Introduction: How to Build a Bluebird Birdhouse
Building a birdhouse can be a difficult, yet rewarding task. There are many different types of birds, which is why there are so many different types of birdhouses that you can make. As by reading the title, the birdhouse that we will be giving you instructions on how to make is a bluebird birdhouse. It can be difficult, but as you work on it, it gets easier, because you will be repeating many steps and using the same measurements. Since it is hard to explain how to build something with only words and no pictures, or no words and only pictures, I have created this instructable to help you build your birdhouse.
Step 1: Preparations and Set Up (with Tools and Materials List)
Before you start the project, you are going to want to gather the following materials and tools:
- 1 x 6 Cedar Board (4' long, used for the front, back, bottom, and both of the sides) *Actual measurements are 13/16" x 5 1/2".*
- 1 x 8 Cedar Board (10 1/2" long, used for the roof) *Actual measurements are 13/16" x 9 1/4".*
- 1 3/4" Exterior or Galvanized Screws.
- Pencil (Don't use a marker because it will bleed and will be harder to sand off)
- Tape Measure
- Work Space (Old table, work bench, etc.)
- 1 1/2" Hole Saw
- Sliding Square
- Random Orbital Sander with 120 Grit Sandpaper
- Countersink Bit (#8 Bit)
- #T20 Star Bit (The bit size and shape will vary, depending on what screw you use)
- Regular 120 Grit Sheet Sandpaper (Used to sand the edges) *Optional*
- Miter Saw
- Hand Saw (Grooves)
- Our screws required #T20 Star Bit
- Wood type is optional, but we used cedar because it is naturally weather resistant
- Wood costed about $10 (prices will vary) and the screw price will change based on which screw you use.
- Check the edges of the boards to make sure that they are square
Step 2: Measuring/Cutting the Sides
After you have gathered all of the materials and tools you need, it is time to begin the actual constructional process. First thing you need to do is measure 10 3/8" from the start of the 4' board. Line it up carefully at the saw, and cut on the line. Set the piece you just cut out aside, and make another measurement at 10 3/8" on the long board and cut it out. You should now have 2, 10 3/8" pieces out of the 4' board. The two pieces will be for your left and right sides of the birdhouse. The only special thing that needs to be done with the sides is that you need to cut the top at an angle. I will include pictures, but basically what we did is we had the wood vertically in front of us, so we could see the flat side, and measured 10 degrees down from the top on the left side for the right wall, and the right side for the left wall. This way, the smooth side can be out on each side. After marking the 10 degree space, cut from the opposite corner down to the 10 degree mark. Make sure that when you cut it, you don't trim any of the top, because you do not want to change the length. I have included pictures to help you understand.
Step 3: Measuring/Cutting the Front
To cut out the piece that will be the front of the birdhouse, you want to start by measuring 9 1/2", then cut that piece out. The front will have features that are for this birdhouse. First, take the piece you have just cut out, and measure 7 1/4" up from the bottom. Make a mark on that spot, then find the halfway point across, so it intersects with the mark you made from the bottom. now, take your 1 1/2" hole saw, and center it where the two marks meet, and drill the center hole. This is where the birds will enter. After you drilled the hole all the way through, measure 1/2", and use your square to make a line all the way to each end. Then measure another 1/4" down from that one, and another from that line. You should now have three lines, each spaced 1/4" from each other and the 1/2" down from the hole. We used the sliding square to help keep the saw straight. You made the lines so the birds could grip to the house, and this is better than putting a peg in, because predators can grab onto the peg and reach into the house. Next, you are going to want to change your saw angle to 10 degrees, and bevel the edge from the top. You want to make it so it is slanted down towards you. Make sure that when you bevel the edge, that you don't cut any of the length down. You are going to want your smooth side up, so when you bevel the edge, it is the right way when assembly time comes.
Step 4: Measuring/Cutting Bottom
The bottom has many unique features that will all be covered in this section. First order of business, you want to measure 4" from the 4' board. Then, you want to measure 1/4" away from each side of every corner. Then, you can draw a line from each mark on the corners, or you can just cut across. Sand the edges to make each corner rounded. Doing this creates little spaces where air can flow through, and any water that gathers in the house can drain out.
Step 5: The Back Piece
After cutting out all of your sides of the birdhouse, you should have a piece of wood that is approximately 1' 1 3/8", or 13 3/8". The only thing that you need to do with the back piece is bevel the top part, just like you did to the front. When you bevel the back piece, you will need the rough part of the wood facing up, unlike the front piece, where it was facing up. If you don't have a rough and a smooth side, you just need to make sure that you have your beveled edges going the right way. You want the wood to be slanted the same way, towards you. After you having finished beveling the back part, it's time to measure and cut the roof.
Step 6: Measuring/Cutting the Roof
Now that you have used up your 4' board, you will need your second piece of wood. It needs to be 1 x 8, so 1extra inch are allowed on both the left and right sides of the house. The board should be 10 1/2" long, and 9 1/4" wide, so the board shouldn't need to be cut. Before you move on to the step, check and make sure that the roof ends are squared. The main part for the roof is when you are going to attach it to the rest of the birdhouse.
Step 7: First Step of Assembly (Right Side to the Back)
After you have fully cut your pieces, it is time to assemble your birdhouse. There is a certain way that we attached the sides, which made it a lot less difficult to put together. First, we started by attaching the right side to the back piece. The measurement we used most is 3/8", which is half the thickness of the board. When you first place the right side on the back, you want to mark 1/8" down from where you beveled the edge. It should be 1/8" down from the bottom of the bevel. We put the right side on that mark, and clamped it to the back. We measured down 2" from the top where the right side meets the back, and 3/8" in from the left side of the back. Then we measured 2" up from where the right side meets the back on the bottom, and 3/8" in from the left side. Make sure that your measurements are all on the back side of the birdhouse. Pre-drill the hole, so the wood doesn't split, and then drill the screw in. Do that to each meeting point. That is how to attach the right side.
Step 8: Second Step of Assembly (Bottom to the Assembled Piece)
After you successfully attached the right side to the back piece, it's time to attach the bottom. First, you want to look at you right side piece, and make a mark 1/8" up from the bottom. You are going to put the bottom edge of the bottom piece on that line. We clamped the bottom to the right/back piece. Clamps are optional, but they aid in assembly. After clamping the bottom to the assembled piece, we looked at the right side, and measured 1-1/4" from the left side of the right piece, and the right side where it meets the back, not starting on the back side. Then, since we pushed the back up 1/8", you want to measure 1/2" up from the two points you just made. Now just like before, you pre-drill the hole, then put the screw in. Now that you have the 3 pieces attached, it's time to attach the front.
Step 9: Third Step of Assembly (Front Side to the Assembled Piece)
Lay the front piece on your assembled piece so it is flush (even) with the bottom of the right side, and so it lays flush on top of the right side. First, you want to mark 1" up on the face from the right side, and 3/8" from the edge. Now, measure 1" down from where the beveled section ends, and 3/8" in, so it's in line with the bottom screw. Pre-drill and then drill in the screw. Now, find the middle of the front piece, and mark it on the bottom. From that point, measure 1/2" up, so the screw goes into the middle of the back. Pre-drill and drill in the screw. Now that you have fully attached the front, it is now time to put the left side on.
Step 10: Fourth Step of Assembly (Attaching the Left Swinging Side to the Assembled Piece)
This side will be the most difficult, because it will be a swinging door, which allows you to open up the bird house and clean it out. First, you can make a reference line using your square and a pencil, make a line from the middle of your screw to the other side. Doing this makes it easier to make the screws aligned. Make a mark 3/8" in from the left side on the front face, where your reference line is. You can now pre-drill and drill in the screw. When you pre-drill, make it just a little bit deeper, so your side can swing and the screw can be tight. If you want to make it easier, make a reference line going down across the left side, then 3/8" onto the back. The screw for the left sides that are on the front and the back must be in line with each other, otherwise the left side won't swing. These screws act as the hinge.Pre-drill, and drill in the screw. Test and make sure that the left side swings. Now, to keep it from swinging open, make a reference line just like before, but on the bottom. Make a mark 3/8" in from the reference line you just made, and pre-drill a little deeper, just like the other left side screws. This screw keeps it in place. If you want to open the left side, take out the bottom screw on the left, so you can open it. Now, we move on to attaching the final piece, the roof.
Step 11: Fifth Step of Assembly (Attaching the Roof to the Assembled Piece)
Since you beveled the edges, the roof will be attached at a slant. First, with the birdhouse laying front side up, lay the roof down, so it's flush with the beveled edges and sits on the table. This is the easiest way to attach the roof. Now, you want to center the roof, so there is an equal amount of overhang on the left and right sides (it is good to make marks with a pencil after it is centered, so you don't lose the correct placement). If you want, you can clamp it down so you don't lose your placement. We marked 1 3/4" from each of the edges on the top, then 3/8" from the back edge. Both of these will be along the back edge. After your measurements are correct, pre-drill and drill in the screw. Now, you only need to do two more screws. Now, you want to measure approximately 6 5/8" from the back edge, so if you were to draw a line down, it goes through the first screw on the top. After you have your mark 6-5/8" down and 1 3/4" in from both sides, you can pre-drill and drill in the screws for the final time. Now you're almost done! Just a few things for clean up and finishing touches, and you'll be good to go!
Step 12: Finishing Touches
Now, you can take your Orbital Sander, and sand each flat face. After all of the pencil marks are gone, you can take your sheet sandpaper, and run it along the edges, which makes them smooth. Be careful not to get any slivers! And now you are done! You can mount it on a tree or a fence post, close to a source of water. You can drill it into a tree from the access wood on the bottom, and angle a screw in from the top to secure it that way. Enjoy your new Bluebird House!