Make a Butterfly Feeder

Alberta is home to many beautiful butterflies. Try out this nature activity to attract beautiful butterflies to your yard! There are two different designs of butterfly feeders you can make - choose whichever one works for you, or try them both out! Figure out what types of species are using your feeder with our Butterfly Identification Guide.

Design #1

What You'll Need

  • Plastic planter plate or plastic container lid or plastic plate/bowl
  • Hole punch
  • String
  • Beads (optional)
  • Butterfly food - fruits like oranges, bananas, watermelons, strawberries.
    • Butterflies also really like banana peels!

    What to Do

    1. Use the hole punch to punch 3 holes around the rim of the plate, evenly spaced out. These holes are where you will attach the string to hang your butterfly feeder up.
    2. Cut 3 pieces of string to the same length - about 12 inches long.
    3. Using one piece of string per hole, tie one end of the string to the plate through the hole you made. 
    4. You can now choose to use colourful beads to decorate the strings of your butterfly feeder. Put as many beads as you would like on each string.
    5. Tie all 3 strings together at the top (the other end of the string not connected to the plate). You will now be able to hang your feeder.
    6. Cut up your butterfly food and place it on the plate.
    7. Hang up your feeder in a tree in your yard! Hanging it near other plants and flowers will attract the butterflies to your feeder.

    Design #2

    What You'll Need

    • Mason Jar + Lid (baby food jars also work)
    • Sponge
    • String
    • Water
    • Sugar
    • Construction paper, colourful tape, stickers (optional)
    • Hammer & nail

    What to Do

    1. Make sure your jar has the lid fastened on. Using the hammer and nail, create a nail-sized hole in the center of the lid of the jar. An adult needs to do this step.
    2. Remove the lid from the jar.
    3. Cut a piece of sponge to fit into the hole you created in the lid. You want the sponge to be in there tight so that it will not drip sugar water. There should be about 2 cm of sponge sticking out either side of the lid. This will be where the butterfly drinks from.
    4. You can now add stickers and other colourful things to the jar to attract butterflies to it. Butterflies usually go to flowers, so making your butterfly feeder bright like a flower will make them want to use your feeder.
    5. Create the butterfly food. In your jar, mix about 1 tablespoon of sugar with 1 cup of water. (For reference, use 1 part sugar for every 10 parts water.)
      • Note: Adding food colouring or dye is not good for butterflies. Instead, make the feeder itself colourful and keep the food clear.
    6. Fasten the lid onto the jar again, and tip upside down to test if it leaks. If it does, your sponge is probably too small. Also check to make sure the lid is on tight enough. Done properly, the sponge should be wet with sugar water, but not dripping.
    7. Attach string to the jar to hang up the feeder. Wrapping the string around the neck of the jar will work best, and having three strings evenly spaced will keep it steady. Remember, the jar is hanging upside down!
    8. Hang up your feeder in a tree in your yard! Hanging it near other plants and flowers will attract the butterflies to your feeder.

    Ask Yourself

    • What are the different stages in a butterfly's life cycle?
    • Why do they like fruit and sugar water?
    • What are some other types of pollinators?
    • Why are pollinators important?