Introduction: Birdhouse Planter

This rustic birdhouse is also a planter. I was inspired to make this birdhouse after seeing similar images I found during internet searches. I have been making birdhouses in a variety of styles for several years, a hobby I really enjoy.

Most of the building projects I make involve using materials that are usually discarded as waste. All three of my previous Instructable projects that I've submitted were built using recycled materials.

This birdhouse planter was constructed from used pallet wood and trimmed with rusted metal gears and other metal scraps.

Step 1: ​Tools and Materials Used.

Here is a list of supplies and tools I used to make this project.

Used pallets

Rusted gears and scrap metal

Table saw, miter saw, circular saw, scroll saw

Bar clamps and glue

Air nailer.

Drill and bits

Variety of screws.

Step 2: Laminating the Wood

To make the birdhouse, I wanted wood with widths of 7” and 9” wide. To get these widths, it was necessary to laminate two or three pallet boards together.

For the 7 inch width, I used a table saw to cut boards to a width of 3.5”. Using glue and clamps, I glued the boards together. I made three of these boards, each approximately 42” long.

For the roof, I wanted 9 inch wide boards. I cut two boards at 3.5” and one at 2” and then laminated these 3 boards together as shown.

Step 3: Designing and Drawing the Pattern

Using a large sheet of paper, I drew a full-sized pattern of the birdhouse pieces on the paper. The back is 41” long, the front is about 18” long. The two sides are 7” wide and about 20” tall. The two roof pieces are 9” wide and about 15” tall. Since I had no pattern to follow, the dimensions I used were chosen based on the pictures I had seen.

I did ensure that the interior cavity that makes the actual birdhouse was approximately the dimensions recommended for small birds such as chickadees, sparrows, finches and wrens. These are birds commonly found in our area.

Step 4: Transferring the Pattern to the Wood

After cutting out the paper pattern pieces, I traced the pattern pieces on the laminated pallet wood with felt marker as shown in the pictures.

Step 5: Cut Out the Panel Pieces

Using a table saw, circular saw, a miter saw and a scroll saw, I cut out each piece of the bird house.

The two side panels also needed to be cut at an angle that matches the pitch of the roof. This angle was about 35० to the vertical. To cut these angles, I used a jig that I made for my table saw, as shown in the picture,

Finally, using a 1.25” hole saw bit, I cut a hole in the front panel at the recommended position (4” to 6” above the floor of the house) for the small birds I am trying to attract.

Step 6: Assembling the Birdhouse

To assemble the birdhouse, I used wood glue, an air nailer and bar clamps. First, I attached the two sides to the back piece. I then measured and cut a rectangular piece to make the birdhouse floor. This piece was then air nailed into position .

The front panel was next. I want to be able to open the birdhouse for cleaning. To do this I positioned the panel in place and drilled two holes (one through each side panel and into the front panel). Then using two snug fitting bolts as hinges, I inserted these bolts in the side holes. This will allow the front panel to swing out when cleaning is needed. Note: this must be done before install the two roof pieces. The bolts cannot be inserted after the roof is attached.

With the front panel in place, I could attach the two roof panels. These roof panels also had to be cut at 35० angle at the top edges. The roof was glued and air nailed to the sides and back panels. It cannot be attached to the front panel, since it must be able to swing open.

I decided to add a few screws to the sides and roof to ensure the birdhouse remains tightly bound.

The birdhouse section was now complete.

Next, I built the planter.

Step 7: Build and Attach the Planter Box

Since the planter is very basic, I decided that I didn’t need a paper pattern. I made the front and back of the planter in the shape of a trapezoid to add a bit of style. These trapezoid shaped front and back pieces are about 22” long and 4.5” wide. The sides of the planter were cut about 4.5” by 4”. I then nailed and screwed the 4 sides together.

To make the floor of the planter, I measured and cut a piece to fit the bottom of the box. In order to ensure drainage of any excess water, I drilled two holes in this bottom piece, before attaching it to the box.

I positioned the planter exactly in the center of the birdhouse, and glued and screwed the planter to the birdhouse.

The birdhouse planter was now functionally complete.

Note: I did not use any type of perch below the hole opening. I have read that perches are not necessary, and can, in fact, offer an advantage to predators and non-native bird species

Step 8: Personalizing the Birdhouse Planter

In order to make the birdhouse planter more attractive and unique, I trimmed the birdhouse planter with a variety of rusted metal materials. As shown in the pictures, I attached gears in a couple places to add some character to the birdhouse. These rusty materials can be found at salvage yards or transmission repair places. (Be prepared for strange looks from workers when you ask if they have rusted metal materials).

Attaching these gears can be difficult to do. One of the gears was exactly 1.25”, so I drilled a hole and inserted it into the front panel. The other gears were attached by drilling holes in the metal and screwing them to the birdhouse. To trim the birdhouse, I used rusted metal banding and rusted shelving brackets that I found in the salvage yard.

The grey corner covers and center pieces were cut from metal siding panels that I collected from a local grain elevator office that was being destroyed. To attach these pieces I used small black screws.

Step 9: Close Ups of the Trim

Adding the rusted metal pieces to the birdhouse is probably the most interesting and fun part of building these birdhouses. I have made 4 of these birdhouses so far, and each one is completely unique.

I plan on making a few more for family and friends. If you choose to try this instructable, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Step 10: Cleaning Out the Birdhouse

If you are lucky enough to attract birds to nest in your birdhouse, you may want to clean out the birdhouse in the fall once the birds have left. To open the birdhouse, you just have to grasp the bottom of the front panel and lift up. To lock the front panel, I drilled a hole through the side panel and into the panel. I use a square nail inserted in this hole to prevent the panel from opening,

Step 11: Adding Plants to the Planter

Where I live, it is too early to put real plants in the planter. The over night temperature can dip below freezing. So, for these pictures, I put an artificial plant in the planter to demonstrate what the birdhouse planter could look like with plants.

The planter is designed to hold three or four 4” plant pots. This makes it easy to put plants in the planter, and allows for easy clean out.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable. It was fun to build and I hope you try to build one of your own.

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017