As the winter turns into spring, you might like to spend more time in the garden. Craft ideas for kids will keep the children busy over the warmer period and decorative bird feeders need not be overly difficult to make. This family project helps you create your very own wooden bird box that will stand out, and you can keep the kids occupied with its simple design and help them turn it into their favourite animal! We hope you find these bird box design ideas useful.
Tools and Materials
Here’s what you need to create your own wooden bird box:
In addition, these materials will be needed:
Wood (plywood 18mm thick) 610mm x 1220mm (this will be cut up and will leave you with some excess for another project- yay!)
Nails (panel pins 1.6mm x 40mm)
Length of bamboo (approx 8mm in diameter and 15cm long)
Butterfly hinges X 2 (38mm)
Metal hook and eye
Cuprinol wood preserver (Country Cream)
Black wood paint
Cost, time and difficulty
The approximate costs of these materials are around £40. Head here to see a guideline ManoMano shopping basket where you can find some of the materials used. It’s a great project to do if you already have some wood lying around. From start to finish it shouldn’t take you any longer than a couple of hours to complete (depending on your experience).
Step 1: Choose the measurements and cut the wood
Think about the size of your bird box. I opted for something that was 20cm wide by 30cm but it really depends on your preference. I chose plywood because it is quite cheap and at 18mm thick it shouldn’t be too flimsy- remember it is going to be out in all weathers. If you do go for the same thickness, make sure that your panel pins are long enough to bite into the adjacent wood.
Measure up the wood to create either a rectangular or square box. Leave the front of the box for now- we will come back to that later. The dimensions I chose were:
- Back of box- 20cm x 30cm
- Sides of box- 15cm x30cm (two of them)
- Floor and roof of box- 15cm x16cm
Cut these using a handsaw or a jigsaw. Try to be as accurate as possible so that you make a nice even box. Use the panel pins to hammer together. It might be easier to enlist the help of a friend to hold them together…just a thought. You now have the back and sides of the bird box.
Step 2: Design the front
You’ll want to make the front of the box. It will be broadly speaking the same dimensions as the back of the box.
However (and this is the fun bit) you could add some detail to make your bird box stand out. Why not add a pair of ears to make it look like a cat or, like I did, an owl.
Using a pencil, add the detail and then cut round that using the jigsaw. I kept it very simple and just added two triangles in the corner- although I did ‘jagger’ up between the two ear tufts to make it look like feathers. If when you run your fingers round the cuts of the bird box it is jagged then you can sand the edges to avoid splinters.
Step 3: Preserve your work
As the birdbox is going outside and it is made of wood, you will need to preserve it. Decide on a colour (I went for Country Cream from Cuprinol’s Colour range) and paint it all round.
To stop splash backs, make sure to do this on some newspaper and maybe use a couple of wood off cuts to stop the box sticking to the paper. Let it dry and then give it another coat.
Step 4: Screw the front on
Once dry, you’ll want to attach the front to the rest of the box. You need to be able to remove the front as you might need, from time to time, to maintain or clean the box.
I went for a pair of butterfly hinges. Get someone to help you line them up. Use a pencil to mark the holes of where you want to put the hinges. Then use a thin wood drill bit to drill pilot holes. This should mean that the screws screw in nice and easily.
Do the same on the front of the box and screw in the screws. The ‘door’ that you have now created should open and close smoothly and easily.
So that the door doesn’t just open when it feels like it, you need to find a way of fastening it. The simplest way is using a hook and eye. Twist the ‘eye’ in to the side of the door (opposite side to the hinges). If you find it hard then perhaps draw a pilot hole first. Then insert the hook and lead it back until the door closes. Twist the second ‘eye’ into the side of the box.
Step 5: Create a bird entrance
You need to make an entrance for the birds and you can do this by using a holesaw attachment on your drill. Depending on your make of drill this is usually quite simple but be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions.
Select a good place for the hole (remember this will be the location of the mouth/beak on the face of the bird box. I went for a 25mm hole but you could make it bigger. Don’t make it too big or other critters like squirrels might get in…
Using a regular wood drill bit (approx 6- 8mm) drill a hole just under the entrance to make a perch. Make the hole just slightly smaller than the dowel or bamboo stick you are inserting. Like that you can push the bamboo through and it will pinch nicely, meaning that you shouldn’t need to stick it.
Step 6: Paint
Let your artistic side run away with you. Use a thin brush and some black wood paint to make the design. There are loads of good design ideas online if you are stuck for ideas.
That’s just about it- all you’ll need to do is to drill a hole in the back and attach the box to a tree or somewhere stable. Remember that this box is quite heavy so don’t place it anywhere where it could easily fall!
This article was written by our guest blogger Lauretta from Home and Horizon. She shares thrifty tips and deals on interiors and travel and believes it’s all about cutting costs – not corners!
Wondering about what to make with your leftover wood? Check out these projects: