Not only do butterflies bring color and beauty to the garden, but they do important work by pollinating flowers. Moreover, many species are endangered and so need our help and protection.
Why not provide a little something to attract more of these magical creatures, and reward them for their contribution to your garden? A butterfly feeder will tick both these boxes, plus many serve as pretty garden ornaments too!
Here are 14 of the best DIY butterfly feeders:
1. Plate Feeder
Made by suspending an old plate on string from a tree, this feeder is decorated with colorful glass beads and bright silk flowers to sparkle and attract the butterflies. A sugar solution provides them with nourishment and energy.
Create a series of butterfly feeders on a long tree branch by hanging hooks made from heavy gauge copper wire at 6-inch intervals. Bait the hooks with large chunks of ripe fruit such as oranges, mangoes, watermelon, papaya and bananas.
This functional feeder is constructed by filling a glass jar with a sugary solution and suspending it upside down from a tree or garden trellis. A small piece of sponge protruding from a hole in the jar’s lid allows the butterflies to access the sweet, homemade nectar.
A pretty feeder can be created entirely for free by using thrifted goods – this simple one is made with a salad plate and glass sundae dish!
Entertain the kids for an hour or two while teaching them about nature when putting together this butterfly feeder. All you need is a plastic planter, some string, beads and butterfly food!
A less colorful affair, this feeder will blend into your garden while nonetheless attracting pollinators. While many feeders use a dyed, synthetic kitchen sponge, this project requires a natural sea sponge which is safer for butterflies and other insects to feed from.
Fill a tin can with some bright and colorful flowers, along with a small cotton ball soaked in sugar water, and stick an artificial butterfly on the side. The butterflies will come in their droves!
8. Jug Feeder
A Martha Stewart inspired beautiful feeder adorned with flowery stencils and stickers. Filled with sugar syrup, this is sure to attract hordes of butterflies to your garden.
Take a clean and shallow glass jar, fill it with flat rocks and place a sugary sponge on top. Adorn with clementine segments or another fruit and place in the garden – DIY doesn’t get much simpler!
Give nature a helping hand twice by feeding the butterflies with something made entirely from recycled household objects! Save up your toilet rolls, straws, pipe cleaners, colored plastic bottle caps and yarn and get to work.
11. Water Feeder
Butterflies don’t just need food, they need a source of fresh water to rehydrate, particularly during a scorching summer day. This rustic hanging feeder provides a safe place to drink and bathe for birds, bees and butterflies.
With a yogurt lid, hole puncher and pieces of twine, you’ll have this mini feeder created in mere minutes. It’s also easy and safe enough for children to construct.
Twist wire into a spiral shape, ensuring it is closed at the end, fill with bright sweet fruit and hang from a tree. You can also play around and create other shapes too – just make sure it will be able to hold in the butterfly food!
14. Salt Lick
Although butterflies get most of their nutrition from nectar, they also require salt and other important minerals which they tend to get from mud puddles – a behavior known as puddling! When mud puddles are scare – such as at the height of summer – male butterflies will be especially grateful for this salt lick, made from sand from the seashore, water, and butterfly perches formed from driftwood, a few shells and sea glass shards.
Best Butterfly Feeders On Amazon
DIY not your thing? Then consider buying one of these three hand picked butterfly feeders on Amazon.
What to Put in Your Feeder?
Butterflies tend to be choosy when it comes to their dinner and, although different varieties have different preferences, they generally prefer a liquid or semi-liquid diet. To attract different butterflies, you should provide a variety of foods.
Many species of butterflies are attracted to sweet and somewhat decaying smells – think overripe (or almost rotting) fruit such as bananas, melons, apples, plums, pears, mangoes, papaya and berries.
Others like orange segments, while more enjoy a mixture made from mashed over-ripe banana and molasses.
A little homemade sugar ‘nectar’ will also see them flock to your garden from all around. Dissolve one part granulated sugar in four parts boiling water and allow to cool completely. You can store this in the fridge for up to one week.
Don’t forget that butterflies mainly feed on the nectar of flowers, so consider planting these 30 beautiful varieties of plants to attract them, as well as brightening up your garden!