Building a birdhouse from a tree trunk – Important hints, tips & instructions for rebuilding

To build a birdhouse yourself, there are many different designs and possibilities. Here we explain the construction of a birdhouse from a tree trunk a little closer to you.

Building a birdhouse from a tree trunk
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Birdhouses in your own garden are not only very decorative, but also provide something to observe when the first birds settle here. With birdhouses in your own garden, it is easy to feed the animals in winter, get to see them up close and always discover small residents in the garden.

But the market for birdhouses does not necessarily offer something for every taste or budget. It is often much nicer to make your own bird house and thereby express your creativity, but possibly also save money. What you need to build a birdhouse from a tree trunk and how to proceed is explained in this detailed manual.

Why build birdhouses from a tree trunk?

If you want to decorate your garden or front garden with a birdhouse, there is an incredibly large selection of offers from the DIY store or Internet for already finished birdhouses, which you only need to set up. These are usually very thin and anything but robust, but also visually not for everyone the real thing – which is why it is worthwhile to approach a DIY project. For example, you can make the birdhouse from a short piece of tree trunk, which of course is not too thin, but also not too large in diameter.

Making the birdhouse yourself from a tree trunk offers many advantages that you would certainly not be able to enjoy with a finished model.

On the one hand, the do-it-yourself project provides a certain wealth of experience in terms of craftsmanship, from which laymen and beginners with an interest in the subject benefit. On the other hand, the project can be used to implement one’s own ideas and designs, thereby promoting one’s own creativity. A further advantage is the rustic charm of a birdhouse from the tree trunk, which fits optically very simply into each garden – with prefabricated models this is difficult to find.

Since the birdhouse can be made from one piece, experience has shown that it is not only robust, but also free of unnecessary nails and screws that could even protrude and cause injury. Glue or other wood adhesives do not have to be used either. In addition, pieces of tree trunks that originate from one’s own garden and are not needed can be sensibly recycled, which benefits the environment and, of course, the household budget.

It may well be the case that a higher acceptance of the birdhouse from a tree trunk can be observed on the part of the birds. Usual birdhouses are usually eyed for a while until they are actually entered – in a tree trunk birdhouse, the natural appearance and smell ensures that animals perceive it more as a natural object.

advantages drawbacks
✔ rustic, charming look ✖ several tools may be required
✔ very robust, even without connecting elements ✖ Work can be very extensive, with medium difficulty level
✔ good opportunity to gain experience as a handyman and do-it-yourselfer ✖ the birdhouse usually proves to be much heavier in weight than conventional birdhouses
✔ Tree trunk elements are recycled
✔ own ideas can be implemented
✔ is often better accepted by animals
✔ you can save money

Required material

Depending on how the birdhouse is to look and be built, different tools are needed for the DIY project. There are many different ways to create beautiful birdhouses from a medium-thick tree trunk, which are inviting and visually appealing – but which require very different tools. In general, however, it can be advantageous to have these tools at hand or to have them ready:

  • Chain Saw/Motor Saw
  • compass saw
  • Hammer and chisel
  • plane
  • Coarse and fine sandpaper

In addition, it can be useful to wear protective gloves and protective clothing – especially if you have to work with a chainsaw or jigsaw. Even safety glasses are very important in this case.

Step by step instructions

If you want to build a birdhouse from a tree trunk yourself, you have to follow a few steps – these vary, of course, and depend on the desired design of the birdhouse. Once you have put on or provided all the tools and protective clothing and thought about a certain design, you can go about the actual construction:

Step 1: Choosing the tree trunk

If you have several tree trunk pieces to choose from, you should choose the one that does not appear too wide, but also not too thin, and is easy to handle. Since tree trunks can be very heavy, the piece should not be too long, otherwise it will be too heavy and there will be too much cutting residue left. In the best case the piece of tree could dry for some years – so the inside of the trunk is already dried and can be processed better. If the interior wood is still damp, you run the risk that the entire construction will warp and become unstable afterwards.

Step 2: Remove bark

Once the choice has been made, the bark should now be removed from the tree trunk. This could otherwise cause insects and vermin to accumulate there and permanently damage the bird house, making the wood rotten and unstable. Although bark provides a rustic and more natural look, which is certainly preferred by some bird species, it can cause problems over time.

Step 3: Transfer design to wood

Now at the latest you should have decided which design you prefer for your birdhouse. Because now you have to transfer this to the wood with a permanent marker. This makes it easier to imagine the whole thing and you can orient yourself better when cutting.

“Tip: Parts to be removed should be specially marked – e.g. with dots or dashes.

Step 4: Sawing

Now it’s on to the candy. With the chainsaw you can now remove the superfluous parts. Of course, maximum concentration and caution are required. The chainsaw is only necessary for the rough cuts and can then be cleared away again. It should be noted that the birdhouse may need a slightly wider base on which it can stand directly on the floor or be placed on other objects. This also ensures the stability of the cottage.

Step 5: Reworking

With a hammer and chisel you can now align the shape of the house inwards, i.e. chisel in openings or use a jigsaw to cut off certain smaller pieces. Now the final shape is lifted out and details can be worked in with a hammer and chisel. It should be remembered that the animals need a suitable entrance and some protection from sight and weather. Also a feeding place can be built in.

Step 6: Final sanding

Now first use coarse, then fine sandpaper to smooth all surfaces and ensure that there are no splinters or sharp edges left. At these one could not only injure oneself, also animals could get wounds here. If this is done, one can think about painting or glazing the wood.

Birdhouses from a tree trunk can be made in a variety of shapes and construction methods, which either correspond to your own imagination or were inspired by designs from other manufacturers. For example, there are simple nesting houses with small entrance openings, made from a rather thin tree trunk, or houses with several compartments. In order to get suitable ideas or search for inspiration, the Internet with photos of other users is very well suited, but also browsing the DIY store for finished birdhouses. Once you have found inspiration, you can modify the model you like with your own ideas and thus make it unique.

Here are some inspirations:

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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