Introduction: Birdhouse Nightlight

My friend recently had her first baby. In preparation for the nursery, she painted a lovely tropical tree and bird on the nursery wall. As part of my baby shower gift, I wanted to make a birdhouse nightlight for the nursery to hang from the tree.

Step 1: The Setting

This is the tree painted on the nursery wall. In retrospect, the tree was more tropical than the birdhouse, but they ended up looking good together.

Step 2: The Plans

I drew and cut out blueprints for the birdhouse. I needed two of each cut except the bottom.

I didn't include measurements because it's a pretty simple design, and easy to reproduce at whatever size you like.

If you like this design you can print the picture and zoom it to the size you desire.

Step 3: Materials

To make the birdhouse, I bought craft wood from a local craft store. including 1/8 inch plywood, and basa wood. In total it cost $9.

Step 4: Draw on the Cut Lines

Using a pencil, I lightly traced the paper cut outs onto the wood. Make sure to make doubles of each cut except the bottom piece, and make sure to leave space between cut lines (to account for the thickness of the saw blade). I always make an "X" on the side of the line to cut on, just to make sure I cut it right.

Step 5: Cut the Pieces Out

I use a mitre box to cut the sides, roof and bottom pieces. It's a simple way to make straight cuts. However, the face and back were too big to cut in the mitre box. To cut the face, I used scrap wood and clamps along the cut line and sawed along the side of the wood. Don't cut the back plate yet.

Step 6: Sand the Sides Smooth

I used 100 grain sandpaper to smooth out the cut edges. When you first start, sand on the side with the rough cut, and sand front to back, not side to side. If you start side to side, it will pull off some of the larger splinters into the wood surface.

Step 7: Admire Your Cuts

Lay out the pieces. Face plate, two roof cuts, two sides cuts, and a bottom piece. I still did not cut the back plate yet.

Step 8: Glue on the Sides

I used a wood glue to attach the side pieces to the face plate. Hold it on for about 5 minutes, or use small craft arm clamps (they sell them at Home Depot for about $6).

Step 9: Glue on the Bottom Piece

I then glued the bottom piece to the sides and face. The bottom piece sticks out from under the face plate in the front about 1/3 of an inch. Keep in mind this is a birdhouse, not a piece of furniture, it doesn't have to be perfect, and it's relatively easy to correct anything.

Step 10: The Door

I probably should have done this before I started to glue it together. However, I marked the center line of the face place (side to side), and marked where I wanted the door to be. I took a small drill bit and drilled a guide hole. I did the same thing at the bottom of the birdhouse so that eventually some light would spill out underneath as well.

Step 11: Drill the Door

Once the guide holes were drilled, I use a drill saw on my hand drill to cut out the door, and a smaller forstner drill bit (1 inch) for a hole at the base.

Step 12: Sand the Hole

I use the 100 grain sandpaper to sand the door.

Step 13: Perch Mount

Once the door was cut, I marked on the midline where the perch would be. I again drilled out a guide hole first, then used a 5/16inch drill bit for the perch hole.

Step 14: Cut the Dowel Perch

I took a 5/16th round dowel and cut a piece for the perch. I didn't glue it in yet.

Step 15: The Roof

Note, before attaching the roof, I cut 1/8 inch off the length of one piece of the roof. As such, I could overlap the pieces when I glued them on without having different lengths. I used the wood glue to glue the roof pieces on. They stick out about 1/3 inch from the face plate.

Step 16: Cover the Edges

I took a thin piece of wood laminate that I bought at the craft store (about 1/2 inch wide) and ran it along the top of each side of the roof to cover the overlap. Then I ran it down the face of the roof pieces on each side as trim.

Step 17: Attach the Perch

I trimmed the dowel to make the perch smaller, then glued it in. Note: it should be flush on the inside because you will need the room.

Step 18: Overview

Just to see the bottom hole. I think I would have made it a little bigger if I do it again.

Step 19: Line a Lip for the Back Plate.

I cut the wood laminate into very thing pieces, and made a wood lip that the back plate will hug against. I then place the birdhouse onto a piece of very thin wood laminate and drew the exact outline for the back plate (sticking a pencil through the door hole). I used scissors (the wood was very thin) to cut the back plate out. Note: I trimmed the roof on this side as well. I did this because the back plate stays in place between the lip and the trim. You don't want to glue the back piece on because you need access to the lights for changing batteries, etc.

Step 20: LED Pop Lights

I decided to use pop light for the illumination as she didn't want me to run an outlet up the wall. I positioned them so that she could reach a finger in and put her thumb on the outside to press them on and off. I glued two LED lights into place.

Step 21: Hanging Hardware

In the true minimal cost spirit, my friend and I decided to use a paper clip to make a hanger. Using pliers, we bend the end, and then slipped the paperclip under the back trim. It held very well (I was surprised...honestly).

Step 22: Design and Decoration

As you can see, I too the left over thin laminate and made a simple smoke stack (again, i cut it with scissors). My friend and I went to the craft store and picked out supplies for designs. We liked the idea of putting birds on it.

Step 23: Stain and Paint

We decided to stain the house with a dark stain. There are pictures of the exact stain. Make sure to use gloves to protect your skin and so that the stain doesn't get transported to other surfaces by accident. We used paper towels dipped in the stain to apply.

Step 24: Painting the Trim

We used a white acylic paint to paint the trim, the roof runners, and the smoke stack trim.

Step 25: Hanging

We tested the paper clip by hanging the house on a hercules hook by the door. It held very well. It was getting late at this point, so we talked about placement on the tree but didn't want to bang any nails in yet. You can see in the picture about where the house will be placed. Note: the lights are on and pouring from the door and the hole underneath. The lights in the roof are off but some light was coming in from the hall.

Step 26: After Designs

We decided to make shutters for the door, and put some craft moss at the base.

Hope you like the design. Enjoy.

Lamps and Lighting

First Prize in the
Lamps and Lighting

Maker Family Contest

Participated in the
Maker Family Contest

Green Design Contest

Participated in the
Green Design Contest