Introduction: Solar Birdhouse

About: I like to design and build random things.

This project was built with wood and the solar panel / light from a low cost walkway light. The octagon shape can be scaled up or down. The dimensions for this birdhouse (see drawing) were optimized for a House Finch size bird. There are multiple sources that can provide optimum sizing for birdhouses. I used the following website:

House Dimensions:

Hole Sizing:

Check out the Video for highlights:

Step 1: Drawing

Refer to the drawing for all dimensions:

Step 2: Tools/Materials


  • Table Saw
  • Drill
  • Hole Saw (3/4”, 2” and 5”)
  • Hammer
  • Nail gun (optional)
  • Sander
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil


  • Solar panel/light
  • 8 foot long 1x4
  • 2 foot long 1x8
  • 2.5” long 7/16” diameter dowel
  • Screws or Nails
  • Glue
  • Wood filler
  • Paint or Stain

Step 3: Solar Panel/Light

Find or buy a solar panel / light. I acquired this panel after a neighbor backed over it with his lawn mower. The top half was separated from the spike but the panel and light still worked. Note that you can buy a set of eight lights for under $20.

Step 4: Cut Walls

Cut 1x4 to 11.75” in length. Repeat process 7 more times. You should have 8 walls.

Step 5: Chamfer Edges

Set the angle on the table saw to 22.5 degrees. Chamfer the edges of the 1x4s.

Step 6: Add Holes

Cut a 2” diameter hole (or a size to match your desired bird) into one of the walls using a hole saw. Refer to the site above for the optimum hole height above base.

Step 7: Octagon Size Calculation

Measure the width of the finished wall. If the saw was set correctly, the outer dimension should be 3.5” (size of a 1x4) and the inner dimension should be 2.88”. If not, don’t worry. Measure the inner dimension. You will need to modify the octagon drawing to match the new dimensions.

With the measured side distance, calculate the octagon shape. If you don’t remember high school geometry, use these sites for dimensions:

Step 8: Start Octagon

Cut the basic square for the octagon from the 1x8.

Step 9: Complete Octagons

Draw two center lines. Offset the center lines to the width of the sides. The intersecting area will be removed with the 45 degree cuts. Repeat process two more times. You should have 3 octagons.

Step 10:

You should have these pieces

Step 11: Cut Light Hole Into Upper Octagon

Cut a 5” diameter hole (or a size to match your light) into one of the octagons using a hole saw.

Step 12: Attach Walls to Octagons

Per the drawing, glue and nail walls to the octagons. Try to center the last sections to equal out the gaps.

Step 13: Fill Gaps

I was off slightly and had to use wood putty to fill in the gaps.

Step 14: Add Light Holes

Add light holes. My wood working skills are pretty limited so I chose simple holes. The holes were cleaned up with a round file.

Step 15: Sand Completed Assembly

Step 16: Paint or Stain As Desired

Step 17: Optional - Add Perch

Insert perch per the drawing.

Step 18: Set Light on Top of Birdhouse

Step 19: Final Product

Step 20: OPTIONAL – Ditch Light and Add a Plant to the Top Portion

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