Toy birds how to make your own cardboard toys for parakeets tutorial guide cheap toys
Toy birds how to make your own cardboard toys for parakeets tutorial guide cheap toys

How to make a fun cardboard toy for your birds

Because they are extremely intelligent animals, it is important that birds receive adequate mental stimulation.

This will help prevent them from becoming bored, depressed and destructive. We previously wrote about how to teach your parakeet to behave badly, but prevention remains better than cure. The easiest way to meet this need is to provide your pet with plenty of safe toys.

Because the toys in birds often need to be replaced and because their toys are often shredded, broken or otherwise torn up, it can help to have a few extras on hand.

A creative way to give your bird fun toys is to give them make it yourself at home. Cardboard toys are clean, non-toxic, easy to replace and fun, all of which make them great for birds and owners alike. To make simple toys for your bird, you need to gather the necessary materials:

What you need

  • One or two cardboard paper towel sleeves
  • Food coloring
  • A clean new brush (any size)
  • Scissors
  • Four small containers for dye
  • Two cups of cold water
  • Newspaper

Equipment / Tools

  • One clean new brush (any size)
  • Scissors
  • Four small containers for dye


  • One or two cardboard paper towel sleeves
  • Food coloring
  • Two cups of cold water
  • Newspaper

Instructions for making the bird toy yourself

Once your supplies are gathered, spread newspaper over your work space to protect any surfaces from the dye.

Prepare the dye

Once your workspace is clear and covered with newspaper, you should begin preparing the dye you will use to color the cardboard. Start by adding 1/2 cup of water to each of the four containers. Then add 30 to 45 drops of food coloring in each cup so that the coloring is very dark. Because cardboard is brown instead of white, the dye must be very dark, so that it remains visible once the tube is dry.

how to make cheap bird toys parakeets canaries self tutorial guide cardboard dye with food coloring

Paint the colors on the tube

After the colors are mixed, use a paintbrush to paint the dye on the cardboard tube. Be sure to use a used new, clean brush. Brushes that have been used before may contain residues of potentially toxic paint, which could make your bird sick if it swallows them. Use a threading motion to transfer the dye to the tube and make sure the cardboard is completely soaked with color to get a bright result once it dries. Don't worry if the colors mix or blend together. This can create a nice playful effect that many birds enjoy!

Put the tube upright to dry

When you are done coloring the tubes, place them upright in a safe place to dry overnight. Make sure the tubes are are completely dry before you try to cut them. The wet tubes are very thin and fragile and may fall apart if not dried properly. If you can't wait to surprise your bird, it is possible to speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer on a low setting. Be sure to work over the newspaper when doing this, as the power of the dryer will sometimes send droplets of paint flying!

Cut the tube

After the tube is dry, use scissors to cut spirals, rings and other shapes out of the cardboard. Don't be afraid to get creative with this project. There are endless modifications you can make to this toy with items lying around the house.

For example, if you have some string on hand, try stringing a few cardboard rings together to make a necklace. If you have some large buttons, attach them to a cardboard ring to make an interesting toy for your bird. When you cut the shapes, rings, and spirals out of the tube, make sure you use the parts of the tube with rings of glue discarded, so your bird doesn't eat it! Although most of the glue is washed away during painting, the amount that remains can be toxic if swallowed. Remember to cut out these parts of the tube and not offer them to your bird.

Surprise your bird with the new toy!

Once you have cut the tubes into shapes you like, give the toy to your bird. Some birds are in the beginning perhaps worried about the new objects - if this happens, simply place the toys near his cage until he is sure they are not a threat.

Once you've cut the tubes into spirals and rings, it's fun to get them around the bars of your bird's cage. Your pet will have a lot of entertainment when he tries to figure out how to get them off, and once he does, he'll have a fun colorful prize that he can shred and play with.

Remember, these toys are meant to be disposable short-term entertainment for your bird. Never leave them in your bird's cage for more than 24 hours. There is a chance that bacteria can grow on the cardboard, which can lead to health problems in your pet. Keep playtime safe by removing these toys after a day of fun.

There are no right or wrong ways to complete this project, as long as you and your bird have a good time. Be creative and try different techniques. You may be surprised to find that your bird prefers your homemade creations to purchased toys. Have fun!

Don't feel like getting started yourself? Then we recommend the following toys for birds:

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