How to Build a Birdhouse

Construct a Cozy Little Home for Your Winged Neighbors

A brown birdhouse mounted on a post.

The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Yield: 1
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $20

A birdhouse is a wonderful way to attract beneficial wildlife to your yard. However, not all birds use houses to rear their young. Birds that seek homes for their nests are cavity dwellers. These birds look for natural cavities in trees to raise their babies. Fortunately, there are many bird species that will nest in birdhouses. Making a birdhouse does require an understanding of the type of bird you want to attract, along with some basic DIY skills. This birdhouse plan is specifically designed for bluebirds and is perfect for a beginner DIYer.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Miter saw or hand saw
  • Cordless drill
  • 1 1/2-inch hole saw drill bit or 1 1/2-inch spade drill bit
  • 1/8-inch drill bit
  • Phillips screwdriver bit
  • Paint brush

Materials

  • 1 Pine or cedar board, 1 feet by 6 feet
  • 16 1 1/4-inch exterior wood screws
  • 1 1-inch zinc-plated hook and eye
  • 1 1-inch zinc-plated hinge
  • Outdoor paint

Instructions

Materials and tools illustration to build a birdhouse

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

  1. Cut Wood

    Cut the 1-foot by 6-foot pine or cedar board into the following dimensions:

    • Back: 13 1/2 inches x 6 inches
    • Front: 9 inches x 6 inches
    • Roof: 7 1/2 inches x 6 inches
    • Sides: (2) 9 inches x 6 inches
    • Floor: 4 inches x 6 inches
    Several pine boards cut out for a birdhouse.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

    No Saw?

    If you do not have a miter or handsaw, many home improvement stores will cut the wood for you. 

  2. Drill Entrance Hole

    Attach the 1 1/2-inch hole saw bit or 1 1/2-inch spade bit to your drill. Drill the entrance 1 1/2-inch hole centered 6 inches above the bottom of the front board. This hole needs to be precise because it allows enough room for the bluebird to enter through. Set the front of the box aside.

    A drill with a hole saw attached next to a pineboard.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

    For a Cleaner Cut

    A hole saw is easier to use and will give you a cleaner cut. 

  3. Line up the Side

    Line up one of the side boards with the long side floor board.

    Two pine boards perpendicular to each other.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  4. Pre-drill

    To make attaching it easier, turn the side wall and floor on the side. The side wall should be perpendicular to the floor. Stack the other cut pieces of woods underneath to help keep it in place. Pre-drill two holes through the bottom end of the side, about 1/2 inch in from the sides and 3/8 inch from the bottom (it doesn’t need to be precise, it just needs to catch the floorboard for a secure attachment).

    Stacks of pine boards.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  5. Attach Side Wall

    Attach the side board to the floorboard with two 1 1/4-inch exterior wood screws.

    Stack of pine boards.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  6. Attach Front Wall

    Flip the pieces over with the side you just attached to the left. Place the front of the house on the assembled floor and left side. Pre-drill two holes on the bottom, about 1/2 inch in from the sides, and two holes on the left side 1 inch from the top and bottom.

    Again, it doesn’t have to be precise, just as long the screws will attach securely through the front piece to the bottom and side. Attach the front piece with two 1 1/4-inch exterior wood screws on the bottom and two on the side. Leave the right side free. It will become the clean-out door.

    A pine board with all hole.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  7. Attach Back

    Flip the birdhouse so the front of the house is facing down. Place the back board on top, aligning the bottom and sides with the frame underneath. Pre-drill and attach two screws on the bottom and side in the same manner as described earlier.

    A pine board with screws.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  8. Slide in Side Wall

    Set the frame upright. You will need to slide in the remaining side piece. This piece will not be attached to the frame with screws, but needs to be set in place in order to maintain spacing as you attach the roof.

    A birdhouse frame.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  9. Attach Roof

    Place the roof board on top. Pre-drill and attach with the wood screws on the front and left side of the frame. No screws are needed on the right side where you slid in the side piece. 

    Top of a birdhouse.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  10. Secure Back

    Lay the birdhouse on its front to secure the roof through the back wall with two screws.

    Back of a birdhouse.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  11. Attach Hinge

    Flip the house onto the side, with the unattached side facing up. Center the hinge on the side board, making sure it catches the roof board. Attach with the small wood screws that come with the hinge. This hinge allows you to open and close the side wall so you can clean out the box after the birds have nested. 

    Sideview of birdhouse.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  12. Attach Latch

    Attach the hook and eye latch toward the bottom on the front or the back of the house. 

    Sideview of a birdhouse.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe

  13. Finishing Up

    Paint the birdhouse an earthy, natural color. Bluebirds are more likely to nest in boxes in earth tones that resemble the trunk of a tree. To hang, place the house 5 to 10 feet high on a post facing an open field or yard. You can attach it directly to a fence post with exterior wood screws. 

    An unpainted birdhouse.

    The Spruce / Debbie Wolfe