Want to add some rusty curb appeal or improve your backyard? This wacky and unique recycled birdhouse is made entirely from scrap bits and has so much character. It’s easy to make, and since it’s all made from recycled bits, it’s inexpensive too.
Don’t you just love the way it blends in and adds a little interest to the garden?
What you need for the recycled birdhouse
This is one of those projects where you’ll have loads of fun rummaging through your scrap pile to find interesting bits and bobs. For the main “body” of the recycled birdhouse, we used some wood that’s been lying around since we made our HOME shelf many years ago. Our first viral post BTW 😀 The roof is a rusty tin ceiling tile. Another leftover from when we gave our boring plant stand this gorgeous makeover.
And to give it that slightly wacky character we used various bits of scrap metal:
- Rusty key
- Old lock
- Broken copper pipe
But I bet you’ll have your own collection of stuff that you could use 😉
Making the “body” of the birdhouse
Who says a birdhouse has to be square? Amiright!! 😉 What is important though, is the size and dimensions of the birdhouse. How big or small you make your birdhouse will depend on the type of birds you want to attract.
We have a lot of Cape Sparrows in our garden and they have a habit of making nests in the eaves of our roof. Sparrows need a nesting area that’s at least 12 – 14″ high and 4 – 5″ wide. Because the “body” of the birdhouse is diamond-shaped I added an extra 2 inches to the height to take into account the steep pitch of the floor and roof. We don’t want our feathered friends bumping their heads when they’re taking care of their babies 😉 I cut the shapes out with a jigsaw. If you’ve never used a jigsaw, here’s a handy guide to get you started.
For the sides, I measured the distance from the side points of the diamond shape to about 1 1/2″ from the bottom and cut two pieces as shown below.
And used a hole saw to make the entrance hole about 8″ up from the bottom of one of the diamond shapes.
Drill a few small holes in the other diamond shape, and the sides to prevent bees from moving in. It’s a trick a beekeeper friend of ours taught us many moons ago. Apparently, bees don’t like a breeze in their homes. I think it ruffles their wings 😉
Paint or stain the wood. Look for a paint that’s water-resistant, non-toxic and offers protection against mildew and UV rays. It’s also a good idea to choose a color that blends in with the natural surroundings so it doesn’t catch the attention of predators. I prefer to leave the inside untreated just in case any paint or stain fumes are harmful. Glue and screw the body of the recycled birdhouse together.
Adding the tin ceiling roof
Once the glue dries, we can get cracking with the roof. For our recycled birdhouse I used rusty tin ceiling tiles. Just a word of caution before using any old tin ceiling tiles that still have paint on them. Back in the day, they were often painted with lead paint and I know it’s harmful to humans, so it’s probably not a good thing to use for our feathered friends either. We tested these using LeadCheck (affiliate link). Just swab the surface and if it turns a reddish color, there’s lead in the paint which will need to be removed first.
To make the tin ceiling roof, measure how long the sides of the roof need to be and use a block of wood to help bend the tile.
Cut the excess with some tin snips and sand the edges to get rid of any burrs or sharp bits. Flatten the tile out a little, apply some oven cleaner and scrub thoroughly with a wire brush to remove any rust and sand smooth. It takes some elbow grease but it’s worth it. You don’t need to de-rustify the whole tile, just the bit that will go over the interior of the birdhouse. Wipe the tile down with a damp cloth, before spraying with some fish oil to prevent it from rusting again. Trust me on this one. Fish oil works, and I bet you’ve never seen a rusty fish 😉 Wait for the fish oil to penetrate completely (about a week).
Place the bent tin ceiling tile on the body of the recycled birdhouse and hammer a few nails in, to secure.
Giving the recycled birdhouse some character
To give the exterior of the birdhouse some character we used a few rusty pieces that have all been sealed with Rust-Oleum’s Clear Matt Sealer. There’s a hinge sun awning above the entrance hole.
I’m not sure if our feathered friends will ever need it, but it looks cool.
There’s an old doorknob thingy and key if they need somewhere to sit and enjoy the garden.
And finally, a bent copper pipe for a chimney.
When you hang your recycled birdhouse, the entrance hole should ideally face away from prevailing winds. It helps keep the rain out. Here in South Africa we normally hang ours facing South or East so they can enjoy the early morning sunshine without getting too hot during the day. Birdhouses have to be cleaned and disinfected every year. We use diatomaceous earth in ours to control creepy crawlies and it’s completely safe.
We also have 4 purr babies, so we have to be careful where we hang any birdhouses. This one went into the front garden. Our purr babies like being around us and hardly ever venture that side of the garden. But with that being said, I may just move the birdhouse after seeing this stunning idea that my friend Linda, who blogs at Mixed Kreations, shared a few weeks back. And we already have a broken pitchfork in our scrap pile.
If you like the idea of making your own unique recycled birdhouse don’t forget to pin it for later
Caring is sharing 😉
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And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.