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Build Your Own Birdhouse

DIY Bird Feeder

Creating your own outdoor oasis is easier when beautiful wildlife is paying regular visits to your property. Birds, in particular, can turn your yard into a relaxing, tranquil space where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the spring season. So why not make your backyard more inviting for your feathered friends this year by building your own custom bird feeder? This project is simple to follow, inexpensive, and lots of fun. Get started now and craft a birdhouse you can be proud of!

Step 1: Buy the Materials
All the materials you need are available at your local home center or hardware store. Buy a piece of lumber that’s 1 inch x 8 inches x 8 feet and it’ll allow you to build two birdhouses. Cedar works best since it is naturally weather-resistant and durable. If cedar isn’t readily available in your area, pine will also work (although it may not last as long). Make sure the wood is untreated. You’ll also need 1-1/4 inch galvanized finishing nails, a 1/4-inch-diameter dowel, wood glue, and paint or stain. For tools, you’ll need a tape measure, speed square or framing square, saw (a miter saw works best), paint brush, clamps, and a drill with 3/32-inch, 1/4-inch, and 1-1/2-inch spade.

Step 2: Cut the Front and Back
The pieces need to be 9 x 7-1/4 inches. Once the pieces are cut, make a vertical mark down the center of each. Then make 45-degree miter cuts along the top, from the centerline to the outside edges. If you’re using a miter saw, it’s easy. Just turn the saw to 45 degrees. These pieces are short, so be careful and clamp them to the saw base to keep your helper’s hands clear of the blade. For other saws, mark the 45-degree angles with your square, then make the cuts. Make your marks on the interior side of the wood so they won’t be visible when the project is finished. Then measure and make a mark 1-1/2 inches from each edge along the bottom of both pieces. Make cuts from each mark to where the 45-degree cuts were made at the top. The front and back pieces now represent the shape of the birdhouse.

Step 3: Cut the Remaining Pieces
Cut the side pieces 5-1/2 x 5-1/2 inches. The sides will be a little shy of the roof to allow air to circulate. Cut one roof piece 6 x 7-1/4 inches, and the other 5-1/8 x 7-1/4 inches. Since the longer piece overlaps the shorter one, they’ll overhang the birdhouse the same distance. Finally, cut the bottom 5-1/2 x 2-1/2 inches, then make a miter cut on each corner 1/4 inch from each end. Having a gap at each corner gives places for water to run out when you clean the inside.

Step 4: Drill the Entrance
Measure from the peak of the front piece down 4 inches and make a mark on the vertical centerline that you made in Step 2. This is where you’ll drill a 1-1/2- inch hole for the birds to enter their house. Clamp the pieces to your work surface before starting to drill.

Step 5: Assemble the Box
Run a bead of glue along the outside edges of the side pieces. Be careful to avoid applying too much glue so it won’t squeeze out between the joints when the pieces are butted together. Insert the sides between the front and back pieces, making sure to keep the outside edges flush. Drill two 3/32-inch pilot holes at each joint and drive in the finish nails.

Attach the bottom using glue and finish nails. Next, assemble the roof. Be sure the longer piece is placed over the small one (but don’t attach it to the box yet). The glue will hold the joints together, but the nails hold everything in place until the glue dries. Finally, drill a 1/4-inch hole about 1 inch under the entrance hole, and insert a 3-inch piece of dowel with a dap of glue on the end.

Step 6: Paint or Stain It
Apply a water-based exterior paint or stain. Avoid painting the top edges on the front and back pieces, as you’ll be applying glue there.

Step 7: Finish the Construction
Once the paint is dry, add the roof using glue and nails. To hang the birdhouse from a tree branch or garden hook, screw in two eye hooks along the roof peak. Then use a chain, rope, or wire to hang it.

Measurements courtesy of Popular Mechanics magazine:

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