Introduction: How to Build a Birdhouse From Pallets
In this instructable I will explain how to make a birdhouse out of reclaimed materials.
Step 1: Source Materials
First you need some materials, as well as pallets I used a length of 2x1 roofing baton in this project as well as offcuts from past furniture projects and a whole lot of driftwood. Sourcing these materials for free is remarkably easy, pallets can be found for free by asking just about any business out there. There are thousands of firms with stacks of pallets out back that they don't want to have to pay to dispose of - just ask. Also keep an eye on the free ads for people giving away excess wood from projects or old furniture, its amazing what you can find.
Step 2: Build a Frame
Decide how big you want to make your birdhouse, then cut a piece of an old desktop or similar to size. Then you can go ahead and construct a frame and screw it onto the base making sure to predrill your screw holes to avoid the wood splitting. Use a set square or a combination square to ensure all your joints form 90 degree angles.
Step 3: Clad Your Frame
After dismantling your pallets, cut your boards to size, making sure to bevel the ends to 45 degrees to give you nice clean looking corners. Glue these in place with a suitable exterior wood glue and use clamps to hold the pieces in place until fully set. If you add a pitched roof like I did you will have to make additional 45 degree cuts to your board to fit around the roof.
Step 4: Roof
To create your roof you will need two pieces of desktop or similar cut to size with one end bevelled at 45 degrees so the two halves meet cleanly in the middle. If you wish you can then decorate your roof using driftwood, shells, or anything else that takes your fancy.
Step 5: Weatherproofing
It is important that you treat your birdhouse to protect it from the elements. Paint in any suitable exterior varnish or woodstain.
Step 6: Make a Hole for a Door
Now you can go ahead and drill a hole through the front to make a front door, the size of which will be determined by the species of bird you wish to attract. For UK readers the RSPB has a handy size guide on its website for correct birdhouse design to attract our native species, for other countries refer to the relevant conservation organisation in your country.
At this stage we can also attach the roof with a hinge and add a bolt for security. It is important that the roof is hinged because the box will need to be cleaned out at the end of every nesting season so you will need access to the inside.
Step 7: Last Steps and Mounting
Finally you should add hardware for mounting your birdhouse. If mounting to a tree you should avoid drilling or nailing directly into the tree as this can damage it or introduce disease, instead use ropes and bungee cords to secure it in place. Here I salvaged parts from an old coat rack to make hard points to attach the ropes to and a couple of picture hangars for the points the bungee attaches to. The final touch was to add a perch just below the entry hole which I made from a piece of driftwood.
Step 8: Watch the Video
To see this build in more detail you can watch this video which follows the construction stage by stage. If you do decide to build your own birdhouse let me know in the comments how you got on.
Finally please consider supporting me on Patreon. Even when you build from salvaged materials there are always parts you need to buy to complete projects like this, not to mention tools, heat, light, power etc. By sponsoring me you will help me continue to create content like this, so if you enjoyed reading this instructable and watching the video I would really appreciate your patronage.
Thanks for reading
6 years ago
That is a pretty large bird house. Have you found that the birds like one that large? Initially it looked like a typical size bird house from the first picture. But looking at the actual build, it is a very large size. I didn't know the birds liked it that large. Just wondering.
Reply 6 years ago
Yeah it is a bit big, more of a pterosaur house than a bird house.I'm going to do a smaller one soon that will be more apealing to some of the smaller garden birds we get in the UK
6 years ago
The way you framed it up, cladded the sides, and did the roof all look like excellent techniques. Nice work!
6 years ago
Great looking bird house