Introduction: Super Cute Birdhouse From Used or Broken Tile

About: I am medically retired. Forced to stay home, I hobby. I sew clothes, clothing reconstruction + some home decor. I also cook+ bake. I like to build things. I have a huge passion for mosaics and i have just rece…

Birdhouses are not that difficult to make. However adding a touch of flare can be fun, creative and inexpensive.

This project utilized used( clean of grout) and mismatched tiles  as well as grout that were reclaimed from the Habitat For Humanity Store. Not only is it good for the environment that this material did not go to landfill, and I helped out a great organization fund housing projects for the less fortunate. Ideally, I would have preferred using reclaimed wood to make the birdhouse but time was not on my side. I opted for purchasing a cheap house from the dollar store. Future houses will be reclaimed.

Step 1: Build or Buy Birdhouse

I would have liked to build my own bird house out of reclaimed wood but I ran out of time. When i had gone to The Habitat For Humanity store they did not have any wood that was thin enough for my purpose and I did not have time to return another day. So, I opted for buying a cheap house from the dollar store and modify it to be habitat friendly.

Step 2: Remove Base to Create an Opening.

Material requirements:
-exacto knife
-patience :)

Run the exacto knife along the base of the walls on all 4 sides, to cut into the glue. Once the knife goes right through slowly alternate between cutting more and carefully (so the blade does not break) twisting blade sideways to get a larger and larger opening. Continue till base is completely separated from the birdhouse.

Most birds will not inhabit a birdhouse which already has a nest from previous year. I Want to help the birds by creating a habitat for them. Most birdhouses come without any openings beside the bird hole. Since we want this birdhouse to be fully functional ,we need to create an opening to remove the old nests after every season. Otherwise your birdhouse will likely be used only 1 year. 

The easiest way to create an opening for this particular birdhouse was to remove the bottom. In a later step, hinges will be attached.

Other models of birdhouses may require different opening methods like cutting an opening on the side or back. or even require sawing base off if it is nailed.

Step 3: Prime All Wooden Surfaces.

Material requirements:
-paint primer
-something to open paint can with
-something to stir with
-a long screw.
-paint brush
-news paper to cover bench with.

Use paint primer to cover all wooden surfaces. Start by painting inside the birdhouse. Prime the outside. Hand Turn a screw into middle of base to use as a handle.  This way both sides can be primed at once. Hang birdhouse and base to dry for 24hrs.

Priming helps preserve the wood.  Three reasons to prime: The first is to seal the wood by preventing moisture from absorbing in the wood, to protect it. The second is to provide a clean fresh surface for the grout to bond to. The third, to provide a base coat preventing the grout from being absorbed into the wood.

A helpful person made a comment regarding paint and primer. I felt it was important enough to add...
"some birds have a toxic reaction to paint/primer when used inside bird houses. Make sure your paint is non toxic and completely dry before you hang the house!"
Thank you emilieepage

Step 4: Preparing the Tile for the Mosaic.

Material requirements:
-Used/broken/mismatched tile clean of old grout. (old dishes made of porcelain or ceramic can be used as well)
-A strong bag
container to place broken tile.

Collect used and/or broken, or mismatched tiles or ceramic/ porcelain dishes to use as mosaic material. 

Select your tile of choice. I chose to use different tile for the wall and for the roof. 
Use strong bag to break tile in. I like Fed-Ex or US POST fiber envelopes. You could use thick plastic as well being carfull not to puncture the bag.
Overlap tile so the edge sits on another tile at an angle and hit it with a hammer. Since it's hallow under the angle the tile will smash into pieces. Rebreak any pieces which are larger than 1 square inch.
Store broken tile in containers since the edges are very sharp.

Step 5: Gluing the Tile Down

Material requirements:

-broken tile pieces
-Glue ( i like Wellbond) or cement 
-small pliers to handle tiny pieces
-newspaper or drop sheet to protect your table
- paper towel and water. 

Use a glue or cement to adhere tile to birdhouse.

Place glue on both the birdhouse and the tile piece.
Start at top of side walls, placing tile as close to the roof as possible. Leave about 1/8" space all around each piece except along the edge. Your starting row should be more or less straight so you don't have huge gaps, but does not need to be rounded edges.
Continue adding tile by matching up broken tile pieces with empty shapes. Think of it like a puzzle. Spread some of the broken tile out so you can see their shapes better.  I like to find several pieces that fit together then glue the section on. Sometimes it may be necessary to rebreak some of the tile pieces to get smaller pieces that will fit in the hole you have.
Clean up any excess glue seepage with a wet paper towel as you go.
The last row needs to be straight and level with the base of the birdhouse. Use the finished edges of the tile for this.
When gluing front and back panels, uses pieces with rounded tile edge to give a smooth finish at corners.
Cover all 4 sides of the walls.  
Try using pieces that have a slight rounded edge around the bird hole.
Repeat the process for the roof.
When doing the front and back roof panels use narrow tile pieces in the bottom corner so you can tip the tile piece at an angle and slightly lower than the edge to cover that sharp corner edge of side roof panel.
You won't notice that angle once the next piece of tile is glued next to the angles piece.
The bottom edge of the roof should be done with the rounded edge pieces.
Finish all 4 side walls and 4 roof panels.

Step 6: Grouting

Material requirements:
-unsanded grout
-container to mix grout in
-something to stir with
-spatula or scraper
-sponge with small pores
-small working tools like cotton swabs

Place some dry grout in your mixing container. 
Small batches are better than letting it over dry and wasting it. Remember...a little goes a long way. Most grouts do not need to be measured however you should follow the manufacturers recommendations for the grout you have. .
Add water a little at a time so you don't add to much. Mix after each addition. Your grout should look like thick paste and should not run.
Allow grout to stand.  
Again follow manufacturer's directions for time.
Use scraper to push grout into the gaps. Pay attention to difficult area like under the roof and the bottom side of the tile pieces, so no gap is missed.
Once grouting in complete, begin to remove excess grout.
It will begin to dry. It will crumble as your scrapping it off. Go slowly and wipe it down with your hand often to see the results. You should be left with most of the tile free of grout. You may find that leaving it at a slight angle over a crooked tile will give it a smoother finish.
After excess has been removed scrape aside all the crumbled grout and dust so it does not turn to mud if it gets wet.
Using a clean wet sponge wipe your tile gently to smooth out the grout. Do not push to hard or you will remove to much grout.
Rinse your sponge often. Clean just till the tile looks clean. Don't over do it, overly wet grout can crack when drying!
As The grout begins to dry you will notice a haze on your tile. Leave it alone. Allow the grout to dry a minimum of 2 hours before giving your birdhouse a final wipe with a clean sponge.
Hang your birdhouse to dry for a minimum of 24 -48hrs. before going on to next step.
Polish off the tile to give it it's luster back

Step 7: Water Sealing

Material requirements:
-Tiled birdhouse
-grout/tile sealant.
paintbrush or roller wheel applicator.

Paint or roller wheel your sealant on all grouted and tiled surfaces.
Grout and tile are pourous. They will collect and hold moisture. This will cause it to mold or mildew, and in cold weather can cause the tile to crack and break. It is important to coat the birdhouse with a proper grout/tile sealant..

Step 8: Paint Base, Roof Trim, Bird Perch and Top Knob

Material requirements:
-birdhouse top knob and base
-paint of accenting color
-paintbrush (or none if using spray can paint)
-masking tape to cover tile and hanger cord.

Cover all tile and cord close to the knob with masking tape.

Paint base. I spray painted the base.
Paint knob, roof trim and bird perch using a paintbrush. I did not want to cover the entire bird house with tape. This was a material conservation project so i opted for hand painting the small areas.

Let dry 24hrs.

Step 9: Adding Hardware

Material requirements:
-Birdhouse and birdhouse base
-2 small hinge assemblies
-6 small screws.
small spring
- needle nose pliers
-a length of thread
-glue or contact cement

Place the hinges on the base where they will best allow the bottom to open
Screw them in place.
Ensure the hinge works properly.

Glue the other side of the hinge to the inside wall of the birdhouse. The only wall that was thick enough to screw to was the front wall.  So, I needed to glue the hinge instead.
Clamp the base in an erect position making sure the glue is in contact with the hinge and the birdhouse. It must not be allowed to shift.
Allow the glue to dry at least 12 hrs before moving the base
Screw a small crew just bellow bird hole inside the birdhouse.

Manipulate one of  the springs hook so it goes around screw thickness. Manipulate the other hook so it makes a loop, and is turned at a 90 degree angle.
Place a screw through the loop
Measure the distance from the edge of the base to just behind the wall.
Screw it the loop screw to this spot on the base which faces the inside.

You should be able to manipulate the spring hook around the top screw from the bird hole in order to empty out old nests. It may require tweezers if your fingers are not flexible enough. Another way is to loop a piece of thread onto the hook.This will helps pull it up. If you can reach the thread then you can also use it to take the hook off. You could leave the thread there and hope the bird does not use it for it's nest. :D

Step 10: Hang and Enjoy

After all your hard work choose a spot to hang your birdhouse outside. Enjoy watching as birds move in.

Hope my tutorial was helpful.

Thanks for taking a look. Good luck to you on your project.


Instructables Green Design Contest

Participated in the
Instructables Green Design Contest

Craft Contest

Participated in the
Craft Contest