Repurposed Antique Chair Back Bird Feeder

Who says chairs are just for seating! I'm going to show you how to repurpose an antique chair back into a bird feeder. That's right, a bird feeder. While brainstorming ideas for this month's Spring theme for our Power Tool Challenge I was rummaging through my wood stash and came across a bucket of antique chair parts. Taking a closer look at the pressed chair back, it reminded me of a butterfly.

While sipping my morning brew I stood staring at it wondering what I could make with it. Just then I heard a bird chirping from the open window and bam, the idea for a bird feeder came into my head. I hope you find the detailed step-by-step tutorial below helpful and that it inspires you to build one too.

Repurposed Chair Back Bird Feeder

Repurposed Antique Chair Back Bird Feeder


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.

Let's talk a bit about safety first

  • Make sure you have a wood cutting blade on your jigsaw.  If not, unplug the jigsaw 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 loud power tools.
  • Start the saw first before making contact with the wood you are cutting. Take your time and do the cutting in stages if need be.


This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Listed below are the tools and supplies you'll need to build the bird feeder.

Tools:

Miter Saw
Jigsaw
Brad Nailer
Mouse Sander
1-inch chisel
Small Bar Clamps

Supply List

Antique Chair Back
Pine Plywood
1 1/4-inch Brad Nails
80 grit mouse sander pads
New Life Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint
Dark Roast Country Chic Paint
Exterior Water-based Clear Coat
D-hook Picture Hanger

How To Build A Bird Feeder With A Chair Back

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how the chair back bird feeder is made I should mention that we are self-taught DIYers and not trained professionals. This step-by-step tutorial is based on our building knowledge only. However, if you are a do-it-yourselfer like us, you'll find these steps helpful if you plan on making a version of our feeder.

DIY Bird Feeder

While there may seem to be a lot of steps in this tutorial, it really is not a difficult project. I wanted to be thorough so I've broken down the steps into bite-size pieces.

Unfortunately, I don't have in-process photos for each step because I was working alone. Trying to build it and take pictures was a little challenging. Also, note that the photos may not appear to be in sequence with the steps.

Why?

Because was winging it as I went along. It wasn't until after completing this project that I realized a smarter way of building it and so I wrote the tutorial accordingly. What can I say, that's just how I roll sometimes!

I encourage you to follow the steps in chronological order and refer to the pictures as noted for guidance.

Step 1: Trimming The Chair Back

Cut the bottom of the antique pressed back chair straight across (see pencil line in the photo below) marked 1-inch from the bottom.  I used a jigsaw to cut it because to be totally honest this girl is uncomfortable using a table saw, especially when cutting a curved piece of wood.

Press Back Chair Repurpose

Step 2: Building The Bird Feeder Base

For the base of the bird feeder cut a piece of pine board 5" x 8 1/2".

Antique Chair Back Idea

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.

Handmade Bird Feeder

With 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, sending loud applause your way.

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.

This is a good time to add drainage holes to the base otherwise the birdseed may mold. With a small drill bit, smaller enough that the birdseed won't fall through, drill several drainage holes staggered through the bottom of the base.

DIY Wooden Bird Feeder

Step 4: Cutting The Front And Side Pieces

You will need three pieces of pine plywood cut on a miter saw as follows:
Front = 10" long x 3 1/4" high
Sides = 5" long x 3 1/4" high

I had some cedar scrapwood and grabbed those instead. In hindsight, I would have preferred using pine to match the base just so the finish was uniform. However, both types of wood were the same thickness which is most important so all is good.

Bird Feeder From A Chair

Step 5: Assembling The Front And Back Onto The Base

Adjustable clamps will be your friend during this step to hold all the pieces together while you attach them. Before assembling the base I ran a bead of wood glue onto the bottom of each piece. With a brad nailer and 1 1/4-inch brad nails, I attached the pieces starting along the bottom of the base.

Quirky Bird Feeder Idea

Step 6:  Adding Decorative Trim

I had some wood trim in my stash with a similar profile as that of the chair back. With a miter saw, I cut the corners at 45° angles and glued them around the base of the feeder and attached them with the brad nailer.

Front Trim Piece = 10 1/2-inches long
Side Trim Pieces = 6 1/8-inches long

Fence Mount Bird Feeder

Step 7:  Retrofitting The Chair Back To Accommodate The Bird Feeder Base

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

With 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 and then make thin slices all across the middle up to the top mark (as pictured below).

With a 1-inch chisel, remove the slices and repeat on the other side.

DIY Backyard Bird Feeder

Step 8: Attach The Bird Feeder Base 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 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 once dry.

Sorry, I know I took a photo of the bird feeder assembled before painting it but I must have accidentally deleted it. You get an idea of the finished assembly in the photo below.

Chair Back Bird Feeder

Step 9: Painting The Bird Feeder

For the safety of the birds, the inside of the feeder was kept natural. The rest of the feeder was painted with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) chalk paint in the color New Life. According to some research studies, green bird feeders attract the most birds.

To highlight all the carved details, I used chalk paint in the color Dark Roast, applied in a circular motion with a small art brush. Then I removed the excess paint while it was still wet with a lint-free rag. I love how the paint made all those details pop!

Green Painted Wood Bird Feeder

Step 10: Adding Typography

This step is completely optional but I added some fun typography onto the front of the feeder. The "served here" is part of a stencil and I made the "seeds" graphic in PicMonkey. You can see how I added the typography onto the bird feeder using this image transfer technique.

Once the paint is dry, protect the finish with two coats of an exterior grade waterbased clear coat on the painted surfaces ONLY.

Hang Your New Bird Feeder Outside

Attach a D-hook onto the back of the bird feeder approximately 2 1/2-inches from the top. Hang the bird feeder on a fence or tree away from regular foot traffic so the birds won't be scared away while enjoying their feast.

Backyard Bird Feeder Idea

If you have any questions about this bird feeder tutorial, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this chair back repurpose idea, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your DIY Bird Feeder or Outdoor Ideas board on Pinterest.


Repurposed Chair Back Bird Feeder

Please join me in visiting my talented friend's ideas for the Spring Power Tool Challenge.

Power Tool Projects For Spring

Press the links below to see what my talented friends in the Power Tool Challenge Team 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

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.

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Comments

  1. I did not expect that, It is gorgeous. I have noticed more power tools coming out in your projects. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anita! You'll see me rock the power tools every once in awhile on here but you'll never see me rock the table saw. LOL Glad you like my crazy idea for a bird feeder.

      Delete
  2. What a cute project and I bet the birds love it.
    I didn't see or read where you drilled small holes on the bottom for drainage if it should happen to rain.
    If no drainage holes the water will collect and the bird seed will get moldy and that in turn will make the birds sick if they eat moldy seed.
    If not, you might consider drilling some small drainage holes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for pointing out that I missed adding that part in my tutorial. You're absolutely right, Colleen, there MUST be drainage holes! Going to edit the post now.

      Delete

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