so professional, like I could buy it in a garden shop! Great work on using simple items to make something FAB.

    I love the blog header, new???

    Thanks for linking up with me at Drab to Fab :)

    Below is the link for today’s party! Come on back and link up some more of your posts (old or new)

    http://www.amynjesse.com/2012/04/drab-to-fab-link-party-14.html

    Have a lovely weekend :)

    Amy @ Sugar and Spice

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>