A lot of kids are curious about bugs, and I still am! My son and I made this bug house as a fun project, to keep his bug collections safe, fed and watered, and most importantly in a known location!
Step 1: Materials and Equipment
- 1"x 6" x 24" board (bottom and two ends) (9" + 6.5" = 6.5" = 22")
- 1" x 9" x 1/4" (optional top support)
- piece of window screen (approix 11 1/2" x 17")
- small piece of leather or metal hinge
- staples and staple gun or small nails
- 1 1/2" long small nails with heads
- small screw (for closure)
- drill and drill bit
- 2" stick for closure
- acrylic paint and paint brush
- compass or round object for tracing a curve 4" diameter
- jigsaw, scroll saw, coping saw and/or bandsaw
- safety glasses
- chop saw or hand saw
- scissors or exacto knife (for cutting and trimming screen)
Step 2: Cut Wood Pieces
Put on your safety glasses and grab the 1" x 6" x 24" piece of wood and a chop saw, scroll saw, bandsaw or handsaw to cut the three main pieces of your bug house to length.
The base is 9" in length and the two end pieces are 6.5" inches.
Using a compass set to a 4" diameter, mark a curved shape around the top corners of each end board.
If you don't have a compass, use a round object, like a can, to trace the arc (it does not have to be exactly 2"). Use a bandsaw, scroll saw or jigsaw to cut along the line (if using a jigsaw, be sure to clamp down your wood).
Step 3: Make the Door
Mark a 3.25" square on one of the two end boards where your door will be. Centre it 1 1/2" up from the bottom edge (image 2).
Beginning on the bottom edge, directly in line with one of the two sides of the door, use a jigsaw, scroll saw or coping saw to cut straight up until you reach the bottom corner of the door outline and then follow the door around to cut the door out along the marks (3.25" x 3.25") (image 1 & 2).
Cut off the inside top edge of the door on a slant towards the inside of the house with a hand saw (image 3). This will allow the door to clear the edge and open easily (image 3).
Step 4: Nail It Together
Line up the bottom edge of the ends to the bottom of the bug house and nail it in place (photo 3).
Step 5: Paint Your House
Once the main body of the house is assembled, use acrylic paint to decorate your bug house inside and out and leave it to dry. We used a variety of leftover wall paint, but you can use whatever you have. I think painting the door in a contrasting colour makes it look more interesting!
Step 6: Add a Hinge and Door Closure
To make a leather hinge, cut a piece of leather about 1 1/2" x 3.25". Lay the door on the table, making sure that the slanted edge is facing down, and lay the centre of the leather piece along the bottom edge of the door. Tack the leather in place with a rows of nails (photo 1)
Place the door piece back into the opening with the leather hanging down, and place the end over the edge of a counter to support it and nail the bottom edge of the hinge in place (photo 1).
Drill a hole in the middle of the stick you are using for the closure. Put a screw in the hole and mount the stick in the middle of the side, about a 1/2" above the door so that it can be turned out of the way to open the door (photos 4 & 5).
Step 7: Add the Screen and Top Support
Once the paint is dry, you can nail or staple on the screen.
To get the length of your screen, measure around the end of your bug house starting from the bottom corner up along the side, over the curved top and down to the other corner. Measure the width of your base (9" + 3/4" + 3/4"= 10 1/2") to get the width of your screen - if you make it an inch wider in each direction, you can trim it off
Starting with one corner, line up the bottom edge and staple or nail it down evenly along the edge tacking every inch. Stretch the screen over the curved ends and tack the screen down at the top of each side and then at the bottom corners pulling it evenly into place. Finish tacking down the ends and the bottom edge by pulling the screen smooth and tacking it down approximately every inch.
Trim off any overhanging screen with scissors or an exacto knife.
Lay the support across the top of the house, resting it in the middle of each end and nail/screw the ends to the top of the sides - I used eye hole screws so it could be hung up.
Note: It's a good idea to drill a pilot hole through each end before screwing in the top support to reduce the likelihood of it splitting the wood.
Step 8: Test It Out - Introduce Some Wildlife to Your Bug House!
Your bug house is complete and ready for occupancy!
I recently found this little guy in my raspberry patch, so I moved him into our bug house while I spent some time figuring out what kind of caterpillar he was. It turned out to be the caterpillar of a moth that is likely more interested in making its way to the wild willow or roses that are also coming up in my raspberry bed...
WHITE-DOTTED PROMINENT Nadata gibbosa (J. E. Smith, 1797)