DIY Birdhouse

February is the harshest month in my neck of the woods.  Temperatures plummet, snow accumulates, the wind bites your skin and almost everything has a layer of ice on it.

I’m Canadian, it’s par for the course up here and quite frankly I’d miss it if I were in a more temperate climate.  Snow and ice can be pretty – if you are inside with a hot drink and a fire going.

But it always gets me to thinking about the poor little birds.  Some will hide in hollowed out trees, but most will tough it out tucked in between evergreen branches or dense bushes.  Inevitably some will survive and some will die – from cold, from starvation, from life.  We could help you know – one little DIY birdhouse at a time?

(Yes, Hubby tells me often that I need to stop humanizing animals (Anthropomorphism) I even think that our dog gets sick of the same flavoured food day after day)

I got surfing on Pinterest and found oodles of gorgeous birdhouses – painted, decorated, embellished, two storey, condos with porches – you name it, it’s out there.

You know me – if there’s a way to make my own, I have to try.

Enter Ana White and her plans for this “$2 DIY Birdhouse” (which really amounts to about $3.50 Cdn).

PLUS – it’s kid-friendly – meaning that they can help to build it with you!

I won’t steal Ana’s tutorial here, but I’ll give you a few tips that I thought were important (click any of the images to be linked directly to Ana White’s plans and tutorial).

  1.  I chose to use cedar.  Not pressure or chemical treated wood so as not to harm the birds.  Pine will work, but the wood will rot quickly, so your birdhouse might only last a season.  In my opinion plain, untreated cedar is your best bet.

DIY Birdhouse - only $3 to build!

  1.  I questioned the use of glue and wood filler on this project.  I understand that it gives the birdhouse added strength, but I’m not sure how good it is for the birds to inhale.  Having written that, I did use wood glue and a tiny bit of filler (on the roof) to try to keep out drafts.  Fingers crossed the birds forgive me.

Birdhouse - 2

  1.  Ana’s plans call for a 2″ spade bit to drill the hole in the front of your birdhouse.  I only had a 1 1/2″ bit, so I went with what I had.  If you hope to protect/attract larger birds you might want to go with a larger hole.

Birdhouse - 3

  1.  I chose not to paint ours.  While a brightly coloured and patterned DIY birdhouse would certainly brighten up a cold and dreary garden – it would also make it more visible to predators – which hardly seems fair.

Miss Madison and I whipped these out in less than 30 minutes.  I cut a third ‘kit’ for Miss Chloe, but she wasn’t in the mood to come and build with us at the time.  Once the wood is cut it’s all about hammering in nails – easy-peasy and Maddie loved building with me.  (although she was mortified that I took this photo – heaven forbid anyone “cool” see her with sawdust in her hair. lol)

Birdhouse - 1

Birdhouse - 5

I really like the idea of these as online slots gifts.  Perhaps you could pre-cut several DIY birdhouses and use them for goodie bags after a birthday party, or build them as a craft during the party.  The kids will have a great time building their own project, and they will have something tangible (and not dollar store garbage) to go home with.

Birdhouse - 8

One 5 foot cedar board (1 x 6) made a house and a half, and each board was around $6 – so it’s a really inexpensive project and a great activity for parent-kid time.

Birdhouse - 9

My dilemma now is how to get them up into the tree?  I could attach a chain and hang them, but I know I’d get seasick with all that rocking and rolling. (Yes, anthropomorphism again – I however, choose to call it “empathy”)

Perhaps an L-bracket and then attach it right to the trunk of the tree?  Ana has hers sitting on a fence post, but I have two cats and that just seems cruel somehow.

Birdhouse P

Easy project,


fun with/for the kids,

and a home for those poor, shivering birds….

We should all make one!

Have a great one!

Too funny


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2019-10-28T08:27:55-04:00January 23rd, 2016|BUILD IT, DIY, KIDS|55 Comments


  1. Emily Marie from A Pop of Red January 24, 2016 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Such a sweet and simple birdhouse. Love it :)

    Oh, and a tip from my childhood: We had a similar style DIY birdhouse and we made the roof hinged (so one side lifts up). That way we could open it and nail it to the tree from inside the house. Made everything a lot easier!

    • Susan Marlene Hawkins Gilliam August 22, 2018 at 11:23 am - Reply

      That hinged roof was probably for ease in cleaning the birdhouse out, which should be done every year. I build mine with a removable bottom which is removed by removing a screw on each side at the bottom and dropping it out. I use screws that don’t rust. I use same screws for attaching the hanger. See Facebook Birdhouses by Susan. Mine are pieces of art.

  2. Shelly @ January 24, 2016 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    Great tip – (and one that I wish I’d implemented). Thanks for sharing.

  3. Linda Bennett March 28, 2016 at 5:16 am - Reply

    I love these little birdhouses. The only thing I would do differently, is put a 2 inch dowell under the opening for the birds to roost on before entering.

    • Shelly @ April 10, 2016 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      Great point – but there is also the lower “lip” of the birdhouse that they can land on. It sticks out beyond the front frame of the house about an inch. My next versions will definitely incorporate a dowel AND hinges (another missed feature that would have been nice to have). Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      • Susan Marlene Hawkins Gilliam August 22, 2018 at 11:30 am - Reply

        I do hope love Birdhouses. But I read that the lip and fixing them on solid surfaces allow squirrels an easy way to hold onto the birdhouse and steal the eggs. I don’t know if that is true or not. That’s why swinging is better and without the platform. Birds do not need the dowel, tho I put them on mine, too.

    • Betsy December 9, 2018 at 10:54 am - Reply

      Perches are not recommended on bird houses as larger birds can sit on them and reach in and get the babies and eat them! :O It is difficult, if not impossible for the larger bird to rest on the opening and reach in to get the babies. So, no perches:)

  4. Bob Salter May 17, 2016 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    actually, the perch isn’t needed nor wise. the birds living there don’t need it and predators use the perch while attacking the chicks (nature can be cruel) there are a number of ways to hinge the birdhouse and some form of access is smart since many bird varieties will not nest in a house that has last years nest in it. after the chicks leave the nest the best thing is to open the house, empty the old nest and wash down with a mild bleach solution. i gather you’re sensitive to chemicals in a house but it will dissipate before they come back and it kills feather mites which can make the birds miserable.

    • Shelly @ May 30, 2016 at 11:55 am - Reply

      Thanks for the tips! I had no idea about the feather mites, and you’re right about predators. Thanks for taking the time to let me/us know!

  5. Rick Chall June 17, 2016 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    Much to make me two?

    • Shelly @ July 4, 2016 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Unfinished? I can whip up two kits for you and send them off for $20 – but you’d have to cover the cost of shipping. I could build them for you, but then the shipping box would be bigger and might cost more?

  6. Dave Hentscher July 3, 2016 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Three comments, I hope they will help. Your houses look great.
    At the top(one inch down from roof peek,) of the back drill 2 holes 1/4 ea for ventilation and in the bottom drill 4 holes, for ventilation and water drainage one in each corner.
    Attach the bottom with 2 screws, one in each side no glue, a simple 1 inch drywall pre-drill to prevent splitting the wood, screw works great and will securely hold the bottom on against the weight of what ever the birds put in the nest. Then each year just remove the two screws and clean out the old nest screw it back and ready to go again, the bleach solution sounds good,too.
    As for painting, and wood fillers. You can safely uses these, they do not draw predator, paint only the out side, leave the inside natural wood. Makes the house safe for the birds and colorful for the garden. Look up hole size for the bird you want to draw and some birds do want a perch and some don’t.

  7. Phyllis Bachinski July 22, 2016 at 8:02 am - Reply

    We put roofing shingles on all our houses to prevent the wood getting soaked from rain or snow. I think it helps!

  8. Garry September 21, 2016 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    These look great if you use small branches, cut to length and brad nail them to the front and sides making the bird house look like a log cabin

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  11. Barbara Robertson December 16, 2016 at 7:08 am - Reply

    i want to purchase some unfinished bird houses i love those and have a lot of ideas for them

  12. Janet Downing February 27, 2017 at 9:46 am - Reply

    Bleach is not a good choice for cleaning bird houses. A little white vinegar and water is safer and just as effective.

    • bobby salter February 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      might be, I’m going by guidelines i read on the net and its worked without issues. several years of birds returning and broods thriving. but i like the idea of using vinegar. will that kill the mites?

  13. […] Just follow the simple instructions here. […]

  14. Barbara Robertson July 26, 2017 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    I would like to purchase about a dozen or 2 of those birdhouses , what are the size and the price?.

    • Shelly @ July 27, 2017 at 8:06 am - Reply

      I don’t actually sell the bird houses – these were a quick and easy DIY project that I was sharing with readers. I’m sure a local handyman could whip these out for you in no time – try Kijiji or Craig’s List and see if there is a retired carpenter or someone like that. Sorry I’m not much help on this.

    • Susan Marlene Hawkins Gilliam August 22, 2018 at 11:38 am - Reply

      I do sell mine that are decorated. Can also sell kits or undecorated built. Your choice.

  15. Maria September 29, 2017 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Hey there! What’s the length and width of the Wood board?

    • Marsha September 8, 2018 at 9:28 am - Reply

      1 x 6 untreated cedar 5 feet long

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  17. Don December 8, 2017 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    I looked carefully but no where did I see the width of board used. I looked back to the referenced pattern and it said 5.5 inch width and 0.5 inch thickness. They just used 6 foot fence boards to make the pieces. Otherwise it is a very easy pattern to use and is easy for young children to help with. Great idea.

  18. sdfghjkl January 29, 2018 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    sounds easy

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  21. Austin March 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    This is a very well built birdhouse, its nice to see the girls working with you. I will for sure build this for myself, thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  22. David March 8, 2018 at 6:28 pm - Reply

    I <3 this And it sounds easy<3 <3 <3 <3

  23. Ray Rozales March 27, 2018 at 9:09 pm - Reply

    Great bird house. I use cedar fence slats and regular pine wood as well. Me making several thru the years I have found that using rust free screws makes for a lasting bird house year after year. Twig perches are well used by the birds I also use eye hooks with rust proof wire to hang the Houses. Some seasons the birds do the house cleaning before you get to them. I also use a fine mesh attached below the houses to catch the chicks that are not ready to fly but escape, to discourage the predators……. Happy bird house building.

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  25. Ange May 22, 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    You don’t say what angle to cut the front and back so the roof is slanted. Maybe you bought yours like that, but I am using re-purposed wood so I need to do the cutting myself. No very helpful to post incomplete plans.

    • C'mon Ange August 21, 2018 at 10:21 am - Reply

      It’s a 90 degree angle at the top, so they are 45 degree cuts. Basic middle school geometry.

  26. […] an extended “porch” in front for finches and swallows to take in the view! Blogger Shelly at 100 Things 2 Do suggests using untreated cedar instead of pine because pine will rot and cedar and lasts 25 to 40 […]

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  36. Jacob English November 22, 2019 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    What type of birds go in this house?

  37. BIRD CRAFTS December 31, 2019 at 12:37 pm - Reply

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  38. Salomeia January 15, 2020 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    So what are the measurements in cm please and how much do you cut off for the triangular but so one please help ! I have a project due in 1 week !!

  39. Harry Moore February 19, 2020 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Anyone can find the “centimeter to inch” conversion on the web. The inch and a half opening is great for Eastern Bluebirds, but the ones out West prefer one-and-a-quarter. It’s OK to paint the cedar houses, but use water based enamel (I use Behr) to be safer for the birds. If it isn’t painted, the cedar will just turn grey over time. There are gobs of websites dealing with bird houses. The Audubon Society is a great resource.The kids will love “becoming a guru” dealing with these wonderful animals of God’s creative genius.

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