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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lantern Hummingbird Feeder

Husband asked me if I was into getting a bird feeder a few weeks ago when we were standing in the checkout line at the garden center.  I smiled to myself because it was yet another sign of Husband getting into our new gardening hobby. I suggested a hummingbird feeder because our lavender attracted hummingbirds until the big fat bumble bees found it and hog all the polleny goodness. 

Husband said we should think on it because a bird feeder is an impulse purchase and we never know what lymphoma side effect Blitzkrieg will have each week with or without an extra expensive expense. We're very conscious about spending money that might look extravagant or  that we are using your generous Blitzkrieg Cancer Treatment Fund donations to buy bird feeders instead of canine chemotherapy. Trust me, everything you donate to the Blitzkrieg Cancer Treatment Fund pays for Blitzkrieg's mounting medical bills. The poor guy keeps getting side effects that require more medical attention than was first estimated. ( Edited by Lisa: The final bill was $4 to $5K in threee months time when we were finished because of the side effects and remissions and extra treatment they required instead of initial estimate of $3K spread over 6 months time.)

I decided to make Husband a hummingbird feeder for Father’s Day or as it is known in these parts, Doggy Daddy Day.

My first five attempts were big, fat FAILs.
  • My original plan was to buy a glass hummingbird feeder tube, stick it on an empty painted by me wine bottle, and make a holder from copper wire. It would have worked if my craftypaintaphobia didn’t mess up the project. My ready made stencil stenciling attempt bled under the stencil. It made blobs not flowers.
  • My punch circles from leftover contact paper to make a stick on stencil attempt bled under the stenicl because the contact paper I used has been rolled up/mashed in drawer since we moved in. I had more bad blobs.
  • I liked Round One of using a round stenciling pouncer to paint circles on the bottle. Unfortunately, I hated the other layers and colors I used on the bottle. Can I put out here it is a very good thing Martha Stewart craft paint doesn't cure immediately when it dries on glass and makes it easier wash after five failed attempts of painting?
  • I decided to paint the hummingbird feeder test tube that came with the feeding tubes, and add red wire wrap glass stones to it to attract hummingbirds. The glass stones looked like red welts. I hated it.
I was frustrated. I gave up and went with what I knew – power tools.

How to Make a Hummingbird Feeder from a Tea Light Lantern


You will need:
  • 1 tea light lantern (I had it in my garage from a past project)
Optional but recommended: An ant moat.  I bought a handmade copper ant moat from eBay seller Grandma Darlene)

1. Clean residue from outside of the glass test tube with the rubbing alcohol and cotton ball or rag. This is what Mural Maker and More says you should to do before you paint on glass. She is a professional painter so whatever she recommends in the area of craft painting I do.

2. Use the paint brush to paint the outside of the test tube with red glitter paint to attract the hummingbirds to the feeder. Hummingbirds are attracted to red because most of the flowers they feed from are red. Science is cool, huh?

Sparkly!

3. Use the drill and a drill bit the same size or slightly larger as the feeding tube to drill a hole in the tea light holder of the lantern.


4. Once the paint on the test tube is dry thread the feeding tube through the hole in the lantern lid.



5. Fill the test tube with hummingbird sugar water feed, cork the test tube with the hummingbird feeding tube, place the test tube in the lantern, and screw the bottom of the feeder onto the lamp.

6. Fill the ant moat with water and use it to hang the hummingbird feeder in your garden. I added a bit of a mosquito donuts to my ant moat since standing water is the perfect place for mosquitoes to make mosquito babies. We have concerns about West Nile Virus in my area. 

7. Ring that dinner bell and tell those hummingbirds to chow down!


How to Make Hummingbird Feeder Food


You will need:

1 part white sugar
4 parts water
Pot
Stove

Make it: 

1. Dissolve the sugar in the water solution in the pot and bring it to a boil for 2 minutes on the stove.

2. Allow the mixture to completely cool before putting it into a hummingbird feeder.

3. Change the solution in the feeder every week or the sugar water will ferment. Hummingbirds are teetotalers and won’t drink fermented sugar water. It may also make them ill. Smart birds those hummingbirds.

4. When you clean the hummingbird feeder do not use dish soap. Hummingbirds don’t like the taste of soap residue (getting a little picky now...) Experts recommend rinsing the feeder very well with hot water before refilling it with a fresh batch of Hummingbird food.

We hung the hummingbird feeder from the tree in our front yard. It has not attracted any hummingbirds that we can see. I think this has to do with the large lip on the bottom of the lantern I used to make my hummingbird feeder. It may be too long and covers the feeding tube too much so the birds can't drink from it. Learn from my mistake and choose a lantern with little to no lip on the bottom.


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