Antique Chair Back Bird Feeder

A few days ago when trying to come up with an idea for this month's Spring edition of the Power Tool Challenge (talk about flying by the seat of my pants), I was rummaging through my wood stash when I came across a bucket of antique chair parts. Taking a closer look at the pressed chair back, it reminded me of a butterfly. I stood staring at it while sipping my morning java and wondered what I could make with it. Just then I heard a bird chirping from the open window and that's when a lightbulb went off in my head.

Typography added to chair back bird feeder

Antique Chair Back Bird Feeder

Chair Back Bird Feeder in the backyard

If you haven't heard of the Power Tool Challenge, it's a group of talented tool savvy, skill-sharing female DIY bloggers who come together each month to empower our female readers to step out of their comfort zones and try simple projects they can make themselves using a power tool.


Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Mouse Sander
1-inch chisel


Antique Chair Back
Pine plywood
1 1/4-inch Brad Nails
80 grit mouse sander pads
Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in the color New Life
Country Chic Paint in the color Dark Roast
Tough Coat protective finish

How To Build A Bird Feeder with a chair back

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of me doing each step because working alone and trying to take pictures was far too challenging. Also, note that the pictures may not appear to be in sequence with the steps.

Why? Because I was making this project up as I went along and it wasn't until afterward that I realized a much smarter way of building it. So follow the steps in chronological order and refer to the pictures for guidance.

Let's talk a bit about safety first

  • Make sure you have a wood cutting blade on your jigsaw.  If not, unplug the saw before changing the blade.
  • Always secure the piece you are cutting with clamps onto a sturdy work surface.
  • Wear protective eyewear - even if you wear glasses.
  • Wear hearing protection when operating power tools.
  • Start the saw first before making contact with the piece you are cutting.  Take your time and do the cutting in stages if need be.

Step 1: Cutting the chair back

Cut the bottom of the Antique Pressed Chair Back straight across (mine was cut 1-inch from the bottom).  I used a jigsaw because, in all honesty, I'm still uncomfortable operating a table saw alone, especially making a cut on a curved piece of wood.

Cutting chair back for bird feeder

Step 2:  Building the base

Cut a piece of pine board 5" x 8 1/2" - this is the base of the bird feeder.

Pine base for antique chair back bird feeder

Step 3: Marking the curvature of the chair back

Now I'm not going to lie, it took some time to get the curvature of the chair back onto the base of the bird feeder so they fit perfectly when assembled.

Hold the chair back upright onto the back of the bird feeder base. With a pencil, draw the curvature onto the wood.

Marking chair back curve onto bird feeder base

Using a jigsaw (make sure the wood is securely clamped onto your work surface) cut the curve. Take your time because cutting a curve can be a little more challenging. Chances are it won't be a perfect fit.  If yours was, hands up in the air from me to you!

This is where a mouse sander comes in VERY handy. Slowly work away at the parts that need to remove until it fits nice and snug against the chair back. It took me several attempts to get it right. The goal is to not have any gaps between the bird feeder and the chair back or the seeds are going to runneth over.

Cut and sand bird feeder base to fit chair back

Step 4: Cutting the front and side pieces

You will need three pieces of pine plywood cut as follows:
Front = 10" long x 3 1/4" high
Sides = 5" long x 3 1/4" high
I used my miter saw to cut these.

Note: I had some cedar scraps and grabbed those instead. In hindsight, I would have preferred using pine to match the base. Both types of wood were the same thickness so all is good.

Cutting sides for chair back bird feeder

Step 5: Assembling the front and back onto the base

I applied Gorilla construction glue onto the bottom of each piece before assembly. Using a brad nailer with 1 1/4-inch brad nails, I attached the pieces from the bottom of the base. Clamps will be your friend for this part to hold all the pieces together.

Chair back bird feeder assembly

Step 6:  Adding decorative trim to the feeder

I had some wood trim in my stash with a similar profile as that of the chair back. Using a miter saw, I cut the corners at 45° angles and glued them around the base of the feeder,  I then secured them in place with the brad nailer.
Front Trim Piece = 10 1/2-inches long
Side Trim Pieces = 6 1/8-inches long

Adding trim to chair back bird feeder

Step 7:  Notching the chair for feeder attachment

Hold the bird feeder up against the chair back and mark where your sides meet up with the chair back. Mark the notches with a pencil.  Mine are 1" wide x 3 1/4" high.

Using a jigsaw, cut out the notches. Again, secure the chair back onto your work surface and take your time. You want to first make the two end cuts. Then make thin slices all across the middle up to the top mark (see picture below).

With a 1-inch chisel, remove the slices. Repeat this on the other side.

Notches to join bird feeder with chair back

Step 8: Attaching the bird feeder to the chair back

Apply glue to all the parts of the feeder that will make contact with the notches. Slip the feeder through the notches and attach with a brad nailer.

Run the mouse sander over all of the edges and the where the sides slip through the chair on the back to smooth everything out. Apply wood filler to all the joints and sand smooth once dry.
Sorry, I did take a picture of it all assembled before painting it but I must have accidentally deleted it. You get an idea of how they fit once assembled in the picture below.

Chair back and bird feeder box assembled

Step 9:  Adding the pretty

For the safety of the birds, the inside of the feeder was kept natural. The rest of the feeder was painted with chalk paint, which has low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), in the color New Life. According to some research studies, green bird feeders attract the most birds.

With a small stencil brush and chalk paint in the color Dark roast, I got paint into all the details using a circular motion and wiped away the excess.  I love how the paint made all those details pop!

Aging chair back bird feeder with brown chalk paint

Once dry, I applied two coats of Tough Coat protective finish (which is suitable for outdoor use) on the painted surfaces ONLY.

Step 10:  Adding typography

I had to add fun typography onto the front of the feeder. The "served here" is part of a stencil from the Funky Junk Interior stencil line.  I used the same Dark Roast chalk paint color from Step 9.

The "SEEDS" graphic I made in PicMonkey and printed it onto bond paper.  Using carbon paper, I traced the letters onto the wood.  With an art brush, I painted each letter with the same Dark Roast chalk paint.

Step 11:  Adding a hanger to the back

Measure to find the center of the chair back and mark it with a pencil.  Attach a D-hook onto the back.  The bottom of the D-Hook measures 2 1/2-inches from the top on mine.

Step 12:  Hang that baby!

Hang it from a fence or tree. I hung mine from our fence far away from normal foot traffic so the birds won't be scared away while enjoying their feasts.

Eat little birdies while I enjoy watching you from afar!

Antique Chair Back Bird Feeder hung outdoors

Antique chair back bird feeder

Now it's time to see what my talented friends made for the Spring Power Tool Challenge.

Please press the links below to see what my talented friends have created for Spring.
Chevron Wood Easter Egg by Kim Six Fix
Fruit and Vegetable Bin by Designs By Studio C
Wooden Swing Shelf by Domestically Speaking
Wooden Easter Eggs by Create And Babble
Repurposed Easter Cross by Prodigal Pieces
Planter Box Centerpiece by Refresh Restyle
Upcycled Drawer Front Planter by Confessions of A Serial DIY'er
Rustic 3 Panel Wall Decor by Designed Decor
Baseball Bookends by Virginia Sweet Pea
Chair Back Bird Feeder by Interior Frugalista
Wood Slice Rolling Plant Stand by My Repurposed Life

You'll find this project linked up at these PARTIES.

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