Building a Decorative Birdhouse




Introduction: Building a Decorative Birdhouse

This instructable is about building decorative birdhouses from old books.  All the books I use come from thrift store clearance sales.  I know some people can tend to get a bit excited about the thought of destroying a book, but once a book hits the clearance rack at a thrift store, its next home is a dumpster.  So, this is my way of using these old books rather than seeing them go to the landfill.

Step 1: Material and Tools Required

For this project you will need the following materials:

- six books that are roughly the same size (for this project I will use Golden Books)

- a small amount of scrap lumber

- hot glue (or another suitable adhesive)

- white glue (or another similar adhesive)

Tools required:

- a hole saw

- 1/4" drill bit

- drill press or electric hand drill

- a saw (I use a band saw, but a hand saw, jig saw, or sabre saw will do)

- ruler for measuring

Step 2: Make the Bottom First

I used Golden Books for this project, so all of my measurements are based accordingly.

Begin by trimming the book that will be used for the bottom of the birdhouse to 6 1/4" wide and 6 5/8" tall.  Since you will use one of the books as a roof, it is necessary to trim the overall size of the birdhouse so that the roof will have an overhang.

Step 3: Next, Make the Sides

Trim two books for the sides of the birdhouse.  Both of these need to be 6" wide and 6 5/8" tall. 

Remember, you will need two of these.

Step 4: Make the Front and Back

Trim the two books you want to use for the front and back as shown in the photo. 

Trim the two corners beginning at the 6" mark (measuring from the bottom) and ending in the center of the top of the book.

Trim two books, then use the hole cutter to make a large hole in the book you want to be on the front, and a 1/4" hole about an inch below the large hole. 

Remember, only make these holes in the book to be used for the front.

Step 5:

At this point you should have six books -- five that have been trimmed in the previous steps, and one that is still intact.  You're almost ready to begin assembly, however first you need to seal all the edges of the books.

I seal book edges by applying white glue with a brush.  Apply it liberally, then stack the books aside to dry with a small amount of weight on top of the stack.  When dry, this will keep the each book sealed shut.

Step 6: Glue the Sides to the Bottom

Take the book you intend to use for the left side and put a thin line of your favorite adhesive near the edge of the spine.  Hold this in place until the glue begins to set.

Next, I like to use a piece of scrap lumber glued in place to reinforce the joint between these two books.  Then, I run a line of hot glue along the seam.

After the left side is completed, do the same for the right side.

Step 7: Glue the Front and Back in Place

Apply a thin line of glue along the bottom of the front, and align it with the bottom book.  As with the sides, the front will be glued on the outside edge of the bottom book.

After this glue has set, then add glue to all the seams.  I prefer hot glue for this, but you may use whatever works for you.

Once the front has been glued in place, I then add another small piece of wood at the bottom for reinforcment.

Once the front has been glued in place, glue the back using the same process.

Step 8: Glue the Roof in Place

Glue four small scraps of wood along the edge of the front and back books as shown in the first photo.  The purpose of this is to give you a larger surface to glue the roof on.  If you are using thick books, this is not necessary, but thin books need a bit more surface area than just the edges.

Once these blocks are in place, apply glue along all the top edges and the tops of the blocks, then quickly align the roof.  Let all the glue set before you procede to the next step.

Step 9: Gussie It Up a Bit!

Since I'm planning on donating this birdhouse to a church fund raiser, I took some of the scraps from trimming the books and glued them into a steeple, then glued it into place.

I also took a couple of the scraps trimmed from the front book and used them as some decorative trim (see the 3rd photo).

Be sure to glue a dowell (wood pencil also works) in the 1/4 inch hole for a perch.

Step 10: Finished!

These decorative birdhouses are relatively easy to make.  Building the basic birdhouse can be a fun and inexpensive project.  Over the years I've built a number of these for friends, school teachers, fund raisers, etc.  One of the nice things about building one of these is that you can put to use old books that no one wants anymore.  I guess its sort of another form of recycling!

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    12 years ago on Introduction

    You got my vote! I think it's cute, and I agree, once books get put in the clearance bin, the thrift stores around here throw them away after about a week cause they get so many books donated.