We moved into a new house this summer, it's inspiring to see a piece of forest and mountain become our own little sanctuary. The only problem is that I love to make stuff my self and to only look at other people building is both satisfying and frustrating.
Well, I decided to build our house myself, but for the birds and squirrels to eat from. (easier that way, not that much pressure on making it perfect :) )
I made a house exactly like ours, in scale 1:50, the sketches is included in this instructable, if you want to make one exactly like mine.
Don't hesitate to ask questions if something is confusing or badly explained.
Forgive me for my English and hope you enjoy!
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Plywood 4 mm thick (1200*900 mm)
Popsicle sticks (around 300 pieces for this house)
Sticks made for stirring coffee/chocolate and tea (could not order less then 1000, used approximately 50-100)
Spline (35*20 mm,around 2000 mm length )
Beam (45*45 mm, around 1200 mm length )
Tar paper( 200 mm width, around 500 mm length)
Mesh net in metal
OSB disc for bottom (same size as the bottom of the house + 10 mm in each direction)
SOLARVET LED lightning from IKEA
Sketch of the house - in my sketch I used the measurements in the parentheses, where no measurement in parentheses, take the value and multiply with 1.5. I can sketch a better one if you need it, just ask!
Wooden glue for outdoor use
Nail nipper or similar(used for cutting popsicle sticks)
Step 2: Cut Plywood and Osb Disc
Not the best lightning in our garden shed, I apologize for that.
Started to sketch the house onto the sheet of plywood and then saw with a circular saw.
The windows I saw with a multi tool(see picture three) and then I saw pieces of beam/splinter(sorry for being uncertain of correct word for this). I saw them 45 degrees in one end, the same angel as the roof will be and made them 10 mm longer then the walls, just to get a space for the food the escape through.
i used regular grid paper to sketch the house upon, for me it is easy then to see how long the edges on the angel part of the roof is.
I finish by sanding all edges.
I added my sketches and the measurements for that in the materials and tools section.
Step 3: Glue Walls and Roof Together
When the house is all cut out its time to assemble everything. I only glued it, the outdoor wood glue I use is super strong and I'm not able to remove it, one beam was wrongly placed and the only way I could remove it was by sawing the beam away, the glue would not give up :)
But this is not a hard step, I took a lot of pictures, to help you as much as possible. For the roof I made a kind of roof truss for two of the beams and I added a lot of left over wood to stabilize the construction in the middle.
Step 4: Foundation
I wanted the foundation to be a lot bigger then the house. Normally these bird feeder houses has a super long overhang of the roofs, just to keep the food dry that is outside the house but I was thinking that I wanted a metal mesh net, then all rain and water could drip through and it would be more place for birds and less need of a big roof (that often hides the birds from our eyes)
I used beams that is 45*45 mm and made a cross, at the edges I saw 45 degrees from both ends. Then I took splines (35*20 mm) and made a "fence" around, this is what i will attach both the mesh net and the fence against.
I used both a plywood (4 mm thick), the one we have attached the house to, and an OSB disc(around 10 mm thick), just to make it stronger. I started to paint the OSB disc just to be sure that it would not be damaged by rain. i then added the mesh net on top of the foundation before screwing the OSB into the beam cross. I then glued the plywood and OSB discs together.
The mesh net was attached later in the process but I show you the process here, I just attached it with the staple gun on top of the side splines. This makes the mesh net lean towards the house which I want, just to make sure that not all bird food gets on the ground.
Step 5: Base Paint
Well, I see that I have not fully documented the cone in the middle, it is not visible until this step in the pictures... i added that just to make the bird food to get to the edges, otherwise I fear that the food in the middle of the house would be there forever and get old.
Otherwise I paint all parts in this step with base color. The underside of the roof will be green so I painted it green right away. Since the doors is white on the house I started by painted the house white, I also wanted the bottom and inside to be white, to reflect light and to make it look more hygienic.Our house is black so I end up with a coat of black on the house outside and also the roof.
Step 6: Panel Aka Popsicle Sticks
Time for paneling the house! :)
I made sure before creating the house that the Popsicle sticks were long enough to cover the height of one story. In my case, it was more or less only the edges that I had to take away. I wasn't super exact, afterwards I trimmed the top part to make the roof fit better. I used a multi tool for that but if I would do it again, I probably would use a sanding paper with the Dremel. Afterwards, I painted the panel black.
Step 7: Window Frames and Barge Boards
I painted a lot of coffee sticks in green, the colour on our window frames and barge boards and house corners,
When they were dry I just cut them with the nail nipper in correct sizes. For the barge boards I took two coffee sticks under each other and otherwise, I just added them one and one. I only glued them with outdoor wood glue, not perfection this, but good enough for me.
Step 8: Fences
The fence I made from the coffee sticks. I split them in half and just glued them onto one that was full length. I then painted them before putting them up, just to be sure that there were paint everywhere. I glued them and added a few staplers with the staple gun. Then I added a new layer of paint after attaching them to the foundation, just to hide the marks from the staple gun.
Step 9: Roofing
I was thinking quite a bit on how to solve the roofing, I wanted it to be strong enough to handle snow and rain without getting the bird food wet and I wanted it to look like our concrete tiles, in some way. My parents have an old bird feeder/house with tar paper as roofing and it has worked really fine, but I looks very bulky with one big sheet of tar paper on it. The answer was to cut the tar paper into smaller sections. I used a regular scissors (please bear in mind that the risk of not being able to use the scissors again is great so I used a really cheap IKEA scissor for this task). The pieces is about 40*30 mm in size, I wasn't that accurate since i think it gives the house some character if the tiles are different in sizes.
For the angel I made a similar solution as they do for "normal sized houses", I first cut a piece that hides the joining and the add pieces of tar paper on top of that, should be visible in the pictures. It's super easy to cut the angels on the tar paper pieces since you can measure directly on the roof and just cut with a scissor.
For the yardarms I cut long pieces of tar paper (as long as the roof) and then glued it in place. To get it to stick to the roof while hardening I used fine rope.
While adding the tar paper pieces, some of the barge boards was damaged so I glued them in place again after the entire roof was done.
Step 10: Windows
Do this step outside or in a well ventilated room since the acrylic might melt a little...
I bought a sheet of acrylic glass, 4 mm thick and I have been waiting to cut it, hoping for some advice on how to do it, in the past I have used a regular circle saw and have always had problems with it breaking and this time I really needed smaller pieces.
My fiance has bought a dremel and for that a little circular saw tool(see picture). Since you can control the RPMs it's easier to control the sawing. So after measuring the size of all windows I marked them on the acrylic glass with a permanent marker and was ready to start cutting, I set the RPM to around 10 000, that was the best for me and after I while I learned that it worked best if I only sawed down about 2 mm into the acrylic glass and then ripped it apart, If I sawed all the way through it was easy for it to get to hot and melt the acrylic.
After sawing the windows I sanded the edges a little, to get the glue to stick better. I used a contact glue(works on almost all materials) and then used some tape while it hardened to get the windows in place, in that way, I could glue all windows at once. The acrylic is really super see through :)
Step 11: Mail Box
Well, all houses needs a mail box, for this one I just simply glued some Popsicle parts together, I joined them with the other,smaller sticks. Added black paint and the street number.
I glued it in place on the fence.
Step 12: Lightning
No house is a house without lightning ;)
I wanted the inside to be light up and also our outside lightning that we have on the big house to be on the little bird house. I marked on the wall and the roof where the outside lamps should be placed and then I started to tape the lightning in the correct places before gluing it in place. Then I used the dremel tool to make place for the outside lamps, as you can see in the pictures.
When I was satisfied with the holes for outside lamps, I painted the area where I had drill off the paint.
The light that I bought is solar light so I need to make place for the sun cells on the roof. My solar light had a stick that you could attach to it and put it in the ground, I didn't want that and was uncertain if I should saw off the little stick that was mounted on the roof, but instead I decided to use that as holder. So I marked the stick on a piece of wood and drilled a hole, in that way I can just glue the wooden piece onto the roof and push the solar power onto there (I didn't want to attach it to heavily since the on and off switch is on the back. This led light is steered by the day light so in the evening it will turn on, otherwise I am uncertain if the birds will be scared by the lights...
I then glued the holder in place on the roof.
And then I had to test the construction of course ;)
Step 13: Finishing Touches...
Well, as all projects, when you're getting closer to the end you find more and more stuff that could be improved.
I wanted to hide the staplers from the mesh on the foundation so I painted a lot of popsicle sticks and glued and stapled them in place.
I also added reinforcement in the corners of the fence to make sure that it can take the pressure of big birds and squirrels, and the deers, that I know will be and visit.
Step 14: Going Out!
Well, it's time to go outside :)
I'm using one 45*45 mm beam and one 45*70 mm beam, both around 180 mm long for this.
The 45*45 I'm sawing in a 45 degree angle in both ends, The length I just tried out, it's not that exact, around 30 mm in my example. I need 4 pieces of this.
And the larger beam, that I will try to get into the ground I use an axe to get one of the ends pointy. Then I use a broach to get a starting hole in the ground and then I start using a sledge hammer to get the beam as far done in the ground as possible. Of course I managed to tilt the damn beam , but it is fixated anyway, always something.
Then I start by pre drill the screws into the 45 degree beams, it's easier to do on the ground then when you're standing, balancing a house on your arms. I start by adding two of them, then I screw the house in place before adding the other two, just to make sure that all four beams support the construction.
Well, that's about it, I added bird seed and now I'm waiting for the birds. The LED lightning was switched on at 15:50, then it's super dark in Sweden, this time of year.
Hope you have found inspiration for your own bird house - I have really enjoyed this project!