Milk-Carton Bird Feeder | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Milk-Carton Bird Feeder 

Published April 1, 2011 at 4:00 a.m. | Updated April 4, 2022 at 6:34 p.m.

As spring returns to our lives, so do the warm-weather birds. Welcome some feathered friends to your yard with a homemade bird feeder. We made this one with a 16-ounce carton of half-and-half and acrylic paints, but any size carton will work. For a quicker turnaround time, use stickers, markers or contact paper to decorate the house rather than painting it.


Rinse the empty milk carton well and allow it to dry. Staple the top of the carton closed.

Use a utility knife to cut an opening for the birds into one side of the carton. Cut the opening high enough on the carton to allow ample room for birdseed at the bottom as well as the hole for the perch.

Use the utility knife to cut a small "X" about a quarter inch below the opening for the perch.

Poke a pen or sharpened pencil through the opening and mark the other side of the carton by creating a slight indentation with the pencil point.

Cut another small "X" in the opposite side of the carton where the perch will exit the feeder.

Once all the cuts are made, paint the carton using acrylic paints. It may take several coats of paint to cover the carton completely; allow each coat to dry for about an hour.

Decorate your house with paint, stickers or other embellishments.

While waiting for the birdhouse to dry, get the roof ready by cutting the craft sticks in half with scissors. If you like, paint the craft sticks and allow them to dry.

Glue the halved craft sticks to the angled portion of the carton for the roof shingles. If you have a carton with a round spout, just work around the round opening.

Use the hole punch to make two holes in the stapled, top part of the carton and lace a piece of string through the openings.

Insert the pencil or dowel through the container for the perch.

Fill the bottom of the container with birdseed and hang the feeder in a location the birds can reach, but predators — or squirrels — can't.


Milk carton

Acrylic paints and paintbrushes

4 large-size craft sticks or Popsicle sticks

Pencil or wooden dowel

Utility knife


Piece of string or twine long enough to hang the feeder

Hole punch

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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