Some people build birdhouses with the intention of them being decorative pieces for the garden, however the guidelines presented here describe the construction of a quite basic birdhouse. I would think that a little bird and family would prefer this more plain rustic version to something overly fancy. Plus, keeping in mind the smells and fumes, it is recommended to use unpainted non-tanalised timber. Birds are rather sensitive. That's why they use them in mines. If you do wish to paint your birdhouse, paint the outside ONLY and use NON-TOXIC water based paint.

Materials and Tools

exterior grade non-tanalised timber(plywood or similar)





jigsaw or holesaw



tape measure

Step 1

Cut out your shapes from the timber. I intentionally have left off any dimensions, as this is merely a guide and it is up to you how big you'd like to build it. Please use common sense- if you intend to have a family of eagles nest in your backyard, the birdhouse will obviously have to be a lot larger than it would be if it is to house sparrows. This birdhouse design is also not intended as suitable for emus or ostriches- in these cases we recommend giving them a set of keys to your house and your spare bedroom.

step 1

-Cut out the side walls the same width as the floor section. However, cut out the front and back walls wider than their corresponding floor width, to factor in them overlapping the side walls (this will all make sense in Step 3) -when cutting out the roof sections, keep in mind that one piece will have to be slightly longer than the other as the two roof sections will overlap where they meet at the ridge(at the top of the birdhouse). And cut them out wider than the width of the side walls to factor in the overlap of the front walls, plus some extra overhang.

Step 2

Cut out the entrance hole in the front wall section using either a hole saw, or otherwise you can use a jigsaw (to start off, drill a hole using a large enough drill bit first to fit the jigsaw blade through). Drill a hole just under the entrance hole to fit the dowel into- make sure the drill bit you are using is no bigger in diameter to the piece of dowel, so that the dowel will fit in there nice and snug. If necessary, apply some glue to keep the dowel securely in place.

step 2

Step 3

Assemble the wall sections and floor section using screws. It is recommended to drill a pilot hole first for the screw to go into, so as not to swell out the timber. Be careful to drill and screw at the right angle so that the screw goes all the way in without bursting out the side.

how to build a birdhouse

Step 4

Attach the roof sections using screws.

step 4

Step 5

Wow, you've finished! If you'd like, you can now decorate your new birdhouse. Remember, if you're going to paint it, use non-toxic waterbased paint on the outside only. Another idea, how about glueing on small twigs to give it that camouflage look?

step 5

Step 6

All you need to do now is attach your birdhouse firmly somewhere in the garden. Choose a nice secluded place, and be mindful of the weather- make sure it's relatively sheltered, and keep the entrance pointly away from any prevailing winds. If need be, you can unscrew the roof to enable you to be able to drill and screw down onto a branch through the floor.

The finished product


This example was built using old offcuts of cedar weatherboards and plywood that were lying around.