As I get older, I’ve taken up new hobbies. One of those is bird watching. I’m enthralled seeing these natural aviators flit about on tree branches and soar through the skies, and I’ve learned to identify several species. I haven’t put out a birdhouse yet, but I’m always amazed at the unleashed creativity of some DIY birdhouses. Granted, several of these mini abodes are more decorative than functional, but birds have a way of making homes in some of the unlikeliest of places. So today I’m bringing you a bevy of birdhouses crafted by our staff designers plus some of my favorites from other bloggers. Any one of these creations is sure to send your imagination soaring!
Wood Toolbox Turned Multi-Bird Dwelling
Quickly change a wood toolbox into this charming tin-topped birdhouse. Glue or nail wood trim pieces down each outside corner of the box. Attach wood finials to serve as feet. Cut four entry holes in the side of the box and add a small coat hook under each for a perch. Cut an embossed tin tile in half to create two roof panels. Add flat trim pieces across the toolbox handle and down the roofline to support the roof panels. You might need to add extra trim to the handle to lengthen your toolbox and accommodate the full design of a tin tile. Pre-drill the edges of the roof panels and nail to the trimmed edges along the sides and top ridge. Finish with a large finial on top.
Pebbles and Pinecones Bird Cabin
Give a premade birdhouse a natural new look with pinecone petals and small pebbles. Use sharp scissors to snip complete petals from real pinecones. Apply premixed adhesive/grout along the bottom edge of one side of the roof. Set the first row of petals into the grout side by side and slightly extending over the edge. Apply the next row of petals, overlapping the first and offset like shingles. Push just the tip of each petal into the grout. Continue adding rows until both sides of the roof are covered. Apply grout around the birdhouse entry hole and press on pebbles. Then, add grout onto the rest of the front and add pebbles. Continue applying grout and pebbles until all sides are covered. Fill in any gaps with grout or smaller pebbles.
Whimsical Tin Creation for the Birds
Gather a variety of colorful pieces to create a one-of-a-kind birdhouse. This house is made from an enamel spatterware bowl, a vintage potato-chip tin, a larger candy-tin lid, a work-light shade topped with a small funnel, and a decorative bolt from an old wringer. Arrange your pieces and secure using metal screws or bolts with washers and lock nuts. Drill small holes first and then enlarge with bigger bits. Join roof pieces with a threaded pipe and epoxy glue for metal. Create an entry hole in your main birdhouse piece and outfit it with a decorative plumbing piece secured with glue. Adhere a bent fork below as a perch.
Repurposed Game Board Birdhouse
Who would guess this vintage-style Parcheesi birdhouse started out as an unfinished wood birdhouse? Measure each area of the birdhouse and cut out the desired shapes from your gameboard. For our roof, we cut one long piece, and the fold of the board became the roof’s ridge. Cut out the game name and any important symbols from the box cover for the birdhouse front. Age all the pieces by dry brushing with black paint and then hot glue them to the birdhouse. Glue game pieces to the roof and sides. Glue a stack of game pieces below the entry hole to create a perch. To make a hanger, drill holes in the die and other game pieces and string onto a length of cording, knotting the cording between the pieces. Drill a hole in the roof center to feed the cord through and knot at both ends. Add hot glue to secure.
Charming Floral Bird Cottage
Turn an unfinished wood birdhouse into this sweet stucco abode featuring floral roof panels cut from a tin box found at a thrift store. Measure the roof areas of your birdhouse and cut out the desired shapes from tin pieces. Wrap the metal loosely over the roof, turning the edges under slightly using pliers. When bending the tin, cover it with protective fabric or cardboard to avoid scratching the surface. Gently remove the roof pieces and set aside. Paint the entire birdhouse white and let dry. Cover areas that are to remain white with painter’s tape. With a flat knife or similar tool, spread a textured snow medium (tinted with acrylic paint) over the birdhouse, avoiding the taped areas. Let dry completely. Spray all areas with a waterproof sealer. Replace the tin roof pieces and secure by bending them into place as tightly as possible. Embellish the front areas of the birdhouse by adding metal trinkets with hot glue.
Luxurious Lantern Birdhouse
Decorative lanterns with glass windows make creating a fantasy birdhouse super easy. Remove the glass windows to use as patterns to cut thin wood panels to replace the glass. Drill an entry hole on the lantern door panel. Paint the panels to match your lantern, let dry, and then insert into the lantern. Lightly sand the edges of your lantern to give it a distressed look. Add decorative details like embossed metal frames to the window panels and the door. Add trim or design to the birdhouse opening, and attach a small drawer pull as a perch below the opening.
Teapot Birdhouse Redo
Thrift stores almost always have a variety of pretty floral teapots for sale. Choose your favorite and make it into a birdhouse. Create an entry hole in the side of the teapot using a diamond bit hole saw. Protect the surface where you plan to drill with masking tape. Use a battery-operated drill and hold a small piece of wet sponge next to the bit to cool it as you drill. Start by holding bit at an angle to the surface, allowing it to cut a groove, and gradually tilt the bit forward until it completely hits the surface flat. Take your time and stop occasionally to let the pieces cool off. Just below the opening, repeat with a smaller hole to make an opening that will hold a spoon-handle perch. Carefully cut a spoon handle next to the bowl with a hacksaw. Bend the end of the handle at a right angle and insert it into the hole so it fits snugly against the inside of the teapot. Secure with E6000 glue. Glue the lid permanently to the teapot with E6000 glue, or if you think birds will actually use this birdhouse and you want to be able to clean it out, use caulk to adhere the lid so you can scrape it off. When dry, hang the pot from a shepherd’s hook by the handle.
Boosted Birdhouse atop a Trellis
Add vertical character to your garden with a birdhouse mounted atop a tall wooden trellis. If your trellis has a decorative knob on top, remove it so you can mount the birdhouse in its place. Cut a wood square to support your birdhouse atop the trellis; the size will depend on your birdhouse’s base. Pre-drill a hole in the square’s center and then screw the square to the top of the trellis. Pre-drill holes 1″ in from each corner of the square. Set the base of your birdhouse centered over the square. From the underside, drive screws through the corner holes into the birdhouse base. Paint or stain as desired.
This birdhouse is perfect for the wine connoisseur. To make your own, paint a preassembled wood birdhouse with black acrylic paint. When dry, lightly sand the edges to give it an aged look. Cover the house with wine label–themed paper napkins or wine labels by cutting and decoupaging the paper onto the wood panels. Spray the entire house with a waterproof sealer. Carefully cut wine corks in half and secure them to the roof with hot glue. Attach an additional cork below the entry hole as a perch. Screw a vintage T-corkscrew into the peak of the roof. Apply hot glue to secure it in place.
Trendy Terrazzo-Look Birdhouse
Terrazzo, that mottled material that you sometimes see on floors or countertops, is enjoying a resurgence of popularity. True terrazzo is a composite of pieces of marble, quartz, granite or glass set with a binding material. But it’s that colorful splotchy look that is becoming so popular. You can get that same look on a premade birdhouse just a few small bottles of paint, like this design from Annie’s Kit Clubs. With this kit, crafters receive a stencil to paint the design, as well as the paints and all the birdhouse pieces (learn more here about all the projects in Annie’s Kit Clubs). But if you like this look, you can do something similar by just dabbing bits of different color with a small sponge or brush onto a premade birdhouse.
All designs by Country Sampler Farmhouse Style/Annie’s. Note: if you plan on keeping the birdhouse you create outdoors, seal with a protective coating.
Although the 10 birdhouses above would be more than enough to start your creativity flying, I have even more great designs. Yes, bird(houses) of a feather really do flock together! These next 10 super-cute bird chateaus are from DIY bloggers. Be sure to visit their sites for full instructions.
Dollhouse Into Bird Domicile
Being an adult doesn’t mean you have to stop playing with dollhouses—just bring them into your garden! Pam at House of Hawthornes transformed an adorable vintage dollhouse into a whimsical backyard birdhouse display perched high atop a painted ladder. Get full instructions here.
Snug Little Cloth Bird Dwelling
This cozy bird home from Birds & Blooms is perfect for smaller species like wrens and chickadees. It’s easily made with a chicken-wire formed into a cone and then wrapped at the back. Then strips of fabric are wound through the chicken wire. Get full instructions here.
Shutter-Construction Rustic Birdhouse
Jeanie at Create & Babble constructed this rustic birdhouse from some old pieces of scrap wood and a thrift store shutter that she cut in half. Add in an old glass doorknob for a perch and you have an easy construction project that would look adorable in your backyard. Get full instructions here.
Pretty-as-a-Penny Bird Pad
Not being able to find a reasonably priced copper roof to top off a birdhouse, Allison at Dream a Little Bigger remembered the tub full of pennies she had stashed away from a project that never happened. Those pennies became the perfect copper-colored shingles for her birdhouse project. Get full instructions here.
Twigs and Moss Bird Turf
Some twigs and branches trimmed from out-of-control shrubs gave a new look to older painted wood birdhouses at My Bright Ideas. The tiny twigs were glued on side by side and then topped with moss for a very natural looking bird dwelling. Get full instructions here.
Brittany at Pretty Handy Girl created this Nordic-inspired birdhouse as a Christmas tree topper, but it works just as well as a home for your feathered friends. This is a project for kids to really get into. All you need is a birdhouse to paint in a bright solid color, then a white paint pen for the kids to just go to town doodling. Of course, if you want this more Nordic look, you’ll either need to give them guidance or trace the design on the house first for them to follow. Get full instructions here.
Sheltered Bird Shack
At Robin’s Nesting Place, Robin used some thrift-store finds to create a sheltered bird nesting box. The teapot and drawer cost just a few bucks but paired together they nicely create this simple but special spot for new feathered friends. Robin glued the teapot to the drawer and also looped it through the twine to keep it secure. The drawer adds a little extra security from wind and weather. Get full instructions here.
Flea-Market Birdhouse Makeover
Kitty and Jennifer, the sisters of Running With Sisters, used bits and bobs and odds and ends to add flea-market fun to an unfinished birdhouse. It’s almost like a “what can you find” game. Do you see the picture hangers? What about the keys? Have fun and let your imagination go wild in decorating a house like this. Get full instructions here.
Steampunk-Style Bird Home
Kitty and Jennifer of Running With Sisters let their creativity fly with this steampunk-inspired birdhouse. The two love pairing old keys and clock parts with rhinestones and other shimmering things to create what they call Steampunk Chic design. If you’re not familiar with steampunk, it’s a look that melds industrial design elements such as old clock parts, wheels and cogs with a Victorian bent. It emerged from science fiction but has found a home in home decor. Get full instructions here.
Fabric-Covered Triple Bird Abode
Did you know there’s such a thing as outdoor Mod Podge? Jen at Tatertots and Jello used this specialized medium to adhere some fun fabrics to different birdhouses she had been displaying in her home. She added some decorative trim and mounted them on posts. Now they are showcased outdoors in her garden. Get full instructions here.
Get more creative ideas for birdhouses and other backyard decorations in the summer issues of Country Sampler Farmhouse Style or our Country Sampler Gardens issue.
If you love the idea of ready-to-create projects delivered right to your doorstep, check out Annie’s Kit Clubs. Especially popular is our Farmhouse Style Kit Club and the Creative Woman Kit Club.