Squirrel feeders are an excellent way to keep these cute critters away from your bird feeders. They’ll also bring them in closer to your home for your viewing pleasure. Best of all, there are tons of DIY options that serve the dual purpose of helping wildlife while providing a bit of entertainment. Use these 14 squirrel feeder DIY ideas to feed your furry garden friends over the winter.
Just select the option that best aligns with your skill level and personal flair. In this article, we’ll show you why feeding them might be the best thing you do this winter, plus some of the coolest tutorials you’ll want to try.
Why Should I Feed Squirrels?
You may be wondering why anyone would ever feed their “yard rats”. But rest assured, feeding squirrels won’t’ create a pesky problem—even around your bird feeders—if you allow them access. After all, squirrels need food too.
The main reason many people like to feed squirrels in their yard is that these little cuties are fun to watch. They run and play, but sometimes their activity scares away birds.
However, placing a squirrel feeder around the yard is an easy way to both keep them entertained and away from your bird feeders. In fact, feeding the squirrels intentionally makes them less likely to mess with the bird feeders at all, especially if you place them on opposite ends of your yard.
It’s best to put squirrel feeders away from your house as well, so they don’t get ideas about nesting inside your attic or walls. Let’s look at some fun DIY feeder ideas for you to try out!
1. Hanging Pine Cone Feeder
This easy squirrel feeder DIY uses pine cones and peanut butter (among a few other things) to create hanging feeders. The sticky peanut butter holds birdseed in place so the critters can eat. An array of birds even love this snack!
You can even gather the pine cones around your home with your kids for a fun indoor craft on a rainy day. Use this tutorial from Keaton the Foodie during early fall.
2. Suet Feeder
Perfect for people who are tired of squirrels getting into the bird feeders, use this squirrel feeder DIY from Stuck At Home Mom. Place the feeder lower than your winter bird feeder and make it entirely squirrel-friendly by adding in peanut butter and birdseed to a cheap wire suet feeder.
3. Mason Jar and Fork Feeder
For the most straightforward squirrel feeder DIY project, try this tutorial from the Paper Mama using a mason jar, fork, and wire. Many feeder ideas involve using mason jars to hold treats, but this option is easy enough for kids or beginners to make alone. Tip: Use a clear jar if you want to spy on the squirrels as they dine.
4. Quick Mason Jar Feeder
Another simple squirrel feeder DIY idea, this option is super quick to make. Even beginners can handle throwing together this tutorial following the steps from She Knows. Unlike other popular squirrel feeders that you can create using mason jars, you should use this option if your goal is to watch the critters feast. Arrange the feeder in a location where you can watch the squirrels through your window.
5. Mini Chair Squirrel Feeder
Give squirrels a place where they can sit and enjoy a nice meal in your garden. The DIY tutorial from Little Vintage Cottage is easy to follow. You’ll need to start by finding a miniature chair you can use, drilling a hole in the top, and attaching it to a fence. A second screw holds an ear of corn to the bottom of the chair. It’s as easy as that!
6. Recycled Plastic Bottle Feeder
If you have an old plastic bottle around your home, you’re nearly done already. All you need to do is poke a hole through the cap and hang the bottle from a tree branch in your yard. You can use a soda, water, or Gatorade bottle. Then, stick a few twigs through the container to provide a place for the squirrels to sit, and cut holes just above those twigs..
Fill the bottle with treats like seeds or nuts, similar to a DIY bird feeder. Just make sure not to use fishing line to hang the bottle because squirrels can’t climb on that slippery material. In fact, it can even hurt their little paws.
7. Upcycled Milk Jug Feeder
Don’t throw away your next empty milk jug. Instead, save it for a cheap squirrel or bird feeder. It’s an inexpensive way to make a feeder at home, and it keeps some of the materials from winding up in a landfill.
You’ll also need a string, glue, a pine cone, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter. You may also like to also add in raisins to make the feeder friendly for both birds and squirrels alike. Instructables offers an easy-to-follow tutorial with only nine steps.
8. PVC Pipe Feeder
If you have extra PVC pipe around your home, upcycle a few pieces in this easy squirrel feeder DIY idea. You can teach your kids about nature and why it’s important to put together feeders for these furry friends. However, you’ll need a bit of handiness.
Fun fact: squirrels can’t climb PVC pipe. If you want to use this material to create a DIY squirrel feeder, you need to attach it to a tree so the critters can jump to the feed from overhead instead.
9. Slinky Squirrel Feeder DIY Project
This is a super simple squirrel feeder DIY project that you can complete with little to no skill or purchased materials. All you need for this option is a pipe cleaner and an old plastic slinky. It’s so easy, young children could make a feeder like this alone.
You’ll use the pipe cleaner to bend the slinky to hold the nuts in place, and then suspend it from a tree using twine. Altogether, you’ll spend less than $2 making this colorful feeder even if you don’t have a slinky already in your home. Find the full step-by-step instructions at Kiwico.
10. Dried Corn Feeder
Some squirrel feeder DIY projects, like this DIY Network tutorial, are designed to hold an entire ear of dried corn. It’s an easy woodworking craft using scrap lumber, so expect to use a hand saw and a cordless drill for this one. The result is a cute table and chair for squirrels to feast, and you can hang it on a tree or an outer wall of your home.
11. Squirrel Under Glass Feeder
With this DIY feeder from Birds and Blooms, your whole family can watch the bold critters climb inside a glass jar to feast. It’s a wooden base attached to a tree with a glass jar that holds the food in place. The squirrels literally set themselves on display to reach the food, and it can become fun backyard entertainment for everyone.
Make sure to keep the feeder at the opposite side from your bird feeders and maintain a full level for the best results. Expect this tutorial to require a bit more work too. It’s not the best option for kids or beginners who are looking for a simple feeder. You’ll need to cut a few pieces of cedar fence board using a saber saw, for example.
12. Wooden Squirrel Feeder DIY
Use this easy YouTube video tutorial to create your own wooden box squirrel feeder. They’re excellent both for people who want to keep the critters away from bird feeders, and those who just love squirrels. Just open the feeder when you’re ready to feed your little friends.
This DIY project is best for adults with some woodworking knowledge. However, your kids might be able to assist you in painting or hanging the feeder later.
13. Saloon Squirrel Feeder
If you enjoy woodworking, you may want to show off your skills a bit more. This video tutorial allows you to give the squirrels a place to hang out and have a good time with a few pals, and you can complete the project over the weekend. It’s great for birds and squirrels alike.
Don’t worry if you’re not handy and have your eye on this excellent feeder, you might be able to find someone who is or purchase a similar bird feeder online. You can buy similar options on Amazon as well if you don’t have the skills to pull it off on your own.
14. Train Squirrel Feeder
Another fun squirrel feeder DIY project, this choo-choo train design requires a bit more work. However, it’s the perfect holiday gift for the train enthusiast in your family. The squirrels board the train and feast in their private dining car while you watch. It’s such a fun way to add a squirrel feeder to your backyard.
This option is better for people with a creative streak. Collect a few materials around your home, such as a mason jar, paint, and scrap pieces of wood. You can follow the instructions on Instructables.
Watch the Squirrels Return Next Year
Once the squirrels near you notice the feeder you build for them, expect them to return again and again. Try switching up the feeders around your yard, using different food options to see what your furry friends enjoy the most.
You can start with a comfortable, upcycled squirrel feeder to save a bit of money for your first year. But you may notice next year you want to create something a bit more fun. Whatever tutorial you use, make sure to have fun!