How To: Decorative Bird House

I made this bird house for the annual country fair last year, for the kids’ recycled projects category (I was just under 13 when I made this). I was surprised and happy when it won first place.

It looks hard but is very easy to do. My mother found the project in an old Country Gardens magazine and thought I could make something similar. Here are a variety of pictures so you can see the bird house from different angles,

Items necessary:

Bird house made from scrap lumber

Mortar (not a lot)

Old china plates, broken/cracked or orphaned

Piece of scrap metal, for the roof


1) Make the bottom part of a bird house (everything but the roof) out of scrap lumber.  It can be any color or with different kinds of lumber because the whole bird house will be covered up with mortar and homemade “tiles”.

2) Gather a collection of broken, cracked, or orphan dishes. My mother found some for me at our Goodwill shop for $1 each.  If they aren’t already in the sizes you need, break them up with a hammer.  I did it outside on our driveway, but you could even do it inside with the plate well wrapped in a plastic bag. 

3) Starting with one side of the birdhouse, apply mortar to the side, and stick on the pieces of china in a design you like.  You don’t need a lot of mortar to cover the bird house, so if you have some leftover from another project that would be fine.  Cover each side of the bird house the same way.

4) The cup and saucer I found weren’t broken but they weren’t being used any more, so I decided to make a decorative perch at the entrance by cutting them with a tile saw. If you are younger like me, you can have an adult help with this if necessary. Attach with more mortar.

5) Find a piece of scrap metal in the garage or shop, and again, if necessary, have an adult help you cut it to size.  This piece was dark brown on one side, which I thought would be too hot for the birds, so I just bent it so that the outside would be the lighter colored side. 

6) Attach the roof with screws so that you can remove it to clean out the old nests, and also to check on the baby birds in the summer every once in a while.

7) Find a place to put your new bird house! My mother likes this one as a garden decoration so unlike all of the other bird houses in our garden, this one doesn’t have any residents, at least not yet.

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