Whether you’re wanting to build something simple that’s more suited for beginners or a project that’s a little more advanced and decorative, this collection of free birdhouse tutorials has you covered!
I’ve put together lots of ideas in this bunch, they each provide full instructions or plans to download. Most can be made with scraps of wood you likely already have on hand so the cost is minimal.
The collection is mainly for woodworking but I’ve included a few crafty & upcycling projects as well.
First A Few Useful Resources:
Attracting Birds (pdf): Excellent (and free) booklet to download packed with info (including a few shelter projects) such as: Food & Feeder types, Habitat, Natural Food, Shelter, Predator Guards, General Care & Maintenance.
How To Install A Post: When no tree is available, you’ll need to install a post and attach the house to it. Here are the instructions (including directions for filling hole with concrete).
How To Provide What They Want: Habitat loss has driven some species away from former nesting areas. Lean how the right house can bring birds back.
I’ve also compiled lists of DIY Feeders and Water Features that will make nice additions to your yard as well. Your feathered friends will surely appreciate the extra comforts ;). If it’s hummingbirds you’re trying to attract, this is the page for you.
Updated (February, 2020): Don’t miss the gallery of ideas I added under the free projects list below…this will help inspire creative tweaks and different ideas to decorate the outside.
Some are simple color schemes I like, others are fun design features and tweaks that aren’t difficult to add.
Free Woodworking Plans & Assorted Tutorials
Stone Covered: Experiment with different forms, rock colors & roof designs. Forms can be plastic water pitcher, coffee tins, large cans, etc.
w/ Chimney: A cute little chimney piece tops things off, has a dowel/perch outside the entrance hole.
Burning Beauty: I love this! Elegant designs can be burned into plain pine board with a wood-burning kit or pen.
Sparrow Log Cabin: (plus a Bungalow design) This is divided into two sections for multiple families, with entrances on the side and front. Scroll down for the project plans (a pdf download for each).
Modern: Designed as a classic mid-century modern ranch home, includes cutting diagram and how-to video.
Bluebird Nestbox (Audubon): Well-built and well-placed in your own backyard or nearby park can help boost local populations. For Dick Peterson’s original plans (w/slanted top), here’s a pdf with a scanned copy.
Junky Pallet: (also suitable for barn wood or old fence posts). Shows how to break down a piece & transform it into a funky shack featuring some odd household bits.
Pallet Wood: Lots of tips for decorating and embellishing along with a tutorial for making a birdhouse repurposed from pallets.
Teapot: Includes plan diagram to download (jpg file), tutorial and teapot face pattern template.
Stone: Details step-by-step how to make your own including tips for choosing materials to use.
w/Mounting Board: A handsaw is used to carve shallow grooves inside the front piece, this helps the little critters get grip so they will not become trapped inside.
Modern: Roof is at an angle for a contemporary modern look but it also helps with water run-off.
Wine Cork: Will take between 130 to 200 corks, a glue gun and plenty of glue sticks to make this. I wonder how this holds up over time (hot summer days/cold winters)?
One-Board Project: Easy how-to suitable for beginners, pine, poplar dowel, glue & exterior paint (I love the red they used).
Green Roof: Here’s another project that features a growing space up top. Clever perch made from a drawer pull.
Decoration Ideas & DIY Inspiration
There are no step-by-step tutorials in this batch, these are simply ideas for a bunch of ways to decorate the outside of the houses. Some really nifty (and easy) design tweaks here! Start with a basic structure then add a bit of paint, affix a few embellishments and voila! you have an extra-special garden feature that also provides shelter for your feathered friends. Have fun!
Hand Painted Ideas: Cat crouched above the entrance; Two lovebirds (window shutters); White picket fence.
Embellishments: Decorative Metal Hardware/Plates (plus twig ends for perches); Heart-shaped entrance; Trimmed & curved popsicle stick fence (or basswood pieces).
Solid color body, bright stripes for the roof; Scalloped eaves & door shape painted over the hole; Dark thin stripes painted to give the look of siding or panels.
Love Nest Theme: Wreath around the doorway, “For Rent” and “Lifetime Lease” signs; Scandinavian design elements & bright platform; Handpainted cardinals, berry branches & red roof.
Moss covered roof (moss starter recipe: Take a clump of healthy moss, 2 cups buttermilk, 2 cups water. Blender on low speed until fully mixed. Brush onto surface); Faux-Gemstone embellishments; Brightly painted in graduated tones.
Bed & Breakfast (I like the little twig ends as fence or pathway); Gingerbread House (sweet candy designs on the fence boards); Camper (Home Is Where You Hook Up).
Brick chimney & cute twig ladder on the side; Split bark shingles; Castle turret topper and faux-stone work.