We built this “Squirrel Cafe” last summer. My son attends woodworking classes at the park he’s going for after school program. They built a race car and raced it at the downhill derby. He’s really into these types of projects. My husband found this simple woodworking project template for kids and they all put it together in a few short hours on a nice sunny weekend afternoon.
- 3 ft 1 by 3 (actual measurement is 3/4 in by 2 1/2 in) pine board
- 5 ft 1 by 4 (actual measurement is 3/4 in 3 1/2 in) pine board
- Ruler and pencil
- 1 lb 5d galvanized box nails
- One 12d galvanized box nail
- Gorilla Glue
- Clamps for woodworking
- Drill with 5/64 twist bit
- Indoor/outdoor latex paints, polyurethane, and paintbrushes
- Dried ear of corn
Tools used in this project
First, we need a plan to cut the boards. You can download the blueprint for the squirrel feeder showing the board cutting measurements here.
1. We measure and mark the boards and label the pieces according to the template.
2. We cut out the pieces we marked with a handsaw. If you are working with your child, we recommend predrilling holes before they nail the pieces together.
3. You will need clamps when putting the pieces together. You can also use gorilla glue to hold them together before nailing.
We began with the chairs. For each chair, stand a leg (A) on end and center a seat (B) on top of it so that the two pieces resemble a T and the backs are flush. Nail through B into A. Then attach the chair back (C) by centering it along the back of the A/B assembly with the bottom of A and C flush. Nail through C into the A/B assembly.
4. Next, we made the table. Stand the table leg (D) on end and center the floor (F) on top of it. Nail through F into D, making sure the nail goes into the solid part of the leg. Now nail the 12d nail through the center of the tabletop (E). This will be used to attach the corn to the table once the feeder is built. Then flip over E (the spike will be pointing up out of the wood) and nail it, positioned diagonally, to the top of D.
5. To assemble the feeder, turn the chairs upside down and facing each other so that they are resting on the very tops of the seat backs. Have your child turn the floor/table assembly upside down and set it on top of the chair bottoms so that the ends of the floor are flush with the backs of the chairs. Nail the floor to the chair bottoms.
6. Measure and mark 8 inches up from the bottom of the back wall (G). Align the bottom of the feeder floor with this mark and nail through G into the edge of the adjacent chair and the floor. Center the angle brace (H) under the floor and against G. Nail H to the floor and to G. For added stability, drive another nail through the back of G into the end of H.
Everyone gives a hand. There are lots of nails to hammer.
7. Finally, drill two nail holes in G, one 1/2 inch down from the top and another 1/2 inch up from the bottom, to use for nailing up the feeder.
8. If you want to go fancy up the Squirrel Cafe before putting it up, use indoor/outdoor latex paint to add a tablecloth and seat covers. For extra durability, once the paint is thoroughly dry, brush on a top coat of polyurethane.
And here is the squirrel cafe with customers. It takes about 2-3 hours to build this with kids. We first strapped it to our backyard fence with a bungey cord. This year we attached the squirrel feeder on to the tree in our front yard with zip ties. We put a dried ear of corn on that nail or we sometimes put peanuts as well. If we get lucky, we catch the squirrels in action. Most of the time all we see is an empty cafe with no leftovers.