Cute Projects: How to Make Birdhouses from Recycled Materials

Making birdhouses is a fun activity to do with the kids, especially if you have a nice garden you want to see filled with color, life, scent, and chirping. Entertaining birds in your garden is healthy for the garden and the environment. The little critters feed on garden pests and add to the creation of the micro-ecosystem in your backyard. It is important for them to feel like home and stay protected from the elements. For this reason, you should learn how to make birdhouses from recycled materials.

Why recycled, you ask? Because you will also contribute to the health of the environment and teach your kids a thing or two about sustainability and recycle different materials. Therefore, without further ado, let us see how to make a birdhouse this summer and the cute projects you can enjoy with the entire family!

Pick the Materials Wisely

When we talk about how to make birdhouses from recycled materials, we mean that you should pick some that are safe for the birds. For instance, you need to consider answering the following questions:

  • Even if you recycle or upcycle some materials, are they safe for the birds? Do they emanate some toxic fumes? Were the materials previously treated with some chemicals that might harm the birds?
  • Will the materials rust, deteriorate, or harm the bird in contact with the elements?
  • Will the material keep the bird warm and will it warm up too much? How good is the material’s insulation?
  • Will you be able to clean the material/birdhouse once you built it?

Cute Projects: Making the Birdhouse

To help you answer the questions above and start building the birdhouse out of recycled materials, let us see together the fun projects we were talking about!

1. Milk Carton Birdhouse

bird house milk carton

A large tetra pack milk carton makes a great house for a small bird. However, you need to make sure the carton stays safe outside, so you will need some coating to protect it from the elements. Here is what you need:

  • Large, sturdy milk carton;
  • Enamel paint to coat the exterior of the house;
  • Scissors/knife
  • Glue
  • Acrylic paint, crayons, etc.
  • Washi tape, felt, recycled scraps of colored paper, etc.

How to Make the Bird House

  • Coat the milk carton with the enamel paint to keep it protected from the elements;
  • Use the scissors or the knife to cut a hole for the bird – make sure it is large enough for the bird to enter and keep its edges smooth so the bird does not hurt;
  • Paint the carton, glue paper or felt shapes on it, play around with the kids and use your imagination to decorate the exterior of the bird house;
  • Make sure you cut a “door” in the back of the house so you can have access inside for cleaning purposes;
  • Inside the house, add a handful of straw, grass, or thin twigs for the bird to make itself at home.

Hang the birdhouse in a safe spot in your garden and have fun with the kids watching the bird finding its way in its new house.

2. Wood and Stone Birdhouse

wood and stone bird house

If you want to take things up a notch, get some wood scraps you have around the house and build a bird cottage. You will need some glue and nails. If you do not know how to build a cottage, take inspiration from the milk carton above. Four walls, a floor, and an inclined roof will get you started. Make sure the wood scraps you use do not present toxic paint for the bird, nails, splinters, or anything that could hurt the bird.

Next, pick up some smooth stones from your yard and start building a medieval stone house for the little critters.

  • Treat the exterior wood house with some weather and elements resistant coating. Recycle some paint or lacquer you have in the garage, either of them should do the trick;
  • Make sure you cut a large enough entry/exit hole for the bird and a “back door” for you to be able to clean the house.
  • Use the glue to cover the exterior of the house with the small, thin, smooth stones and pebbles. This is the part the kids will enjoy the most;
  • Use twine to cover the roof or wood twigs;
  • Fill in the house with straw for the birds.

This type of birdhouse is going to be very heavy, so it is better to put it on a flat surface in your garden or on your porch so you can enjoy the birds coming over and checking it out.

3. Plastic Bottle Birdhouse

plastic bird house

There is nothing eco-friendlier than recycling plastic. For this cute project, you can save all the large soda bottles you have around the house, as they make the perfect materials for birdhouses or feeders. This is what you will need:

  • Large plastic bottles, with cleaned-off labels;
  • Cutter or scissors;
  • Colored paint you have around the house – a nice way to reuse leftovers;
  • Glue;
  • Washi tape, scraps of paper, twigs, twine, and other arts and crafts materials to use for decoration.

How to Make the Birdhouse

  • Cut the bottle in three parts, removing the midsection;
  • Cut out a large piece of the bottom side of the bottle to make the entry/exit hole for the bird;
  • Smooth the plastic edges with heat (a lighter would do);
  • Paint the top and the bottom parts of the bottle with colored paint and decorate as your imagination (or kids) allow and let dry;
  • Glue the top of the bottle (the bottle cap should stay on) over the bottom part of the bottle;
  • Add supplemental decorations to the house – you can decorate with plastic buttons, strips of plastic wrapping (another way to reuse and recycle plastic), paper cut-outs, and more;
  • Fill in the house with straw and other natural materials for the birds;
  • Use twine and rope to hang the birdhouses from the trees; alternatively, you can place the bottles on flat surfaces (porch, patio).

Other Recycled Materials You Can Use for Birdhouses

These were just a few ideas on how to make bird houses from recycled materials. There are more, however: you can try making them from recycled coffee cans, old boots (they work best for feeders than houses), large plastic containers (properly cleaned of liquids or other components), and old dishes like teapots. If you want to recycle glass into birdhouses, make sure the glass is sturdy and resilient, as you do not want it to break or harm the birds.

If you put your mind to it, you can recycle plenty of things for your new guests!

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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William E. Eubanks

I'm one of the main writers on the site; mostly dealing with environmental news and ways to live green. My goal is to educate others about this great planet, and the ways we can help to protect it.

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