Building A Birdhouse For Your Garden or Outdoor Space

A Great Idea To Introduce Kids and Students To Woodwork

Small finished birdhouseCredit: Christopher D Brown

Kids love using their hands and getting involved. They also love having a record of their achievement and being able to show their parents and family. Whether it's a drawing, something they have written or something they have created.

Building a bird house is a great way to introduce kids to woodworking and give them something they can take home (or leave at school), look at, interact with and be proud of.

This bird house is easy to build for anyone who wants a simple bird house. It's built with material found around the home, and will give you some character in your garden or outdoor space.

To get started, you will need a few things

  1. Ply wood, 12mm thick, around 600 x 600mm. I wouldn’t recommend going thinner than this.
  2. Nails, 20mm long approx.
  3. Screws, 1 for the bottom.
  4. PVA glue
  5. Some wooden dowel or something that a bird can perch on, that is about 75mm long. (I used copper plumbing pipe which I found around the house.)


  1. Compound saw, circular saw, or hand saw (preferred in that order, something to cut it up)
  2. Ruler and pencil
  3. Hammer
  4. Paint (if you want to paint it)
  5. Paint brush
  6. Drill and hole-saw or spade bit (to cut the hole the bird gets in and out of) I used around 30mm size hole.
  7. Set of drill bits.
  8. Safety equipment (glasses, headphones and a well ventilated area)


Before you delve in…

When we built the bird houses we made them out of cardboard first so the kids could see the size of them and they were easy to make, and we painted them also.

To do this we used some cardboard (left over from a new appliance box) and cut it up in two pieces. One for the body, and one for the roof. You can stick a pencil in as the perch if wish.

Cardboard Birdhouse PlansCredit: Christopher D Brown

To start making them out of ply you need to first cut up the parts you need.

You can change these sizes around with a bit but they are a good-sized bird house.

Birdhouse Plans(129544)Credit: Christopher D Brown


Planning for cleaning out your bird house

Because you will want to clean out your bird house every year, it's advised that you put a door on it. The easiest way to do this is to have the bottom removable.

One way is to cut the back of the bird house short by 25mm. This will leave the front and sides longer than the back. Then, cut two pieces of ply around 10mm thin by 100mm long, and stick them on the inside of the sides, at the bottom. Then cut your bottom so it slides in, kind of like a sliding door.

This way you don’t have to buy hinges and set up a door. If you semi-screw in a screw, into the edge of the bottom that is visible, you can lever a hammer on it and get it open later.


Building the bird house

Draw all your sizes on the ply and then cut them up with the tools that you have available.

After everything's cut up, then it’s time to glue it and nail it together. A vice or some clamps are great idea if you have one, otherwise you’re going to have to hold two pieces together and glue it and nail it. Maybe get someone to help you here. It also helps to pre drill these holes if you are having students with little experience build it.

Once it’s nailed and glued together, drill a hole with your hole saw on the front to allow the birds access. Then drill another hole underneath it, for the dowel or pipe to sit in. This hole is better tight, use the hammer to force the dowel in to hold it in place.

Now you are ready for paint, self priming house paint is best.

The eyelets and fishing wire is the last thing to go on. Pre drill these and it will stop the ply from cracking. Once you’re done, then you can hang up your bird house wherever you’d like and enjoy the wildlife.


Finished BirdhouseCredit: Christopher D Brown

Thanks for reading and good luck with your bird house!

Finished Birdhouse(129850)
Credit: Christopher D Brown