Make a DIY Butterfly Feeder in 6 Easy Steps

by BrightNest

Don't underestimate the butterfly - it's more than just a pretty garden addition! There are 561 known butterfly species in the United States and Canada, all of which pollinate your flowers. Encourage butterflies to visit your yard and pollinate your plants by making a butterfly feeder. It's easy! Full tutorial: Note: Some evidence suggests dyes may have negative health effects on humming birds. If you have humming birds in your region, we suggest making this sugar solon without dyes and making your jar extra colorful, instead!

You'll need: mason jar or baby food jar with sealable lid, kitchen sponge, hammer and nail, heavy-duty string, sponge, sugar, scissors, saucepan and flower stickers or decorative tape (optional).

1. Prepare "butterfly food" by mixing nine parts water with one part sugar. If you are using a mason jar for your feeder, use tablespoons, and if you are using a baby food jar, use teaspoons.

2. Using a nail and hammer, punch a small hole in the center of the lid. A piece of a sponge will need to fit snuggly in the hole, so keep it small - you can always make it bigger if necessary.

3. Cut a 1/2 inch strip from your sponge, then pull it through the hole in the lid so about half of the sponge is sticking out from the top - you'll want the sponge to be a tight fit.

4. Before you tie any string around the jar, decorate your jar with brightly colored stickers, construction paper or washi tape. Flower shapes and bright colors are great options, because they'll imitate the real deal.

5. Use your string to make a hanger. Flip your jar upside down. Tie some string around the neck of the jar (slightly below the lid). Cut two more pieces of string that are about two feet long.

That's it! Now you can hang your feeder outside. It will work best if it's placed about six inches higher than your tallest flowers.

DIY Mason jar ideas

For more creative ways to repurpose empty glass jars, discover Hometalk's best DIY Mason jar crafts here.

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 6 questions
  • M. M.. M. M.. on Mar 05, 2017
    I'd have ants coming down the strings in less than 24 hours, haha! I first thought that coating the twine with Vaseline would work, but I imagine the butterflies could also perch there, and get greasy? Any ideas for ant blocking?
  • Penny Penny on Mar 25, 2017
    Is the sponge to the bottom? How does it stay moist?
  • DeBorah Beatty DeBorah Beatty on Dec 17, 2018

    What is the purpose of the sponge?

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8 of 95 comments
  • Georgia Scienze Georgia Scienze on Apr 15, 2020

    The proper ratio water to sugar is 4:1. Nine parts water to one part sugar will fill the bird up with no nutritional value and likely starve the bird. Artificial red dye is made from petrochemicals, again, bad for the bird and completely unnecessary. Just add red coloring to the decorations. I’m not sure the sponge is a good idea either. Will the bird be able to get it’s tongue into the food? Please correct so people do not use the wrong ratio. It’s 4:1, only granulated sugar; not raw, not artificial, not brown sugar.

    • See 5 previous
    • Gerl Nucc Gerl Nucc on Feb 16, 2024

      This is NOT for HUMMINGBIRDS.

  • Carey Carey on Oct 07, 2022

    Also using one of those compressed sponges to put through the hole will make it a tight fit through the hole.