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How to Make a Decorative Concrete Bird Feeder

Sally Gulbrandsen's tutorials and techniques are as individual as she is: unique, experimental, and always interesting.

Starling feeding youngster on the Hypertufa decorative hanging Bird Feeder

Starling feeding youngster on the Hypertufa decorative hanging Bird Feeder

Fun and Easy Bird Feeder Project

A chance find can sometimes result in a project like this one. The acrylic cake stands sitting in the window of a thrift shop had my name on them before I walked across the threshold! I found the corded men's fashion belts in a thrift shop as well. Both were the perfect compliment for these cement-mix (hypertufa) hanging bird feeders.

There are many recipes for making hypertufa cement. For additional strength, you can choose to add fibers to the mix or even perlite to make it lighter. Experiment until you find a mix which works best for you.

hypertufa-easy-diy-project-decorative-hanging-bird-feeder

Items Required to Complete This Project

  • An acrylic 3-tier cake stand that has removable layers which can be separated from one another, as is shown below.
  • Cement mix which contains both cement and sand (10kg). Many home improvement stores sell ready-to-mix cement in bags. They come many different weights and sizes. I used nearly ten kilos for the two layers. The thickness of the cement when spread was approximately half an inch.
  • Cement mix colorant (if desired)
  • Latex gloves
  • A spoon for mixing the cement.
  • A mask for covering your mouth and nose to prevent cement poisoning.
  • Cooking spray, oil or plastic sandwich wrap that will act as a release agent once the cement is dry.
  • A large plastic mixing bowl or container
  • Recycled belts or a piece of thick rope on which the finished bird feeder can be hung.
3 Tiered Acrylic cake stand with stacking shelves

3 Tiered Acrylic cake stand with stacking shelves

Latex Gloves, Cement Mix and a Plastic Bowl.

Latex Gloves, Cement Mix and a Plastic Bowl.

Acrylic layers wrapped with cling wrap/alternatively, grease with Cook and Spray/Cooking Oil.

Acrylic layers wrapped with cling wrap/alternatively, grease with Cook and Spray/Cooking Oil.

Step 1: Prepare the Mold

  • Separate the acrylic cake stand layers.
  • Cover the top of each tier of the cake stand with plastic wrap.
  • Alternatively, spray with Spray and Cook, or grease using cooking oil.
Cement mix and utensils

Cement mix and utensils

Step 2: Mix the Sand and Cement as per Packet Instructions

  • First, cover the surface of an old table (preferably outside) with a large black bag and assemble the required items.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a protective mask to prevent yourself getting cement poisoning.
  • Put on a pair of latex gloves.
  • Pour the building sand from the large bag into the plastic container.
  • Empty the contents of the small bag of cement (found inside the large bag of building sand).
  • Combine the dry items thoroughly using a spoon or wooden spatula until they are well mixed.
Adding the water to the mortar mix

Adding the water to the mortar mix

Step 3: Add the Water

  • Pour a quantity of water into a well in the center of the sand and begin mixing the sand and cement together.
  • Continue adding the water until you have a consistency which is nice and smooth but not wet or runny.
  • Add only enough water to make it workable.

Step 4: Smooth Out the Mortar

  • Smooth out the mortar using a spoon or spatula.
  • Brush using a small pastry brush or something similar.
  • Avoid using your kitchen utensils when doing this project, but if you do, they should not be used again for cooking. Rather, wash them and keep them clean and dry for your next project.
  • I used an old pastry brush to provide a little texture. Later when the layer was dry I used a small sanding block to smooth any rough edges.
  • You can, of course, incorporate small pieces of mosaic etc., but I prefer a more natural stone effect.
The small pastry brush

The small pastry brush

Step 5: Make the Threading Hole

  • Avoid covering the top section of the cake stand.
  • Keep it free of cement so that you have a nice clean hole through which the belt can be threaded.
Separate the plastic cake stand from the cake stand and leave to dry to a week or two.

Separate the plastic cake stand from the cake stand and leave to dry to a week or two.

Step 6: Let Dry for 24 Hours

  • Allow the layers to dry for 24 hours and then remove the plastic mold from the base.
  • Allow the layers to cure for a further 1 to 2 weeks before doing anything further with the project.
  • Place the layers outside under a sheet of heavy plastic and occasionally wet them, and leave to dry under the plastic.
  • When the layers have been fully cured, smooth out any rough edges with a sanding block as I did, or simply use them as they are.
  • Add a corded belt or jute rope to the bird feeders for a natural look, as is shown in the images below.
Mortar mix hanging bird feeder with attached recycled men's waist belts

Mortar mix hanging bird feeder with attached recycled men's waist belts

Step 7: Choose the Belts

  • The belts shown here are recycled belts which were purchased from a thrift shop for £2 each.
  • I never planned on using belts but they worked beautifully.
  • The color is a perfect match for the natural stone and the studs add further interest to the project.
  • I am quite sure that even the birds in our neighborhood are still chirping in wild approval!
Getting ready to thread a belt through the larger of the two feeders I made

Getting ready to thread a belt through the larger of the two feeders I made

2 of 2 Hanging Baskets waiting to have the belts threaded through the holes

2 of 2 Hanging Baskets waiting to have the belts threaded through the holes

Step 8: Thread the Belts

  • Pass the end of one belt through the hole starting from below.
  • The buckle should remain on the underside.
Threading the belt through the hole

Threading the belt through the hole

Step 9: Thread From Top to Underside

  • Thread the belt back through the hole to the underside as shown.
The top side of the hanging bird feeder

The top side of the hanging bird feeder

Step 10: Close the Buckle

  • Draw both ends evenly through the hole.
  • Close the buckle.
Close detail of the buckle when it is fastened to the feeder

Close detail of the buckle when it is fastened to the feeder

Step 11: Secure the Buckle

  • When closed, the buckle should be neatly arranged over the lower hole, as is shown.
Close detail of the largest bird feeder

Close detail of the largest bird feeder

Detail of the completed hanging bird feeder

Detail of the completed hanging bird feeder

Recycling: Is It for the Birds?

How to Make Basic Hypertufa Pots

© 2015 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on July 23, 2020:

Thank you Abby. I love my feeders and they are still going strong so many years later. I even have a squirrel eating at it, I will add a picture which I took a couple of days ago. Thanks so much for your visit.

Abby Slutsky from America on July 23, 2020:

I love what you made, and your pictures make everything so clear. What a great project!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on February 22, 2020:

Thanks for stopping by to comment Donna. My bird feeders are in daily use, visited by anything as large as a pigeon or as small as a blue tit, occasionally by a squirrel:) They provide us with endless entertainment. I love them.

Donna Rayne from Greenwood, Indiana on February 21, 2020:

Excellent article and very creative. Hopefully, I can make a bird feeder one day! Thank you for sharing this with all of us!

Have a lovely day,

Donna Rayne

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 04, 2019:

Hi Jill, these feeders have been wonderful, so unique in their own way and perfect for someone like me who likes to photograph the birds when they are feeding. They are still hanging and continue to give us and the birds so much pleasure.

Jill Spencer from United States on November 04, 2019:

These are just wonderful and wonderfully lightweight. Definitely fit for the birds-- in a good way!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 08, 2019:

Hi Patricia, I am glad you liked the bird feeders. They have survived all-weather for several years now and give us so much pleasure as we watch the birds from the kitchen window. They work brilliantly for my photography. I love them as they are uncluttered and simple. Thank you so much for the positive feedback.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 08, 2019:

How clever this is. I may just have to give this a try. Birdies are happy happy in my yard. I will use this as a decorative art form in my yard as I have Kitty and do not want to think the bird feeder will provide a buffet of sweet birdies for her dining pleasure. Pinning this for others to enjoy. Angels are on the way this evening ps

Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on December 11, 2016:

You are most welcome dear! ☺

Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on December 11, 2016:

You are most welcome! ☺

Looking after birds in this way, is a great deed and work of appreciation. God bless you!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on December 11, 2016:

Thank you @SakinaNasir53 I appreciate your stopping by to comment. Glad you liked this idea:)

Sakina Nasir from Kuwait on December 11, 2016:

This is amazing! I just love the idea. ☺

Great job with the detailed tutorial. Love your hubs Sally! So creative! ☺

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on June 01, 2016:

Glad you liked the bird feeder. The birds and pesky squirrels are still enjoying their feeding tables. I think they are pretty content with their lot.

Thank you so much for the taking the time to comment and also for sharing this hub.

Jill Spencer from United States on June 01, 2016:

Wow, this is ingenious. I was supposed to attend a hypertufa workshop about making pots but missed it. I think, though, they used molds. This looks much "neater" than a mold. And it stands up to a chubby squirrel! Wonderful. Shared.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on April 11, 2016:

Eiddwen

Thanks Eddy you are very welcome.

Sally

Eiddwen from Wales on April 11, 2016:

A great hub and thank you so much for sharing Sally . We love feeding the birds so this will be very useful.

Eddy.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on August 06, 2015:

DDE

Hi Devika,

So nice of you to stop by. You have been missed. So glad you like the images. Thanks too for the vote up and useful.

Best wishes,

Sally.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 06, 2015:

The photos are amazing! Voted up and useful!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 19, 2015:

MartieCoetser

You are welcome, I hope you enjoy making yours.

Sally

Martie Coetser from South Africa on May 19, 2015:

What a brilliant idea, Sally! I have just the place to hang out a bird feeder. Thanks for the tip :)

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 19, 2015:

D.A.L. I am so pleased to hear that you liked this one. I enjoyed doing this one and I loved taking the photos of the chick feeding. I also hope that you health is improving!

Thanks for the vote up interesting, tweet and share. All are much appreciated.

Sally

Dave from Lancashire north west England on May 19, 2015:

Hi Sally fantastic article and a great money saving tip. Great that things can be made in this way. Love the shot of the Starling feeding the chick. Voted up,useful and interesting,tweeted and shared.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 19, 2015:

Suzie HQ

Glad you enjoyed this one. I think that best thing about this feeder is that it has given me the opportunity to photograph the birds which visit the garden. It has been amazing, especially with all the little chicks beginning to hatch.. Watching the birds has become quite addictive. I am able to put my tripod up outside the kitchen window and when I spot something interesting I can remotely click the camera. It has given me so much fun. You might be able to put one outside your window on a bracket!

Thanks so much for the vote up +++++ all the way!

Best wishes,

Sally

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on May 19, 2015:

Hi Sally,

Wow, what a fantastic idea, one that is new to me! I never heard of this before but adore it. You are so gifted in making things, re-purposing and being so darn creative! Well done love the one you did and excellent instructions and pics making it so doable. Love to try this and even for those of us without the space for a bird feeder( I am in an apartment and very restricted with what I can put up) what a great gift idea! My brother has a big garden with some trees and plenty of space so they would love this! Thanks again, votes Up +++++ all the way!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 18, 2015:

Diana Lee

I don't envy you having bears in the neighbourhood. I can't imagine coming across one of those. Safety comes first and I think you are wise not to feed the birds when they are likely to come scrummagin'.

Thank you for the visit and the vote up, it is appreciated.

Sally

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on May 18, 2015:

I love this idea. I feed the birds in the winter months, but because of our bear population these past couple of years I can no longer feed them come spring. Birds are very fun to watch. Voted up.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 16, 2015:

vocalcoach

So glad you enjoyed this DIY Project. I very much enjoyed writing and photographing it. Thank you so much for the share and the high praise.

Sally

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on May 16, 2015:

Outstanding DIY project for Hanging Bird Feeders. Your photos are vivid and a big help for seeing each step along the way. Will share and thank you Sally.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 16, 2015:

Ilonagarden

I think even a child could make this one and the birds are enjoying it too.

I appreciate your visit and the comment, thank you.

Sally.

Ilona E from Ohio on May 16, 2015:

This was quite a unique way to make garden hypertufa. I've seen a number of instructions, but his one looks as easy as promised for a bird feder!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 16, 2015:

Faith Reaper

I am so pleased you liked it, as much as I loved doing it, especially the photography. Those greedy little critters have stolen my heart.

Editors Choice would be nice - especially for this one as this is one of my favorites:) HOTD - well, we can only wait and see.

Thanks so much for the very special comment, thanks so much for the Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing, it means a lot to me.

Best wishes,

Sally

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 16, 2015:

Oh, Sally, this is a great project, so creative! This is right of my alley, with the repurposing, recycling and/or upcycling ...no matter what it is called, I love it. I do like the aesthetically pleasing aspect of using the belts, plus the recycling aspect even more.

I must say, your photos are great, especially that first one. You caught a perfect shot there!

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Looks like another Editor's Choice/HOTD in the making here

Thank you for sharing this creative project!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 14, 2015:

AudreyHowitt

If you enjoy watching and photographing the birds which arrive on your feeder it will be well worth it. I am getting so much pleasure from watching their coming and going's.

Thanks for stopping by to comment.

Sally

Audrey Howitt from California on May 14, 2015:

Very cool project! I am dying to try this out!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 13, 2015:

FlourishAnyway

Glad you like the bird feeder. I confess I am not only crafty but thrify too, I love recycling things. Why pay for new when you don't have to? :)

Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it as always.

Sally.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 13, 2015:

You are one crafty lady, Sally! The birds must love you! Excellent instructions as always and I like the recycled/upcycled nature of this.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 13, 2015:

AliciaC

Glad you enjoyed this tutorial. I enjoyed doing something different from felting and I am enjoying photographing the birds on their new feeder. I hope to post some photos as soon as I can.

Your visit and comment are appreciated, thank you.

Sally

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 13, 2015:

torrilynn

I did enjoy doing this project and the birds are enjoying using their feeder. Thank you for taking the time comment.

Best wishes,

Sally

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 12, 2015:

This is a great project. I love your creativity! "Hypertufa" is a new word for me. I appreciate the education and the instructions for making the lovely bird feeder.

torrilynn on May 12, 2015:

This seams like a cool and fun thing to do, in order to pass time. Really great instructions that you have in this hub as well. nice work. Best of wishes.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 12, 2015:

Dolores Monet - I guess there are many recipe's, some include fibers and some Perlite or Vermiculite. I think the next time I experiment I will use these substances. I am sure they will make the mortar stronger and also lighter in weight. A family member makes some beautiful vessels with them and recommends adding them to the building sand and cement.

Thanks for stopping by to comment. It is appreciated.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on May 12, 2015:

I love the birdfeeder. A couple of years ago, I was making stepping stones from cement molded with large leaves. So I know that it can be fun to work with. But I thought hypertufa was cement with something else added. I did that too but it all fell apart.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on May 12, 2015:

I would had made this bird feeder if there aren't any black crows here! I can't see any sparrows nor pigeons around. Only black crows hunting for my hangers!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 11, 2015:

mary615

The weight of the concrete had no effect on the cake stand molds and the concrete feeders were easily removed after twenty-four hours leaving the molds ready for use for another occasion. The belts are very strong and could be substituted with leather ones should they perish. Jute rope used in boating would look aesthetically pleasing and could be replaced as they age. I am afraid that wire has no aesthetic appeal for me. I am also keen to use recycled items when I can, even if they don't last as long. I very much appreciate you taking the time to comment and for providing some of your own valuable experience for us to share.

Thank you for voting this UP etc. and for sharing it.

Best wishes,

Sally

Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 11, 2015:

I have made many bird feeders using cement, but this is a new one for me! I can't help but wonder if the weight of the concrete would break the plastic of the cake stands?? May I suggest using thin wire for a hanger rather than the belt? I'm thinking the belt will decay after a while. I had that experience when I made plant hangers from jute.

Voted this UP, etc. and shared.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 11, 2015:

randomcreative

I have to agree, the feeder does has some aesthetic appeal and as a first project it think it turned out rather well. I very much enjoyed putting this project together.

Thanks for visiting this Hypertufa project.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 11, 2015:

What a unique bird feeder! I love the aesthetic. Thanks as always for putting together such a detailed tutorial.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 11, 2015:

MsDora,

Lucky you, you are going to have a treat watching them come and go. A pair of blackbirds had three little ones two weeks on our verandah after making a beautiful nest at the top of a ladder which had been stood there for a few days. Sadly the wind came and blew the nest and the little ones onto the verandah floor just a week after they were born. I notice that she began another nest elsewhere a few days later. Life can be so cruel and the little birds often need as much help as we can give them in order to survive. You could consider making a little dish for water for them. You could add a waterproofer to that bowl, bought from a hardware store.

I hope you have lots of fun creating your feeder.

Best wishes,

Sally

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 11, 2015:

Birds made a nest in my hedge last week, and I actually thought of getting a bird feeder. Have to look again at this one. Voted Up!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 11, 2015:

aesta1

Nice to know that you enjoy the birds as much as I do. The squirrels can be pesky little nuisances and as a result I stopped feeding them peanuts. I now let the neighbours feed them nuts whilst I try to give the birds something which does not encourage the squirrels. I guess I like looking at them but they can be such greedy little devils

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.

Sally

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 11, 2015:

Glimmer Twin Fan

Glad you enjoyed this project. I certainly did and I know that our little-feathered friends in the garden are enjoying their new feeder. Hypertufa is a great word. I love it.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by to comment.

Sally

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 11, 2015:

What a great idea. We are at the Cottage now and the birds are just having a feast at our feeders. We do spend a lot on bird feed as the squirrels share them, too. But in early Spring, they do need some help.

Claudia Mitchell on May 11, 2015:

I love this project. What could be better than recycling and feeding our feathered friends at the same time. I also love that I learned a new word today! Hypertufa. Thanks!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 10, 2015:

DJ Anderson

Super comment. I love that you enhance the quality of my hubs just by gracing them with your presence.

The little beggars are the ones responsible for making me do this project. The darn Starlings are eating us out of house and home. The little red breasted Robin got sick of sharing so I thought I would give him his own patch, hence this upmarket bird table, made especially for him and his more delicate friends to share. Oh yes, I am familiar with those fancy taste buds, they have me making them homemade fat balls filled with peanut butter, bird seed, suet and oats but who cares. they bring me so much pleasure.

I hope you have a wonderful week DJ

Sally

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 10, 2015:

billybuc

Lovely to think of you having your weekends off Billy and I do recommend that you stick to your guns and continue in the same vein. I won't mind. I should have waited until Monday to publish this, but I knew that it would not have the time.. This was a fun project and I hope yours turns out as well as mine did. This one definitely has some sex appeal and looks so very nice in my little garden.

Thank you for your continued support, Billy, it means a lot to me.

Sally

DJ Anderson on May 10, 2015:

My goodness, Sally. You must have some highfalutin birds in the UK.

Have you thought this through? This means that you are going to be

expected to feed the little beggars, every day! I have seen this before.

You start out being really nice and give them some bird seed. Then,

after a week or so, they want water 'because the seeds are dry'.

The next thing you know, they will be knocking on your door asking for

crumpets and tea. They can be demanding little critters........kind of reminds me of small children. When my kids were really small, I had to put locks on all the doors. And, damn! They always found their way back into the house! :-)

Super hub!

Have a great day, my friend!!

DJ.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 10, 2015:

I rarely comment on weekends nowadays, but I'll always make an exception for you. You are so clever with your ideas. We are in the process of building another aviary for our backyard and this idea will fit in quite nicely. Thank you for such a practical solution.

bill

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 10, 2015:

purl3agony

Hello, Hypertufa is the word used which covers this craft rather than cement which remains is not left on the containers. The containers are removed leaving the cement base behind. You could make containers, boxes etc., to house your plants and reuse them next time. The containers are retained and used again next time. I appreciate the comment and the visit. Thank you so much

Sally

Donna Herron from USA on May 10, 2015:

Hi Sally - I've never heard of Hypertufa feeders, but I love the idea of recycling objects into feeders for birds. When I was a kid, we used to make bird feeders out of plastic soda bottles at school. However, the squirrels would eat through them in no time. I assume covering your items with cement will remedy that problem. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing another great hub!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on May 10, 2015:

poetryman6969

Glad you enjoyed this one enough to keep it and my goodness, learned a new word! This was a very rewarding project to do. The birds discovered it this morning, but I have yet to get a photo release from them!

Thanks for the vote up. Your visit is valued and appreciated.

Sally

poetryman6969 on May 10, 2015:

Very crafty. Voted up. I like the detailed instructions. I think this one is a keeper.

I learned a new word too: hypertufa. Bonus points!