TRAASH: Lampshades into Bird Feeders

Lamp Shade Bird Feeder

My mother inspires and supports my trash repurposing habit. She is crafty herself, and has been since I was a child. She makes beautiful crocheted afghans, ponchos, and baby clothes. I can remember her making diaper cakes and selling them at local flea markets. Even now, she decorates her home with beautiful, handmade crafts. And luckily for me, she routinely saves objects otherwise meant for the garbage to see what I can make with them.

During the Memorial Day weekend, I visited her in my childhood turf, the suburbs of Maywood, NJ. As a bonus, my mother gifted me with a dented lampshade she was getting rid of.

The idea for a bird feeder came to me while birds chirped outside the bedroom window the following morning. Every year at my father’s house, also in Maywood, a bird makes a nest above the light fixture outside his back door. I watch the birds with joy, especially when the mother feeds her babies. This lampshade would be the beginnings of the first bird feeder I’ve ever assembled, or hung in my own backyard.

You will need the following supplies:

  • Old small lampshade
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Krazy glue
  • Old dish
  • Small tree branches
  • Twine or rope
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • X-acto knife or box cutter
  • Bird seed

Here’s how you assemble it:

  1. Paint the lampshade with acrylic paint.
  2. Use krazy glue to attach the shade upside down to a dish. The dish will create a base to hold the bird seed. I also glued some twine around the base of the dish to ensure that the bird seed wouldn’t spill out.
  3. Use a hole punch to form two holes at the top of the lampshade. The holes should be directly across from each other. Insert a small branch through the holes for a bird perch.
  4. Towards the bottom of the lampshade, cut two rectangular openings using a box cutter or X-acto knife. These openings are so the birds can get to the bird seed. (Do not make the openings too close to the bottom or the bird seed will spill out.)
  5. Make another hole about an inch below each of the rectangular openings using the hole punch. The holes should be directly across from each other. Insert a shorter branch through theses holes to create a second perch.
  6. Tie twine or rope to the metal insert inside of the lampshade to use for hanging the bird feeder.
  7. Add bird seed and hang!

Today, the birds are enjoying the lamp shade feeder. It’s suspended from a tree that I can see from my second floor apartment window.

If you don’t have a lampshade, don’t worry. A recycled coffee can also makes a great bird feeder.  I made one using the directions from Factory Direct And I didn’t stop there.  After visiting the website Valley and Co. Lifestyle, I decided to make another bird feeder using recycled paper towel rolls, peanut butter, and bird seeds.

The lamp shade bird feeder required more supplies and took the longest. The coffee can bird feeder took less time and most people have a coffee can or some kind of can around the house. The bird feeder created with paper towel rolls is the easiest to make and requires the least supplies. I made four of these with my 7-year-old niece because they were so easy to make. She has them in her backyard on the deck and loves watching the birds eat.

I hope you enjoyed this project and are inspired to create your own recycled bird feeder.  Please share your ideas and comments below.  You can also send me photos by emailing me at Feel free to post photos to my Facebook page too!


Post your ideas in the comments area below. If your project is chosen, you will receive a package of art supplies and your idea will be featured on this blog in August. The package includes some of the supplies used to make last month’s project including a starter pack of 5 different bottles of Mod-Podge, a box of Playcolor metallic tempera sticks, and a pack of twelve pin backs. Supplies were donated by School Specialty/Sax Arts & Crafts Division and can be found at The chosen project will be announced in July.

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Photos by Stephanie Romano

Stephanie Romano

is an artist, mother, teacher, and writer who has made Jersey City her home for the last 15 years. She creates items from recycled vinyl signs and upcycled materials under the name TRAASH.