How to build a birdhouse

The perfect weekend project... find out how to build a birdhouse in our step by step guide

How to build a birdhouse: Line of bird houses in a garden from Pallet wood projects book by CICO Books
(Image credit: CICO Books)

In this guide, we show you how to build a birdhouse, the easy way. But why have just one birdhouse when you can have a whole village? These birdhouses are all variations of the pink basic birdhouse, all of which we'll give you instructions for, below. They've all been created using very rough pallet planks with lots of wonky angles to add character to these little builds. 

If you are looking for more crafts or DIY projects you can do this weekend, just head over to our hub page. Find out how to make pallet furniture in our easy step by step, too.

You will need:

Find more pallet projects

This project was taken from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces by Hester van Overbeek, available on Amazon.

  • Reclaimed pallet wood planks
  • Measuring tape 
  • Hand saw
  • Palm sander or sandpaper
  • Drill driver with 2mm wood drill piece
  • Paddle drill bits, 25mm or 35mm or 38mm
  • Wood glue
  • 25mm nails and hammer
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • Black Sharpie (optional)
  • Matt outdoor varnish
  • Filler
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil

How to make the pink birdhouse

The pink birdhouse is the most basic of the four houses. It is one plank deep and two planks wide. 

Pink bird house from Pallet wood projects for outdoor spaces book by CICO Books

(Image credit: CICO Books)

1. Measure your plank width – ours is 7.5cm – and cut two pieces of 15cm for the sides, four pieces of 16cm for the front and back, and two pieces of 14cm for the roof. Sand all the cut edges.

2. Lay out your birdhouse pieces – two pieces flat for the back, two sides, and topped with the two pieces for the front. For the base, measure the internal dimensions of your house and cut a plank to fit inside. Ours is 12.5cm x 7.5cm.

Bird house being made from Pallet wood projects for outdoor spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: CICO Books)

3. In one of the front planks, drill an entry hole using the paddle drill bit – the ideal entry hole is 38mm, but it can vary slightly.

Bird house being made from Pallet wood projects for outdoor spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

4. In the front and back planks, pre-drill the holes for the nails with the 2mm drill bit to prevent the wood splitting. You need three per side, 1cm in from the edges.

Bird house being made from Pallet wood projects for outdoor spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

5. Apply wood glue to the short sides of the base and attach the side pieces. Apply more glue and stick the front and back pieces in place, then nail together through the pre-drilled holes.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: CICO Books)

6. Glue and nail the base in place, pre-drilling the nail holes and making sure the entry hole is in the upper part of the house. Glue and nail the roof in place, with the overhang above the entry hole.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

7. Sand the birdhouse to smooth all the edges. Paint your house – we used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Henrietta. When dry, add details in other paint colors or using a black Sharpie, then apply a matt outdoor varnish.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

How to make the tall townhouse birdhouse

Birdhouses in a row over a gateway to a cottage from Pallet wood projects for outdoor spaces by CICO Books

(Image credit: CICO Books)

1. Cut four 30cm planks for the sides, front, and back, one 11cm plank for the base, one 11cm plank for the roof, and one 5cm x 7cm piece of plank for the middle floor. Screw the middle floor to the middle of the two sides.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: CICO Books)

2. Glue and nail together following the instructions for the basic house. The front piece has two slightly smaller entry holes of 2.5cm as this house will attract smaller birds.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

3. If your wood is very wonky and you have large holes, you can fill them with filler before sanding and painting the house. We painted this house in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Emile with dots in Pure.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

How to make the pitched roof birdhouse

1. You need two extra triangles for this house. Cut two 15cm planks for the sides, six 16cm planks for the front and back, three 11.5cm planks and one 10cm plank for the roof, and one 12.5cm plank for the base. To make the triangles, take two of the 16cm side planks, mark the midpoint on one long side, and draw cutting lines to the corners.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

2. Glue and nail together following the instructions for the basic house. However, you won’t be able to nail the triangle to the other front piece so just use glue and hold in place with masking tape until the glue is dry. One roof slat is 1.5cm shorter –position this piece in line with the right angle of the triangle so you have an overlap at the apex of the roof. This means the overhang on the sides will be the same. We painted this house in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Graphite and Pure.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

How to make the blue Mid-century birdhouse

1. For this house you need four 20cm planks for the sides, front, and back, one 11cm plank for the base, and one 15cm plank for the roof. Glue and nail together following the instructions for the basic house but with an asymmetric roof overhanging at one side, rather than at the front. We painted this house in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® in Duck Egg Blue, with details added in Pure and Graphite.

How to make a birdhouse from Pallet Wood Projects for Outdoor Spaces from CICO Books

(Image credit: James Gardiner © CICO Books)

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