Many of us have a love-hate relationship with squirrels. They’re pretty darn cute, and it’s fun to watch them scurry around outside in search of food. However, they often find a way onto our bird feeders and make quick work of expensive seed blends. Similarly, they sometimes make a snack out of the plants we grow for ourselves in our gardens.
Sometimes, feeding the squirrels can keep them away from bird feeders and garden beds because they have easy access to a food source and thus don’t need to search elsewhere. However, this can be a double-edged sword as feeding the squirrels may attract more to your property.
If you don’t have any issues with the squirrels in your yard — or you do, but they’re just so darn cute you can’t resist — you might be interested in making a DIY squirrel feeder. There are a number of super easy feeders you can make with minimal tools and minimal know-how.
We’ve included step-by-step instructions for these simple feeders and also offer some other ideas for those who may be a little savvier when it comes to handling power tools.
- 1. Recycled Jug Feeder
- 2. Easy Corn Cob Station
- 3. Simple Corn Cob Perch
- 4. Bungee Corn Cob
- 5. Mason Jar Feeder
- More DIY Squirrel Feeder Ideas
- Squirrel Watching Time
1. Recycled Jug Feeder
If you’re not good with power tools, then making a feeder out of a recycled plastic jug is the perfect option for you. This is also a fun project to do with kids and the simplest way to keep squirrels away from your bird feeder.
All you’ll need is a clean one-gallon milk jug, a pair of scissors, and some string. If you don’t have a milk jug, other jugs will work too, as long as there’s enough space for a squirrel to get inside.
- 1-gallon plastic jug
- Squirrel food
Step 1: Create an Opening
Using your scissors, cut a hole on any side of the jug an inch or more from the bottom (you want to leave enough room for the corn or seeds). You can get creative and cut the hole into any shape you want: a circle, a square, a heart, a triangle. The shape doesn’t matter as long as it’s big enough for a squirrel to get in.
You can leave it here, or you can cut a second hole on the opposite side, just so it’s even easier for the squirrels to get in and out.
Step 2: Thread the String
In order to hang the feeder, you’ll need to add some string. Punch two holes on either side of the cap and thread the string through them.
Step 3: Hang and Fill the Feeder
Finally, all that’s left to do is hang your feeder and fill it with goodies. You can hang it from a shepherd’s hook or tie it around a tree branch.
You can fill it with birdseed or corn or whatever else you wish to feed your squirrel friends. You may be surprised by the foods squirrels will eat, like cheese or Cap’n Crunch cereal!
2. Easy Corn Cob Station
If you know how to use a drill but you don’t have the tools required to actually cut wood, then this corn cob feeder could be the perfect choice for you.
- A piece of wood
- Long nails/screws
- A drill
- Corn cobs
Step 1: Choose Your Wood
Find a piece of wood that can accommodate the number of corncobs you would like to attach to it. If you only want a couple of cobs, then you can use a shorter piece of wood and vice versa.
Step 2: Add Your Screws
Countersink the holes where you plan on placing the screws, starting from the back. Then, drill screws through the back of the piece of wood until they come through the other side. You will be using these to skewer your corn, so make sure the screws are long enough to pierce into the corn cob.
Make sure to space the screws far enough apart so that there is enough room for all of the corncobs you want to add.
Step 3: Place the Feeder
If you wanted to, you could put this contraption on the ground. However, we recommend putting it on a tree, especially if you have dogs or kids who could step on it. You can drill it into the side of a tree or on top of a low branch if you can reach that high.
If you do place it on the side of a tree, the squirrels won’t really have anywhere to perch. However, this isn’t a necessity since squirrels are adept at clinging to trees, anyway.
3. Simple Corn Cob Perch
This DIY corn cob perch is similar to the previous corn cob station, except you’ll only be placing one corn cob on it.
For this DIY squirrel feeder, you’ll need some long screws and two pieces of wood (one shorter and one longer). The exact sizing of the wood isn’t that important as long as you have one short piece and one long piece. Just use whatever you have sitting around.
- A short piece of wood (4-5 inches)
- A long piece of wood (11-12 inches)
- 1 long screw
- 5 shorter screws
- A drill
- A marker
- A corn cob
Step 1: Mark Your Holes
Place the short piece of wood onto the longer piece of wood perpendicularly. You want it to look like an L. Use a marker and trace the top of the shorter piece of wood where it meets the longer piece.
Now that you know exactly where your pieces will line up, you can mark three equidistant dots on the long piece of wood where you will place your screws to hold the two pieces together. In the middle of the shorter piece, you can also make a mark for where you will drill the screw that holds the corn cob.
Step 2: Countersink Your Holes
Now that your markings are in place, take your drill and create countersink holes on each dot where the screws will go. Make sure you are doing so from the side of the wood that will become the back of your feeder. This will make it easier for you to drill actual screws in to connect your pieces.
Step 3: Connect Your Wood Pieces
Now, place your two pieces of wood together so that you can attach them to one another. Take your shorter screws and drill them into the holes you made in the longer piece of wood. Start from the back of the longer piece and drill through into the shorter piece of wood.
Take your long nail and drill it through the bottom of the shorter piece of wood. It should come through the top quite a ways as this is what will hold the corn cob.
Step 4: Attach the Feeder to a Tree
Finally, you’ll want to attach this baby to a tree. You’ll need to countersink two holes: one near the top and one near the bottom. After your holes are countersinked, you can grab some screws and drill the DIY feeder into a tree.
Step 5: Add Your Corn Cob
Now, your DIY squirrel feeder is set up. All that’s left to do is skewer a corncob and enjoy watching the squirrels in your yard nibble on it.
Need more help? Check out this video for a visual example.
4. Bungee Corn Cob
This bungee cord corn cob contraption is both incredibly easy to make and rather entertaining. Because this will be hanging from a tree, it will require squirrels to put some effort into getting their prize, which can be rather fun to watch.
- 2 bungee cords
- 1 screw-in eye hook
- A corn cob
Step 1: Secure a Bungee Cord to a Branch
Wrap a bungee cord around a low branch until it is tight. You can keep it secure by hooking the two ends together.
Step 2: Attach a Second Bungee Cord
Hang a second bungee cord from the first. You can either hook it onto the rope part of the first bungee or to the hooks on the first bungee.
Step 3: Attach the Corn Cob
Screw an eye hook into the bottom of a corn cob. Hang it from the second bungee cord.
Step 4: Enjoy
Enjoy watching squirrels maneuver to get the corn cob from the hanging bungee cord!
5. Mason Jar Feeder
This mason jar feeder is as simple as it gets. You won’t need any screws or power tools to make this, although you do have to be willing to give up a fork.
- Mason Jar
- Superglue or epoxy (optional)
- Squirrel food
Step 1: Attach the Fork to the Jar
The fork will be acting as a perch for the squirrel, so you want to keep that in consideration when attaching your fork to your jar. The fork should extend an inch or two past the opening of the jar. If you have any especially large or wide forks, these would be a great choice.
Simply attach the fork by placing it against the jar and wrapping wire around the two. You can twist the wire ends (just like you would a twist tie on a bag of bread) to tighten it. We suggest wrapping wire around both the top and bottom of the jar.
If you want things to be even more secure, use super glue or epoxy to attach the fork to the jar. After it’s dry, wrap the wire around as described.
Step 2: Attach to a Fence or Tree
Using more wire, attach the mason jar contraption to a fence post or a branch. As before, you’ll want to wrap the wire around both the top and bottom of the jar (and then to the fence or branch) for more security
Step 3: Add Food and Wait For Squirrels
Finally, put something inside for the squirrels to eat. You can go with cracked corn, seeds, or nuts. Now, you’ll be able to enjoy watching squirrels scurry in and out of the mason jar to munch on the snacks you’ve provided.
More DIY Squirrel Feeder Ideas
We’ve shared some of the easiest ways to make DIY squirrel feeders. However, there are tons of squirrel feeder projects out there, though many require a bit more know-how when it comes to using tools and cutting wood.
Here are some of our other favorite DIY squirrel feeder ideas that are a bit more complicated.
Picnic Table Squirrel Feeder
Picnic table squirrel feeders are super adorable because it looks like the squirrels are sitting at a picnic table. You can find the instructions for this one on the Instructables website.
The Classic Glass Jar Squirrel Feeder
You’ve probably seen these squirrel feeders with a wooden house connected to a large glass jar available for purchase at hardware stores or other places that carry bird and squirrel feeders. Believe it or not, you can totally make them yourself!
This squirrel feeder is super cute because it has two small chairs and a table built into it under a roof. It’s like a mini restaurant for squirrels.
As cute as it is, you will need a miter saw — like this one from DeWALT. These saws are pretty expensive, so it may not be a good choice for someone who doesn’t already have one lying around.
Corn Cob Windmill
If you have a love-hate relationship with the squirrels in your yard, this DIY windmill squirrel feeder is the perfect option for you. It looks and works just like a windmill, except each “blade” of the mill has a corn cob on it. It definitely presents the squirrels with a challenge which can be pretty entertaining to watch.
You can find the instructions for this project on Instructables.
Squirrel Watching Time
Now that you have many different options for making a DIY squirrel feeder, you can enjoy some squirrel watching. This will be especially fun if you decide to make one of the feeders that presents the squirrels with a challenge, like a bungee corn cob feeder or corn cob windmill.
Whichever feeder you choose to make, be sure to keep your food supply well-stocked as these critters seem to have bottomless pits for stomachs!