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Thursday, March 1, 2012

15-Minute Bluebird House. Cost: $0-5

Let's make this Eastern Bluebird House:

how to build a bluebird house


Out of this one board:

In about...15 minutes


Quick note: I have made quite a few bluebird houses, and I have to say this one is the easiest to make, easiest to mount, and the easiest to clean of any I have ever been around.  I designed it out of one piece of wood - should be pretty simple.  Here we go.

What you need:

(1) 5 ft. board.
Saw (preferably a miter saw - but almost ANY saw will work)
Nails (or screws or both)
A hole saw is great for the 1 1/2" opening.  If not, jigsaw or any other means you have available to make a 1 1/2" hole in a piece of wood.

My board was an extra piece of cedar from our playset.  It was 5 ft. long, 5 1/4" wide, and it was 7/8" thick.  You can use whatever 5 foot board you have, and this should still work fine for you.

Here are the dimensions.  If you just mark the top row of numbers and make the cuts, you're good to go.  The bottom depends on the thickness of your wood, and whether you want your piece to be inside the walls or flush with the outside of the walls.  This is why I didn't make an ending mark for the bottom piece.  Your choice. I went for the inside of the walls.  You just make your bottom fit any way you want it.

My plans leave plenty of room for blade thickness. Also, the extra will be our little perch.  Take a look, though - make sure the first cut is slanted, NOT on the straights.  



The first cut is done on an angle.  This will make your two sloping sides.  I set my miter saw to 15 degrees-ish (I used my line more than the angle).  After that it's just straight cuts on the marks.  Here's the first cut:


The birds have to breathe, and they have to get into the house.  Let's help with that. They also need water drainage, as well as "other" things to filter through the bottom of their house.  Hole-it-out. Use whatever size bit you want, I went with 3/16". Make the entrance hole 1 1/2".  Then put 2 small holes in the top of the front, 2 at the top of each side, and 4 in the bottom. Like this (as evidenced, holes need not be precise at all):



To join the sides and bottom to the back, I used pocket holes with my Kreg Jig (as usual, here is the link to this wonderful thing). This is my preferred method because it's so quick and easy.  It's also a very strong method of joinery when used in the proper application (such as this).  You can also just nail or drill through the back of the back piece into the sides and bottom.  Or, you could glue and clamp these pieces on, which would work just as well for this little birdhouse.  BUT, you'll never get done in 15 minutes.  

NOTE: To place them in the right spot, I lay my hinge level with the top of the back board and put my top (roof) piece on as if it were mounted.  Now butt the angle of the side piece up to the roof and you know where you need them so that the hinge will still be flush with the back piece later.  Here is a picture of what I mean (and no, the bottom piece shouldn't be slanted - it was falling):

So i set them, take off the top, and here are my pocket holes (not yet screwed in so you can see them).

Now  I nailed through the sides into the bottom. 2 nails each side.

Now do your front piece.

NOTE:  It helps to have your top piece on as a guide for placement, again. We didn't angle the front piece and we still want it to lay flush.  So lay your top piece on your slanted sides and then butt your front piece up to it and throw 4 nails through the front piece.  If you would like to angle the front so all is flush and there is no gap, be my guest.  Personally, I like the little gap as another vent.  Here's the look:

Now lay your hinge flush with the top of the back board and screw it into the back and the top piece.  It should fit completely flush because we have been using it as a guide for the placement of all the other pieces.  Here you are:

Now take your scrap piece and cut it to a good depth (if at all necessary).  Put two nails through the front or glue it to the front.  Perch done. 

I also made this option for those who have predators around their birds. Use the extra piece we used for a perch, and make a wren guard, instead.  Same 1 1/2" entry hole, then cut the square to fit and attach with 2 nails. My square piece is 2 1/2" X 2 1/2"
And here is the new resident of this house, as well.

 how to build a birdhouse


Lift the top and drill two screws pretty much all the way through.  You don't have to be precise.  Put them through because we'll use the screws to help us mark the post we are going to hang it on.  Like this.

Now position your house where you want it and put it against the post.  Use the depressions that the screws made and pilot holt those spots.  Back the screws out of the house a bit, put it in place, and send it home.  Or send the birds home.  Whatever.

FYI: Bluebirds like their house mounted in a field or open area where they can keep a good watch on everything going on.  The inside of my fence post worked well for me.  We had about 4 families in the old houses.  Two rounds of eggs.  My daughter loved it.  I will cut all the pieces and let her assemble the houses and paint them.  A note on paint, never make it too dark as the house will get really hot and that's not good for the birds or the eggs.  Think cool.

I hope you like this birdhouse.  It it a wonderful design.  Easy to make, and easy to clean.  We did a different house last year.  Too long to make. Too hard to clean.  It had so many bluebirds come through it, it's retired.  Here it is, old faithful:


So, did we hit the DIYandSIMPLIFY big three?

Cool?  Helping bring back the bluebird population. That's cool.

Cheap? Well - it's really just a 5-foot board and a hinge.  Most of the other stuff      people usually have.  So....yeah, that's really cheap. 

Easy? Umm, it's called the 15-minute birdhouse.  I could have made 5 more in the time it took me to post this.

3-for-3.  That's a win.  Slap the stamp.



  1. It took me about a half an hour but the next one will go quicker. Thanks!!

  2. Great would be a good idea to put more thought into your post though...not at all predator proof.

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