Beachy Birds – How to Make A Seashell Bird Feeder

Hi everyone! Welcome to the May Home Depot Gift Challenge!

The Home Depot Gift Challenge
**This challenge is not sponsored in any way by Home Depot, we just love them and pretty much live there so we’d thought this would be fun…**

If you’re new around here (hi!), the HD gift challenge is where 11 other bloggers and myself challenge ourselves with using one selected item from Home Depot to make a gift for a designated recipient, all in just one month.  This month, Amy from Home Remedies picked a basic 2×4 as our item and chose a new homeowner as the recipient. I absolutely loved the idea of making something for a new homeowner but man, a 2×4 was really throwing me for a loop.  It’s like the more simple the item, the harder it is for me to come up with ideas!

An idea finally popped into my head and I knew exactly who I wanted it to be for.  You guys may remember my sweet bestie and guest-poster Rosalie.  Well, she bought the cutest little cottage in town a couple of years ago and they love to spend time outside.  Plus, she’s a birder just like we are so I decided to make a cute, beachy, shabby, bird feeder for her!

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

There’s just a few, simple supplies needed:

– Large shells that have some sort of bowl shape.  I wanted to use cockles but I couldn’t find my hoarded stash of them so I used some larger lightening whelks instead.  Big oyster shells, big scallops…stuff like that would work too.
– 2×4″ in whatever length you need –  Mine was from the scrap pile at HD and was about 24″
– 36″ tall wooden stakes
– paint
wood stain – I used Minwax “dark walnut”
– polyurethane – I used Polyshades to stain the legs and regular clear poly on the top
– sander
– (4) 2+” screws
– drill and various bits
– short screws

I wanted this to look old and weathered; one because that’s Ro’s style, and two because it’ll be outside and will look that way soon enough on it’s own.  Now, I’m not much of a painting/refinishing pro whatsoever and have never distressed anything in a project.  I was a chalk paint virgin up until a mere six months ago and have painted two things with it, two.  So it goes without saying that I’m pretty timid about attempting different looks on wood, although it’s an area I definitely want to practice more in.  I’ve been wanting to try this technique from Thrifty & Chic for a while because it looks simple and pretty fail-proof, I figured this was the perfect little thing to try it on.

Oh man, I’m hooked.  One coat of simple white paint, sanding, then wiping on some stain and that’s it!  Just that and it gives this beautiful finish!  I couldn’t believe it, was a new thing I attempted seriously so successful right of the bat?? Could it be?!?  Yup.

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

After the top was dry, I marked on the underside where I wanted my legs to attach and drilled two holes where the screws would go (I did two screws to keep the legs from rotating around).  Matt held the leg while I slowly drilled the screw through the hole into it, making sure they didn’t split or anything.

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

Now, for making holes in the shells.  I actually have never drilled through a shell before and thought it’d be pretty basic as long as I did it gradually and slow.  I marked a spot that would allow them to sit even while still being able to get a screwdriver in there, and started, but couldn’t get it to go at all.  I googled how to drill through seashells just in case and got freaked out from all kinds of stuff about having to do it under water, using diamond bits, etc. I thought I’d have to throw in the towel on this idea altogether.  Then Matthew grabbed a more blunt drill bit and tried, and it worked fine!  Leave it to him to save the day, no crazy drilling or bits needed after all!

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

We were finally on a roll.  I would drill through the opening with the smallest bit, then flip the shell over and continue drilling with two gradually larger bits.  The hole is large enough so that there’s a little bit of room around the screw to allow water to seep out and not collect in them.

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

I hammered this guy into the ground at the edge of our pergola near the birdbath, putting a towel over the board and using a rubber mallet so that the surface wouldn’t get damaged.  I set my shells out how I wanted them and marked through the hole where to drill, then drilled a little pilot hole for each.

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

I hand screwed them down with the short screws, only tight enough to keep them from wiggling or turning, taking care to be gentle so that they didn’t crack.

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

I filled ’em up and they’re ready to go.  Like a beach bird buffet.  I am thinking that the pointy ends of the shells will give them a nice little perch to hang out on.

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

I screwed a little hook on the underside and hung a suet cage off of it, just to give them more options you know?  Alot of our birds down here go for the suet more than the seed.

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

The night after I took these pictures we had some super crazy storms and a TON of rain, and in the morning almost all the birdseed was still there, so it has been tested and can handle rain fine :)

I am so happy with the way this turned out, especially after it started off looking like I wouldn’t be able to do it.  But that’s how it goes in DIY right?  You get to a point when you think you have to throw in the towel, mumble obscenities and take it out on your husband, but you keep trying and finally get it and have something awesome in the end!

Seashell Bird Feeder - A gorgeously beachy bird feeder! She used some seashells and some wood to create this unique and beautiful feeder. www.tableandhearth.com

Want even more awesome?  See all the other 2×4 projects from the other girls here!

You can catch all our other projects over the last few months on our Pinterest board too:

Follow Emily @ Table & Hearth’s board The Home Depot Gift Challenge on Pinterest.

 

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48 thoughts on “Beachy Birds – How to Make A Seashell Bird Feeder

  1. Wow! What a great idea, Emily! This is awesome – the perfect beachy, cottagey birdfeeder! I’m sure your friend will love it!

  2. I never in a million years would have thought to use shells as a bird feeder and I absolutely love it. Great project!

  3. What a cute feeder! I’m like you the simpler the item, the harder inspiration is to come by. Haha. I love you are a birder. So is my husband. It’s pretty fun getting to learn about all the pretty birds out there. :)

    1. I hate that I never paid attention to it growing up but finally, we all got into it during grad school since some of my friends studied ornithology, then I showed Matt when we started dating. Now he’s better at it than I am! It’s hard not to be one down here, we have such amazing migrations, it’s crazy!

    1. I will definitely be making myself one of these, especially if I can ever find my stash of huge cockle shells, they’d be even better! Thanks Amanda :) BTW, I think I was commenting on your wedding post at the same time you were over here ;)

  4. Emily, this is so cute/clever! We used to have an uuuugly bird feeder from the old lady before us when we moved in. I just took it down but want the birds to keep coming (my kids love them!)

  5. Oh my gosh, what a totally creative idea!!! I just love how this turned out! Pinning for sure, and I’m dropping by to let you know that this project was my pick for Rockstar of the week over at Creativity Unleashed, so thanks for linking up! Voting has just opened for MEGA Rockstar of the week and you’re in the running, so head over and vote and tell your friends to vote too! I really hope you win this week! http://www.practicallyfunctional.com/creativity-unleashed-link-party/

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