How to Build a Birdhouse From a Fence Plank


Birdhouses enhance the backyard environment by providing places for native birds to nest. Properly-constructed birdhouses also provide an educational experience, because they can be opened for brief viewing of eggs or nestlings. Additionally, the door facilitates seasonal cleaning of the birdhouse, which will make it more attractive to nesting birds. You can easily make a durable, inexpensive birdhouse from a single fence plank in an afternoon.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-inch by 6-inch by 6-foot fence plank
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge or carpenter's square
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Circular saw or Jigsaw
  • Eye protection
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Phillips' head screwdriver bit
  • 1 1/2-inch diameter hole saw bit
  • Sandpaper
  • 1 3/4-inch galvanized wood screws
  • 2-inch finishing nails
  • Pliers (two pairs)
  • Wood glue

Cut the fence plank

  • Measure, mark and cut a length of plank 13 1/2 inches long. This will form the back of the birdhouse. Mark one side of this board with the letter "B."

  • Cut two 9-inch long sections of plank that will form the front and one side of the birdhouse. Mark them accordingly as "FR" and "S1."

  • Cut one 8 1/2-inch long section of plank to use as the door side of the birdhouse. Mark this piece as "S2."

  • Cut one 7 1/2-inch long section of plank to form the roof of the birdhouse. Mark this piece as "R."

  • Cut one 4-inch long section of plank to form the floor of the birdhouse. Mark this section as "FL."

Assemble the birdhouse

  • Locate the front board, labeled "FR." Measure across the board and mark the vertical center line on the labeled side. Measure 5 1/2 inches from one end of the bottom plank and make a mark across the center line. This is where the bottom of the entry hole will be located. Measure 3/4 inch up from the bottom of the entry hole and make a mark to use to center the hole saw. Place the center bit of the hole saw on this mark, and drill the entry hole from the labeled inner side of the plank through to the outside. Sand any rough edges lightly.

  • Select the back board, labeled "B," and measure and mark 1 1/2 inches down from the top on the unlabeled, front side of the board. Attach side section "S1" to one edge of "B" below this mark using wood screws, so that the long side of "S1" forms a right angle with "B."

  • Drill four or five holes in floor section "FL" to create drainage holes. Screw "FL" into place, attaching it to the back "B" and side "S1."

  • Screw the front section "FR" and roof section "R" securely into place. Seal the inside of all seams with wood glue, and allow the glue to dry according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

  • Place the door side section "S2" into place so it is flush with the bottom of the birdhouse. Drill two holes into "S2" about 1/2-inch from the top, drilling one through the front and one through the back of the birdhouse. Insert finishing nails to serve as hinge pins. Test to make sure the door swings freely. Sand the edges if necessary.

  • Hold each end of a finishing nail with a pair of pliers and bend it at a 90-degree angle. Drill a hole 3/4-inch into the edge of the front panel "FR" of the birdhouse, about 2 inches up from the bottom. Insert the bent nail into the hole, and turn it so that the end secures the door side "S2" into place. Turn the bent nail to unlatch the door.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mount the birdhouse to a pole or tree with screws. Drill holes in the back panel as needed.
  • Pre-drill all screw holes to prevent the wood from splitting.
  • Always wear eye protection when sawing or drilling.

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