Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hummingbird Feeders using recycled products

Happy Earth Day Everybody!!!


I love hummingbird feeders. Those little birds are so much fun to watch. They are vocal, have personality and are bold. We have one that visits our yard often. She , I assume it is a she, use to scold me if I was too close to the feeder when she wanted a drink. Now she knows me so well that I can be standing within 2-3 feet of the feeder and she will come by for a drink. She has even done a fly by when I was in the front yard pruning my dessert spoons. She flew so close she brushed my hair. Then landed in the mesquite tree near me to chirp at me before going to the back yard. She will also chirp at me (like she is scolding me) when the feeder is empty or has been taken down to be washed. I have a feeder that I purchased and have been wanting a second one for the front yard. They say you should hang feeders 20 feet apart. These little guys are very territorial and will chase off any newcomers. This is also very fun to watch. They sound like they are scolding each other. I am slowly starting to understand the different chirps of these little guys. My boys also love to watch them fly around. From time to time we have had lots of tiny black flies and the hummingbirds zoom around to snatch them up. Very cool to watch them dart and hover around.

This tutorial will teach you how to crochet a hanger for a standard soda bottle or water bottle of about the 16oz size. You can adjust the pattern to fit a larger bottle if need be. Smaller bottles won't be a problem. I will also show you how I made the feeding tube out of a bartender's spout I had laying around and a reservoir out of two caps. The really nice thing about this, is that I had the yarn from another project, the bottle, caps, the flowers from the Mother's Day Jewelry box, the butterflies from my boys' toy collection and spouts that we have had since forever. It is always nice when you don't have to buy items to make something. If you don't have the bartender's spout then you can either buy a spout or rig up another way to give the birds access to the sugar water using container lids.

Make your hanger red or add red flowers to attract the hummingbirds. Don't add red food coloring to the sugar water.


(Crochet patterns confuse me with all the abbreviations so I am not going to attempt to write this out the traditional way. I don't do much crocheting but I can do chains and basic stitch patterns. It is when I have to follow a pattern to make something out of those stitches that I get turned around and sideways, so please bare with me) If I can make this then anybody can make this.

To start you are going to make a chain of 21. If you have a larger bottle add some some more stitches to it. I used a multiple of 3 because I plan to add 3 loops onto this ring, so make it divisible by 3.

Now go through the first stitch in the end of your chain to make a circle. Then add two rows to the loop you made (so that will be 42 more stitches once you connect the ends). This will give a nice sturdy ring around the top of the bottle.

Chain 14 stitches. Count 7 stitches from the chain and make a single crochet and chain 14 more stitches, single crochet in the 7th stitch from the chain and chain 14 more stitches and single crochet to the base of the first single chain. You are basically making loops. By making chains and connecting them in the middle of a chain from the previous row. Make sense? I am sorry if this is confusing. If you need clarification, please feel free to comment and I will try to better explain. If not leave a comment anyway, I like knowing people like my crafts;)

Keep going with the chain 14 and single crochet in the 7th stitch till you get to the base of the bottle. I have looped mine over the bottom of the bottle just to show you how it should look at this point. Once I got the first 3 loops made, I worked with my pattern while it was on the bottle. This helped me to see exactly what I was doing.
Once you have gotten to the bottom of the bottle you will make the chains 40 stitches long and single crochet in the 7th stitch. Do this two more times. On the last chain tie it off in the 7th stitch. This will make it easy to take the bottle out to clean it or replace it.

Now make a chain of about 20 stitches. Thread it through the loops at the top of the bottle and tie the ends together to make a hanging loop. I have a chain hanging in my tree with an s-hook to make it easy to take down the feeder to clean and refill it.

We made the hanger and I just can't stop there. Humming birds are attracted to the color red and flowers. If you look at the feeders in the store they are usually a combination of red with yellow flowers. I am adding flowers that I used in my Mother's day box project. In between the layers of petals there are while plastic pieces. I removed 2 of the 3 then put the petals back on.

I used the green backing and a bit of hot glue to hold the flower in place on my hanger. I snipped off any extra stem once the glue cooled.

If you don't have a bartender's spout and you don't want to make a well for the birds to drink out of, you can buy spouts like these. They are made for humming bird feeders.


To make a well, you will need the cap that is original to the bottle and a slightly larger cap. Here you can see that I have a medicine cup and a red cap that I got from an empty spice jar. You can also use a large Gator aide cap or from some other condiment jar. In this case I felt this medicine cup left a very narrow opening for the humming bird. Since they won't be able to perch with this design I wanted to make it easier for them to get to the nectar.
You will need to drill a whole in the cap. I used a 1/2 inch drill bit. When I drilled the hole, the gasket inside the cap was pushed out. I used siccors to cut a hole in the gasket. You want to keep the gasket in the lid so that you get a nice tight seal so air does not leak in and cause your reservoir to over fill and leak out.
I cut pieces of the plastic ring from around the neck of the bottle to use as spacers under the bottle cap when gluing the lids together. You want the bottom of the bottle cap to be lower than the lip of the outer reservoir. I used the pieces of plastic to make sure my bottle cap stayed level while I glued it in place (it will leak a bit if it isn't level). I added a tiny bit of water to the bottom of the reservoir. It will help the hot glue to cool faster and stay where you put it.
Glue the caps together in at least 4 places. Making a bridge of the hot glue. Be generous with the glue. It will need to hold when you screw on the cap and take it off again. You can see here that I have left plenty of room for the hummingbirds to get to the nectar.
Cover the hot glue with silk flowers.

I bent my spout a little so that it pointed more to the side instead of mostly down to the ground. To do this I inserted a screw driver into each end and bent it but not to a full 45 degree angle (more like that of a pet feeder). You will need to drill a small hole in the end of the cover. I used a sharpie to color the end red (you could just leave it as is, if adding a flower). I then carefully made 4 small cuts from the center hole on 3 layers of pedals. I then pushed the cap through it.
The bartender's spouts have this air tube to help the liquid keep flowing when turned upside down. I plugged this with a round toothpick and then broke off the extra toothpick.


You feeder will drip a little at first till a Vacuum is created. Though I did find that since it was quite windy today, my nectar slowly leaked out all day.


For this feeder, I left the flowers on their stems. They were 4 flowers to a main stem. I wove the stem through the chains. For the most part I didn't glue my flowers in place on this one. I only used glue when I wanted to change the direction a flower was facing or to keep it from sticking out form the hanger. I hot glued the plastic butterflies onto the hanger. Nothing is glued to the bottle.
Notes: Having tried two of the 3 cap designs, I would use the two cap reservoir over the bartender's spout. The spout is a little harder to get just right so that it does not leak out little by little. Though nearly all options will leak a little till a vacuum is formed. If I were giving this as a gift I would splurge and buy the spout stopper. Check with your local pet store or look for them on line.
My 7 year old saw me making my feeders and decided he wanted to make one of his own. He didn't want the fancy holder or the flowers all over it. he wanted to make the bottle cap reservoir and add some real flowers for the hummingbirds. We make a quick hanger with pipe cleaners. I cut a piece of pipe cleaner and twisted it so make a ring. I then took 3 pipe cleaners and twisted them around the ring. Then at the top of the feeder (the bottom of the bottle) I twisted them together and used another piece of pipe cleaner to make another ring for the pipe cleaners to be twisted onto for a hanging ring. We then filled the bottle with sugar water and added the flowers to the reservoir.
To make the nectar for your hummingbird feeders mix a 1:4 ratio of sugar to water. One cup water and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring it to a boil to kill and bacteria that could make our little friends sick and let cool.
Clean the feeder before refilling it. Use vinegar to clean out the bottle. Do not use detergents or bleach. Clean the feeder at least 1-2 times per week. (For this reason I never make more than the 1 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar for each feeder)
I love comments, they make me happy. If you liked this project, please leave a comment and let me know how yours turned out. This project will take less than two hours total. Less when you make it for the 2nd time and don't stop to take pictures along the way ;)
Katrina
P.S. Thanks for stopping by.........

3 comments:

How to crochet said...

What a good idea to crochet a feeder like this! I wish I could see humming birds up close and personal :)

RootsAndWingsCo said...

I am so glad you liked it.

If you put up a feeder they will find your yard.

You know I tried to get a picture of the little guys feeding. It took them a day or two to get use to the new feeder. It has also been pretty warm during the day, so they are showing up in the morning and at dusk mostly.

My son was so excited and proud that they were feeding from his feeder!

Katrina

Caryn said...

Thanks so much for this! We have 2 little hummingbirds that visit our front yard and I feel bad I didn't have a feeder (besides my flowers) I am going to have my kids make this! Perfect! Exactly what I was looking for!