One of my favorite wood crafts (and you can even do this with school aged children if you cut the wood pieces out ahead of time), is to make bird houses.
This is a great country craft that you can do with kids, teaching them about measuring, wildlife, co-operation and more in the process.
On the other hand, making bird houses can also be a lucrative side business for the country crafter – everyone needs a birdhouse or two in their yard!
Here’s how to make this country craft:
If you’re crafting with children the first few steps will be a conversation – you’ll want to have all the decisions made and materials cut before you gather the kids around to craft!
Determine the wild bird that frequents your area that you’d like to build a wood house for.
You’ll want to be careful in your selection because some birds build nests in trees or bushes and would never use a bird house!
Others may make their nests on the ground or even burrow down in the ground – they also would never use a wooden birdhouse you might make for them. (You can find tips on bird house sizes and shapes per bird at backyard birds. As an example, find sizing requirements for purple martin bird houses.)
Only birds that nest in a cavity type setting will use a birdhouse or nesting box – these include everyone’s favorite, the chickadee. The same is true for bluebirds.
Importance of Pre-Measuring for Wood Crafts
Once you have the dimensions, as well as the size of the entrance hole, of the birdhouse you’re crafting you can then determine how much wood is required for your craft project.
The wood to use for this bird house country craft is untreated lumber. Cedar is best but pine or any other soft wood will suffice.
Bird House Wood Crafts Specifics
Bird houses designed for a specific bird will come with mounting considerations. Not just the mount but the height and sometimes directional facing.
The opening should face away from prevailing winds, and whenever possible, in partial sunlight.
Use a metal pole for a mount as nestlings are highly susceptible to predators.
Extra holes should be added for drainage and ventilation. These should be small and unreachable by raccoons or cats.
Space next boxes at least 25 feet apart (300 feet for bluebird houses) to reduce territorial fighting matches.
Not all birds are territorial during nesting periods but many are. If you have more than one birdhouse and you want them to be inhabited, give each ‘family’ room to grow.
You can find good deals year round on birdhouse kits at Bird house Kits for Wild Birds.
Country Wood Crafting with Kids
Kids can help measure (or check your measurements after you’ve cut) as well as drill the pieces together with minimal supervision (use your judgment here and plan on one adult per child for this step.)
Never use paint or wood stain inside the birdhouse. You can paint the exterior, but only with non-toxic latex exterior paint and only after the whole house is built. Decorating the house is a perfect activity for children because latex is an easy clean up. (Hint: Only use light colors on the outside of your bird house as dark colors attract and retain heat from the sun.)
Alternative Craft to the Wooden Birdhouse
Don’t have time to grow and dry birdhouse gourds for craft time? Check out these easy-to-clean plastic alternatives. They last for years and won’t leak into the nest and baby birds inside. You can paint them just like any other gourd and make great gifts for bird lovers everywhere. – Assimilated Dried Gourds
If building a wood bird house sounds like too much crafting work, you might like to check out this page for full instructions on preparing and decorating dried gourds for bird houses.