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butterfly feeder hanging on a branch

Butterfly feeders

Butterflies are beautiful and it’s a treat to bring to your garden. This simple activity is fun to do and creates butterfly feeders to hang outside.

This is a fun activity to do in a pair, as family or as part of a group on a rainy day. Once you have made your butterfly feeder you can hopefully enjoy a bit of butterfly spotting from your garden or through the window.

Full instructions for how to make a butterfly feeder

You will need;

  • 1 x small shallow container with a rim such as a plastic disposable picnic bowl
    coloured paper cut into squares approx.5cm in size
  • 4 x pieces of garden twine or string 40cm long
  • Hole punch or scissors
  • Images of whatever you like, we like to spend time going through nature magazines cutting out images that draw our attention
  • PVA glue and a brush
  • Small tin of outdoor varnish (to make your feeder weatherproof)
  • Sugar water (2 parts water to 1part sugar, dissolve sugar in boiling water and let cool)
  • Small sponge to fit the bottom of your bowl, we cut up some scouring sponges.


  1. Use the hole punch or scissors to make four holes equal distance around the rim of the bowl.
  2. Cover the sides and bottom of your container in a background colour using the paper squares and glue. It doesn’t matter if the paper overlaps – in fact it’s better so that it blocks out the sides/bottom of the container completely.
  3. Cut out images from your favourite magazines and glue them around the sides of the container.
  4. Whilst the glue is drying pass the four lengths of string/twine through the four holes in the rim and secure with a small knot.
  5. Tie the four lengths of string/twine together at the top making sure you leave a loop to hang the feeder (you could use a slipknot loop, similar to a casting on stitch in knitting).
  6. Coat the sides (and bottom if needed) of the container with varnish. This will stop the rain from ruining the images. It will need two coats of varnish and you will need to allow several hours between each coat.
  7. Take the sponge and dip it in the sugar water, soaking it up, then place inside the bottom of the container.
  8. Hang up in the garden away from the house and main paths; other insects will be attracted to the sugar water.

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