Let’s make a DIY butterfly feeder and fill it with an easy butterfly food recipe that can be hung from a tree branch in your backyard to attract beautiful butterflies. Kids of all ages will love this easy butterfly feeder project and it is a great way to upcycle your overripe fruit!

easy homemade DIY butterfly feeder with butterfly food recipe - sponges soaked in butterfly food hanging from tree branch with words: easy homemade butterfly feeder
Let’s feed butterflies!

DIY Butterfly Feeders

Our yard doesn’t have many butterflies right now and I am going to change that with this butterfly food recipe & homemade butterfly feeder.

Related: Make a hummingbird feeder

Making a DIY butterfly feeder is a great way to attract more butterflies to your yard in an inexpensive and homemade way! Many of us have bird feeders, but not a lot of us have an easy butterfly feeder.

What to feed Butterflies

Often butterfly food is a sugar solution, but our butterfly food recipe is more than just a sugar solution utilizing other ingredients you have in your kitchen.

The cool part is, it isn’t just a butterfly water feeder or sugar water that we are adding to our butterfly feeder. We are making a specific butterfly food recipe butterflies love. This butterfly feeder and homemade food combination is a sure way to attract local butterflies and all their bright colors to your yard. It’ll almost look like a butterfly garden it’ll attract so many.

How to Make a Butterfly Food

See how to make a DIY butterfly feeder below from hanging sponges and let’s gather the ingredients you will need so you have exactly what you need to put into a butterfly feeder.

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Butterfly Food Recipe Supplies & Ingredients

*Use overripe fruit, not rotten fruit. There is a difference. Overripe bananas are like the brown bananas you would use for banana bread. An easy way to tell if your fruit is bad is if it is liquid, smelly, or moldy.

Grab a wooden spoon and a large mixing bowl so we can put all of this together for the butterflies since it isn’t just sugar water.

How to Make Sugar Water To Feed Butterflies

Step 1

Mash the bananas using a fork.

Step 2

In the large bowl, mix all the ingredients well. If you find that your bananas are lumpy,  continue to stir with a large spoon until smooth.

Note: Do not let your little one taste this. The bananas, sugar, and syrup may be appealing, but adult supervision is required if your little one is helping.

How to Make a Butterfly Feeder 

The simple butterfly feeder is made with just two supplies which makes it really easy to answer the question, How to feed butterflies?!

Easy Steps to Making Homemade Butterfly Feeder - shown are 9 stages of the complete DIY process
Before you know it, you will be feeding butterflies!

Supplies Needed to Make DIY Butterfly Feeder

Steps to Make a Butterfly Feeder

Step 1

Take each sponge and cut a small hole in one end toward the top in the middle using the sharp end of the scissors to poke through the sponge.

Step 2

Tie twine or string through the hole and secure.

Step 3

Leave a long end of the sting/twine so you can use it to hang from a tree branch.

Step 4

Now let’s make the butterfly food recipe (a printable version is below)…

How to Feed Butterflies with Your Feeder & Food

–>I recommend doing this step outside so the butterfly food mixture doesn’t drip in your home!

Step 1 – Add Butterfly Nectar to Sponge

Dip the sponges into the mixture and allow the sponges to soak up the mixture. I did one side of the sponge then flipped it over so it was entirely coated. 

Step 2 – Hang DIY Butterfly Feeder in Tree Branch

Then hang the sponges from a tree limb or tree branch. The vibrant colors of this fun little project will also make your tree more colorful! A welcome addition of color I think.

Plus hanging it up high on a tree branch is a safe place away from pets and children. This homemade nectar is for butterflies after all.

How to Feed Butterflies Without a Feeder

You can also paint the butterfly food mixture on trees, fence posts, rocks, or stumps. Choose places that butterflies might land or be attracted to. Butterflies especially like the color yellow.

Butterfly Food FAQ

Can you feed butterflies hummingbird food?

Yes! In fact the traditional homemade nectar of sugar water can be used for both hummingbirds and butterflies. Hummingbirds prefer red and bright warm colors. Butterflies are attracted by brighter yellows. Hummingbirds will eat more and need larger feeder areas.

What can I give a butterfly to eat?

Butterflies generally drink nectar which is liquid and sweet. Finding things that mimic that combination will usually attract butterflies to eat. Fruit juice, sugar water or water sweetened with syrup or honey are all things that are similar to the natural food of butterflies.

Can you give sugar water to butterflies?

Yes, in fact sugar water is a very common butterfly food. It needs to be diluted and most butterfly food recipes call for a 10-15% sugar water dilution.

What do you put in a butterfly feeder?

A butterfly feeder that contains liquid can be filled with a sugar water solution, fruit juice or even clear liquids like gatorade.

What is the best thing to feed butterflies?

We think it is our homemade butterfly food recipe with all sorts of sweet and unexpected goodness!

Easy Homemade Butterfly Feeders hanging from twine in the trees - two sponges one pink and one green
Calling all butterflies!
Yield: 1000 servings (I think!)

Butterfly Food Recipe

Butterfly food recipe - homemade from Kids Activities Blog

This easy homemade butterfly food recipe can be made at home with ingredients you likely already have and then hung to attract and feed butterflies. Kids will love this project and so will adults!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost under $10


  • 1 pound Sugar
  • 1-2 cans stale beer
  • 3 mashed, overripe bananas
  • 1 cup molasses, honey or syrup
  • 1 cup fruit juice
  • 1 shot rum
  • Sponges
  • Twine or string


  • Scissors
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Wooden Spoon


  1. Mash the overripe bananas with a fork.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in the large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir until the mixture is as smooth as possible.
  4. At the end of each of the sponges poke a hole with the end of the scissors.
  5. Thread the twine or string through the hole in the sponge and tie a knot leaving enough string or twine length to use for hanging.
  6. Dip the sponges into the mixture allowing them to soak up the liquid either dunking it or rotating to all sponge sides. This step is best done outside to decrease your kitchen mess!
  7. Hang the sponges from a tree limb, fence or post.
  8. You can paint the extra butterfly food mixture onto trees, fences, rocks and stumps.

More Feeders to Make for Your Backyard

More Butterfly Fun from Kids Activities Blog

Tell us about whether your new homemade butterfly feeder attracted butterflies!

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  1. I’m so excited to make this butterfly feeder with the family. I can’t wait to see how many butterflies show up!

  2. My boys will have so much fun making these butterfly feeders. They are always on the lookout for birds and bugs when it starts to warm up, so I know they will have fun keeping an eye out for butterflies!

  3. Raising butterflies from caterpillars has been one of the coolest activities that my son and I have ever done. We love it so much that we do it every year now! I love the idea of adding butterfly feeders to the yard as well!

  4. This will be the spring/ summer that my daughter and I actually make a butterfly feeder like we have been wanting to! We can put it right in front of one of my home office windows so that I can gaze at the pretty butterflies while I work! Such a fun STEM activity to keep kids learning all the time, while giving butterflies a little snack!