Build a Cedar Birdhouse for $2

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 06/04/2019 - 11:06
Starter Projects
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You can build this cedar birdhouse for $2!  The secret?  Use a cedar fence picket.  We've got the step by step plans with diagrams and lots of reader submitted photos.  

Makes a good kids kit project too, perfect for a gift or fun group project.  Also check out our easy to build $1 Modern Cedar Birdhouse Plans.

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Build a Cedar Birdhouse for $2

Reader submitted photo by  MMTRUNCALE

Birdhouses are a fun and easy project and a great way to include kids in the building fun!  

Cedar Fence Picket Birdhouse

We made birdhouse building even better by using cedar fence pickets - costing less than $2 each (even up here in Alaska) and naturally weather resistant, cedar fence pickets are the perfect building material for little birdhouses.

This birdhouse is so easy, your little ones can make it.  I suggest kiddos putting it together with glue (try a glue that works on oily wood like Gorilla Glue or a super glue for fast dry times) and then Mom or Dad adding some nails or screws after the glue dries to make sure the birdhouse is plenty sturdy.

Also Check Out Our Modern Birdhouse

We also have an even easier to build version - the $1 modern birdhouse 

modern birdhouse woodworking plan built

You can find the plans for the Modern Birdhouse here.

dimensions for birdhouse plans
Dimensions shown above.


Shopping List

1 - 5 1/2" x 1/2" thick cedar fence picket (I used the dogeared 72" long ones)

1 1/4" finish nails

Glue suitable for cedar

Cut List

Cut from the Cedar Fence Picket:

2 - 7 1/4" (front and back - longest point, cut the top corners off at a 45 degree angle to make a house shape)

2 - 4 1/4" (side walls - these are just a tiny bit short to allow venting inside birdhouse)

3 - 8 1/2" (floor and roof pieces. Also rip 1/2" off one edge (cutting with the grain the long way) of one board for the shorter roof piece - see step 4)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Attach the floor to the back wall, with back edges flush.

Step 2

Attach side walls to back wall and floor.

Step 3

Attach front wall to sides and floor. Note that I drilled the whole afterwards with a 2" bit.

Step 4

One of the roof pieces needs to be 1/2" (or thickness of the fence pickets) less in width than the other since the overlap. Rip 1/2" off one long side (cutting with the grain) on one of the roof pieces. Attach to front and back top edges.

Step 5

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Lady Goats

Mon, 04/01/2013 - 15:45

The big kid has been asking for a bird house for over a week. Amazing! An option that I'd like to throw out there is to predrill small holes for finish nails in the outside boards (the ones that you would drill through) like the Lowe's Build and Grow kits. Then the kids just have to hammer the finish nails through the predrilled holes and into the inside pieces. I'm sure there will be a ton of brag posts really quickly on this one! Thanks, Ana!


Tue, 04/02/2013 - 12:39

If you're hoping to attract Mountain Bluebirds (gorgeous, native birds who range up into Alaska) while excluding European Starlings (non-native invasive species), it's important that the hole size be no larger than 1 9/16-inch. Many Mountain Bluebirds are too large for a 1 1/2-inch hole, but if you live farther south or east, both Eastern and Western Bluebirds will use a 1 1/2-inch door without any trouble, and if you go up to 1 5/8-inch openings, you'll probably attract Starlings, instead.

Birds also have preferences as to the height of their nesting boxes. For Bluebirds, you want to mount it 5-10 feet off the ground.

Of course, if you have other birds in mind, you should do some Googling. Nuthatches can handle tiny, 1-inch holes, while Barn Owls need massive, 6-inch openings.


Mon, 04/29/2013 - 13:15

Is there a way to make it easier to clean? Don't birds stop using it if it gets too full of old nesting materials inside?


Sat, 08/03/2013 - 14:31

I cut out enough pieces for an upcoming camping trip. The kids will nail them together and paint them. Thanks for the plans. I'll be saving this site for sure!!


Sat, 04/04/2020 - 19:53

What is the best way you guys have found to attach this house to a tree? I saw in a brag post someone added a board to the back, I assume they drilled through that then. Any other obvious ways I'm missing? Thanks!

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