As the weather gets warmer, we are starting to hear birds singing again – they are back and about to make babies. It’s the perfect time to build a birdhouse! You need a good, easy to read plan to make one.
Today, we’re sharing our best DIY birdhouse plans and design ideas. Use them to build a perfect home for that beautiful bird.
Here, you’ll find 10 free plans that can be built for just around $3. Everything is provided: design images, detailed dimensions, cuts specs and assembly step-by-step diagrams. Have fun!
But first, let us explain how we manage to keep the costs to the minimum and why these plans are so simple to make …
Costs: the plans cost around $3, which includes the price of a single wood plank from the Home Depot (see the list of suitable lumber below) plus the price of a pack of finishing nails (see the choices below).
Cuts: you only need to make simple straight cuts with your hand saw – nothing overly complicated there. No drilling is involved.
Material: all 10 plans (except the last) are actually cut from a single board each. Depending on a plan, you’ll need either the 4′ or 6′ common stock from Lowe’s or Home Depot. The Home Depot can actually cut to dimensions right in the store. All you have to do is print out the cut-to diagram and bring it with you.
Dimensions: all birdhouse plans are designed from 5 ½” wide boards, which ensures that only cross cuts will be required. As for the board thickness, the plans allow for a standard size of 0.5″ (1/2″) to 0.625″ (5/8″) (these are actual sizes, not nominal!). Keep in mind that not all pieces have to fit perfectly together – gaps allow for air circulation, which is very important.
Design: the birdhouses are deep so the birds and their babies are better protected from predators. All of the designs can be nailed to a tree, hung from a tree branch or nailed to a fence post.
Entrance Hole: these are 90-degree diamond-shape cut-outs made with a hand saw. No need to buy an expensive drill. Yes, not round … but still great for the birds!
Tools: only a few basic DIY tools that can be readily found in most households are required.
LIST OF TOOLS NEEDED
Tools you need: a Hand Saw, a Hammer, a Tape Measure, a Combination Square or Carpenter Square, a Pencil, and of course, Nails.
LIST OF SUITABLE LUMBER
We suggest you use fence pickets, in Treated Pine or Cedar. They are designed to last long in the outdoors, which is perfect for a birdhouse. Plus, they are the cheapest lumber you can find.
These are a few suitable boards from Home Depot, whichever available in your area. Despite their different NOMINAL dimensions, their ACTUAL dimensions are close or equal to 1/2″ thick x 5-1/2″ wide, which is what used in our designs:
$1.48 – 6′ treated pine board – 1 in. x 5-1/2 in. x 6 ft. Pressure-Treated Pine Dog-Ear Fence Picket, SKU #169757
$1.48 – 6′ treated pine board – 1/2 in. x 6 in. x 6 ft. Pressure-Treated Pine Dog-Ear Fence Picket, SKU #460512
$1.84 – 4′ cedar board – 5/8 in. x 5-1/2 in. x 4 ft. Incense Cedar Dog-Ear Fence Picket, SKU #482501
$2.75 – 6′ cedar board – 19/32 in. x 5-1/2 in. x 6 ft. Cedar Dog-Ear Kiln-Dried Fence Picket, SKU #1002418099
$2.75 – 6′ cedar board – 19/32 in. x 5-1/2 in. x 6 ft. Cedar Dog-Ear Fence Picket, SKU #1002418099
Or use any other boards you can find. You want the ACTUAL dimensions to be equal or close to 1/2″ thick by 5-1/2″ wide.
LIST OF SUITABLE NAILS
You’ll need 1-1/4 inch or 1-1/2 inch galvanized finishing nails. A 1/4 inch diameter dowel would be nice to have but not necessary. Here are some nails that qualify:
$1.68 – Everbilt 1-1/2 in. Galvanized Common Nails (35-Pack), SKU #1001372722
$1.95 – Grip-Rite #15-1/2 x 1-1/4 in. 3-Penny Bright Steel Nails (6 oz.-Pack), SKU #1002149883
$1.95 – Grip-Rite #15 x 1-1/2 in. 4-Penny Bright Steel Nails (6 oz.-Pack), SKU #1002149881
$1.30 – Everbilt 1-1/2 in. Zinc-Plated Steel Finishing Nail (80-Pack), SKU #265950
$1.67 – Crown Bolt 1-1/2 in. Stainless Finishing Nails (50-Pack), SKU #576137
$1.30 – Everbilt #16 x 1-1/4 in. Zinc-Plated Wire Nail (1.75 oz. Pack), SKU #263419
10 FREE PLANS
All of the plans come with cut-to specs, dimensions and assembly diagrams. All you need is the tools mentioned above to get started!
These 10 unique and inexpensive birdhouse plans are great for school projects, weekend family fun or teaching kids DIY woodworking.
If you are looking for a great school project, this is it! You can have a building competition. You can also work a more cooperative angle, giving 10 kids the opportunity to work as a team to help with every design. Install all of the designs in the school yard and watch which one gets inhabited first!
45 Degree Plan
This chic design provides ample protection for smaller breeds of birds from predators while giving you an interesting conversation starter for the great oak in your backyard. Nail this birdhouse to a tree with ease – the back side is purposely extended out on both ends.
The entrance hole to this plan doesn’t need a drill – all you have to do is saw off a small part of the side wall.
The only wood you need is a 6′ fence picket plank of Treated Pine or Cedar. Note that all of the 90-degree cuts are made within the 5 ½” width (the width of the plank). We’ve provided all kind of dimensions for the angle cuts. The easiest way to achieve a 45-degree angle is to use a Tape Measure to mark 5-1/2″ to the middle point, and then make two diagonal cuts from that point to each end.
Assembly Steps (as shown above):
Step 1 – Nail the side walls to the bottom plate.
Step 2 – Assemble this part of the birdhouse to the vertical wall. Position it 1 ½” from the bottom as in fig. 2.
Step 3 – Attach the 45 degree plate to the top, covering all the space between the structure and the vertical wall.
90 Degree Plan
This is your traditional birdhouse plan with a little twist – the diamond shaped entrance hole. No drilling here.
This is a perfect design to hang. You can either screw a small cap hook into the roof or run a line through the entrance hole to hang the birdhouse.
Note that, for the modern look, all attachments are made within the 6 1/2″ bottom depth.
This plan requires a 6-foot fence picket.
As to making a diamond cut-out, I would first sandwich the Back and Front boards together and make two diagonal 45-degree cuts on one end of the overall 10-3/4″ dimension. (Tip: when cutting two boards at once, you can nail them half-deep to each other so they don’t move.) Now you got two perfectly matching parts. Then use one board to cut out the diamond for the entrance hole.
Step 1 – Assemble your Side walls to the Back wall.
Step 2 – Attach the Bottom to this new structure.
Step 3 – Attach the Front wall with jagged cut-out to complete the four walls.
Step 4 – Nail the Top plates on either side of the roof, as shown on fig 2.
Simple Rectangular Birdhouse Plan
Here’s another modern, no-drilling take on a classic birdhouse. This could very well be one of the simplest and least expensive plans. A very sturdy rectangular design made to be nailed to a tree or wide fence.
The widest part of your entrance hole should be just over 2″ to protect the birds from predators.
A 4′ fence picket board is just enough length to cut out all parts!
Step 1 – Assemble the Top and Bottom sides perpendicular to the 7″ Shorter side.
Step 2 – Attach the Front and Back sides.
Step 3 – Nail the 10″ Longer side to this structure. It extends 1-inch at the top and the bottom, to nail this birdhouse to the tree.
Large 90 Degree Triangular Birdhouse Plan
At first, this plan of only 5 parts seems simple. The assembly is a bit more challenging, however. We tried to make it as easy as possible by ensuring you are assembling each step from a flat, comfortable surface. The progression may look unusual at first, but trust the design!
Your Right roof panel will be a little lower than your Left. This is OK.
You can cut all of these pieces from an 6′ board.
Step 1 – Nail the roof planks together, keeping in mind that the Right plank will be slightly lower than the Left.
Step 2 – Place the Triangular side underneath your roof assembly and nail it in through the roof.
Step 3 – Assemble the Trapezoid side with the Bottom. Now nail the roof assembly to it.
Simple Symmetrical Birdhouse
This birdhouse plan looks great on a large tree or a fence. It requires slightly more work to put together than simpler designs, but it pays off in looks and protection for birds.
Keep in mind that all attachments are inside of the 5 1/2″ back wall width.
Note the 90 degree angle of your notches for the entrance hole. This can be done with a straight cut with your hand saw.
This plan requires a 6′ picket board.
Step 1 – Put together your 2 Side Assemblies (the pieces with the entrance hole halves cut out of them).
Step 2 – Attach the Top plate to your Side Assemblies.
Step 3 – Attach your Bottom plate to the Side Assemblies.
Step 4 – Assemble the Back wall to the new structure.
Small 60 Degree Triangular Birdhouse Plan
This small birdhouse is great to hang, and it is a shape that stands out in the yard. Good for smaller birds.
The Triangle Birdhouse only has 4 parts, which seems simple enough. The triangles are what makes this design more tricky. Keep this in mind as a good DIY exercise for a young mind … figuring it out how to put it together. The step-by-step plan we provide can serve as your teacher’s answer manual.
Note: cut no more than 1 -1/2″ from the top of your front triangle piece.
This entire plan can be built using only 3′ feet of wood . So 4-ft long is the next standard board length to buy at the Home Depot.
Step 1 – Attach one of the Side plates to the top of the Back triangular plate. Align one end of the Side plate with the tip of the Back plate’s apex. This is the toughest step. The rest is a breeze.
Step 2 – Align your other Side panel to the Back plate. The two Sides should create a tightly closed symmetrical triangular shape.
Step 3 – Nail the Front plate down to your newly assembled roof.
Step 4 – Attach the Bottom to both Front and Back plates.
Small Diamond Birdhouse Plan
This is one of the coolest hanging birdhouses in our collection.
To simplify cuts and assembly, we made roof panels the same length. So your roof will be slightly askew when assembled, but you can shave off the extra as an extra-credit.
TIP: We suggest that for easy assembly, you mark the plates as you cut them. Use a pencil to write the names directly on the plates.
This small birdhouse can also be built from 3-ft of lumber. So the standard length 4′ fence picket will work perfectly.
Step 1 – Attach the two Roof panels to each other using their longer sides.
Step 2 – Use the Narrow Side of the bottom plates to secure the Front and Back Diamond plates.
Step 3 – Attach the Wide Side by nailing it to the Front & Back Diamond plates and to the Narrow Side. Make sure you do it on the side opposite to the 45 degree cutout).
Step 4 – Secure the roof assembly from step 1 over the diamond box.
Triangular Birdhouse on a Long Post
If you have no tree to attach your birdhouse to, this long post birdhouse is perfect for you. You may have seen this design in fields or meadows installed on a tall post. Hammer a wooden post into the ground and screw the birdhouse to it, using the extended back plate.
The long post should extend around 9″ from the bottom point of attachment.
Ensure that the angles you cut in each of your triangular panels are similar for best results (measure both first, then cut both one right after the other).
Note: you could fit this plan into a 4-ft long board if you carefully make the diagonal cut and then use both halfs as your Side panels.
Otherwise, you would need to buy a 6-footer board.
Step 1 – Attach the two Side panels to the Front plate.
Step 2 – Attach the Long plate, leaving around 9″ at the bottom.
Step 3 – Finish with your Top plate secured to the long side of the Side panels.
Classic Birdhouse Plan
The classic birdhouse is simple to put together and to attach to a tree or post. Use this design first for beginner woodworkers.
Your bottom panel should have a bit more length away from the front panel than your roof panel. The roof is slanted down towards the front, at 15-degree angle.
For your side panels, ensure an angle as close to 15 degree as possible. You may want to nail them together to cut both at the same time in a steady fashion.
You’re required a 6′ long picket plank for this plan.
Step 1 – Assemble the two Side plates with the Bottom, attaching the narrow sides to the top of the Bottom panel.
Step 2 – Attach the Back side to your Step 1 assembly.
Step 3 – Attach the Front side to the shorter sides of the Side plates.
Step 4 – Finish with your Top plate, and consider that it will not be a perfect fit (this is natural and OK).
Two Birdhouses in One
This is a great design for a big yard with lots of bird families, and it can be placed in the same locations as the traditional birdhouse. It is as easy to assemble as the traditional birdhouse with just a few extra steps.
You can play with the size of the entrance holes to see if you attract different kinds of birds!
Remember that your cut angles for the entrance holes do not have to necessarily match in this design!
To build this plan, you need to buy two 4-foot pickets or one 8-footer.
1. Assemble the two longest plates.
2. Attach the bottom to the step 1 assembly.
3. Attach your lower front panel to the bottom, using the wide side to assemble.
4. Attach the middle shelf to the step 3 assembly.
5. Attach your top front panel, keeping it symmetrical with the bottom front panel.
6. Attach the top to the step 5 assembly.
7. Attach the longest panel.
For extra stability, use this alternative assembly method. First, find a good wood glue and attach your birdhouse pieces together, using the diagrams to order your steps. Once the glue has dried, drill pilot holes for the nails. Hammer the nails in to reinforce the glue joints. Your design will have an extra durability that will last many seasons.
With this assembly method, you can add an eye hook to almost any design’s roof or top panel and hang the birdhouse.