How to Turn a Liquor Bottle Into a Hummingbird Feeder

Learn the secret for drilling holes in heavy-bottom bottles so you can upcycle them into unique hummingbird feeders.

Tools and Materials

  • clean heavy-bottom glass bottle
  • 1/4 " x 2-1/4" glass/tile drill bit
  • 1/4" stainless eye bolt with two nuts
  • 5/32" x 3/8" x 1/16" rubber washer
  • 3/4" x 12" stainless steel gate latch cable
  • 1-1/8" x 1-3/8" hummingbird feeder stopper with tube

It’s All About the Right Tool

A spade-style tile bit is perfect for drilling small holes in glass bottles. Instead of actually drilling material, it slowly scratches through the glass. Choose a lightweight drill that doesn’t have any hammering action to it. You’ll need to be able to control the drill’s speed so you can go slowly.

Remember to Work Safely

You’re drilling a hole through glass so there’s always the possibility that you can shatter your workpiece. It’s always a great idea to wear gloves and safety glasses and to clamp your bottle in place.

Find the Center of the Bottle’s Base

Draw an X over the center of your bottle so that you’ll have a good visual reference point. Make sure to use a marker that will wash off the bottle. After you’ve located your mark, clamp the bottle to the edge of a table and make sure it’s held securely. You’ll need to have both hands free.

Slowly Start to Drill and Keep it Cool

Slowly begin to drill the hole into the base. Use a very minimal amount of pressure and let the drill bit do the work for you. Pause occasionally to squirt some water on the glass and the bit to prevent overheating. Too much force will crack the glass, and too much heat will weaken the glass. So take your time and keep everything wet as you go.

Drill All the Way Through

Because your drill bit is a triangular shape, you need to make sure that you drill far enough so that the bit goes into the bottle freely. If you stop short, you’ll have a tapered hole that won’t be a consistent diameter. Once you’re through, this is the perfect time to wash out the inside of the bottle thoroughly. Don’t use any chemical cleaners, they can harm the hummingbirds.

Assemble Your Hardware

Using a 1/4” eye bolt, a rubber washer and two nuts, attach the bottle to the gate cable. Use high-quality stainless steel hardware so that it won’t rust or leach into the bird feeder.

Assemble the Eye Bolt

Start by screwing one nut about 1/2” up the eye bolt’s threads and place a tight-fitting rubber washer right up against it as shown. Then insert the bolt into the hole you just drilled. Make sure that the washer totally covers the holes edges.

Attach the Inside Nut

Place the inner nut on the tip of a magnetic retrieval tool and insert it into the neck of the bottle. Screw it onto the eye bolt threads as far as you can. Ideally, you’ll get all of the threads on the nut itself seated.

Tighten the Outer Nut and Attach the Cable

Tighten the outer nut so that you have a nice air-tight seal around the glass and test it for leaks. Don’t over-tighten or you’ll risk cracking the bottle. Hand-tight should get the job done. Once you’ve tested for leaks, attach the cable to the eye bolt so that the fixed loop is at the top.

Attach a Plug With a Feeder Tube and Enjoy

Fill your new feeder with hummingbird food, attach any standard feeding tube and stopper and you’re ready to hang your feeder. Make multiple feeders to attract more birds and keep your bottles out of the landfill.

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