How to Build a Cedar Birdhouse

Learn how to build a simple and inexpensive birdhouse made from a cedar fence picket.

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Colorful Birdhouses on a Fence

How to Build a Cedar Birdhouse

Learn how to build a wood birdhouse.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

We made these birdhouses for very little money in an afternoon. Each birdhouse was made from one cedar fence panel, the same sized fence panels that the houses are hanging on. This is a great way to upcycle an old fence if the wood is in good shape. We suggest using cedar because it is exterior-grade and wildlife-friendly wood.

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DIY Cedar Birdhouse
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Tools and Materials

  • cedar picket (one per house)
  • miter saw
  • wood glue
  • brad nail gun
  • 1-1/2” brad nails
  • drill
  • 1" hole saw
  • drill bit set
  • sandpaper
  • paint tarp
  • quart exterior paint - contrasting colors
  • 2” paintbrush
  • measuring tape
  • (2) 1” hinges

Step 1: Cut List

Use a miter saw or a circular saw to cut all the pieces.

  • Cut three 8-1/2" pieces for the back and sides.
  • Cut one 6-1/2" piece for the front.
  • Cut one 8-1/4 piece for the roof.
  • Cut one 6-3/4" piece for the bottom.

Step 2: Angle Side Pieces

Cut the top of two 8-1/2" sides at a 20° angle so the lower end of the angle is 6-1/2” (matching the height of the front piece). If you don’t have a miter saw, you can use a miter box and a hand saw to make these cuts.

Step 3: Make an Entrance

Clamp the front piece to a scrap piece of wood on a table. Use a 1” hole saw bit to drill an opening 4” down from the top of the piece. This sized opening will attract smaller birds. Placing the cedar front on top of a scrap piece prevents the hole from splintering as you drill through the board.

How to Build a Cedar Birdhouse

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Step 4: Give It a Perch

Use a 5/16” drill bit to make a hole about 1” below the opening. Cut a 5/16” wooden dowel to a 2” length for the perfect perch.

How to Build a Cedar Birdhouse

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Step 5: Sand All Wood

Use an orbital sander or sanding block to smooth all wood. Pay close attention to the entrance.

How to Build a Cedar Birdhouse

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Step 6: Add Some Color

Use exterior pet-friendly paint for a pop of color on your birdhouse. Use contrasting colors for the house and roof.

Step 7: Assemble the House

Use wood glue and nails to attach the front of the birdhouse to the sides. Next nail on the back. Turn the house upside down to attach the bottom.

Step 8: Add the Roof

Use two hinges to hold the roof in place. Making the birdhouse top-hinged will allow for easy clean-out.

How to Build a Cedar Birdhouse

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Step 9: Glue the Perch

Place a little wood glue on the end of the 2” perch and place it inside the 5/16” hole that was drilled under the opening.

How to Build a Cedar Birdhouse

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

Step 10: Secure to Fence

Use a 5/16” drill bit to make a hole on the back side of the birdhouse 1” down and centered. Insert an exterior screw onto the fence to hold the birdhouse in place. Get creative and make different shapes and sizes.

Colorful Birdhouses on a Fence

How to Build a Cedar Birdhouse

Learn how to build a wood birdhouse.

Photo by: Shain Rievley

Shain Rievley

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