With some basic woodworking skills you too, can craft your own replica architectural bird house. The time and detail put into handcrafting the replica bird house will make it a truly unique and personal work of art. By following the same steps we follow at New England Birdhouse, you’ll be able to create a one of a kind architectural replica birdhouse of your own.
Always Start With a Plan
We use CAD software to develop scale plans for our custom birdhouses. If that’s a bit too technical of an approach for you, we suggest making a simple measured drawing. Sketch out the details of your house including roof lines and angles, window and door positions and decorative moldings. Transform this sketch into a full-size drawing of the birdhouse. This plan will become a template for your bird house and will provide the scale and positioning of the architectural details of your replica bird house.
A cardboard mock-up of the replica bird house can be very helpful at this point, especially when working with roof lines. Shipping boxes and masking tape can be used to create three dimensional models to help visualize the completed bird house.
When determining the size of your bird house it’s important to consider not only the structure you are replicating, but also how the completed bird house will be mounted and displayed and how many nesting chambers your birdhouse will feature. Typically, our custom replica birdhouses are about 2′ wide x 3′ deep x 16″-18″ tall, and feature two nesting boxes.
Consider the Safety of Occupants
As you are planning and building your replica birdhouse, always consider the safety and well being of the birds that will occupy the house. The nesting chambers should be left unfinished and free of any paint, glue or chemicals. Any sharp points from exposed screws or nails should be filed smooth. The nesting chambers must have access for cleaning, a drainage and ventilation area and an appropriately sized entry hole. To attract most common cavity nesters use a hole no larger than 1 3/4″. To protect young nestlings, make sure that the entry hole is at least 4″-5″ from the floor of the birdhouse, so they cannot fall out. Do not include any perches, as they will function as a place for predators to harass the nestlings.
Constructing the Birdhouse
Our custom replica birdhouses are made from milled 3/8″ eastern white pine, fastened and joined with exterior grade screws and glue. Pre-milled lumber can be found at lumber yards and big box hardware stores. Finished 3/4″ pine in 6′ or 8′ widths can be glued and joined to create walls and roofs. Always use long grain but joints and never try to glue end grain, because it is not a structural joint. An interior frame can be built to attach the walls and roof to. Make sure that the bottom of the birdhouse is reinforced to accept mounting hardware.
Details, Details, Details
Our architectural details are carved, burned and painted into our custom replica birdhouses using a variety of tools and artistic techniques. Artchitectural details commonly include shingle, siding, window, shutter, brick, door, molding and fascia board detail. Experiment with different techniques and materials to achieve a look that you feel comfortable with. Most architectural details can be created using a handheld rotary tool (like a dremel) outfitted with a circular carbide disc or sanding wheel, and an artist’s paintbrush.
Painting and Finishing Your Custom Bird House
Thoroughly sand the exterior of your replica bird house and remove any sawdust. Seal the exterior of the bird house with a water based paint sealer (like Kilz) and blend exterior grade latex paint to match the colors you desire. The blended exterior colors can be airbrushed or hand brushed onto the bird house. Finally two coats of non-yellowing marine urethane finish are sprayed onto the birdhouse.
Completing your Bird House
Following these steps will yield a replica birdhouse that with proper placement and maintenance will provide years of enjoyment. We recommend that the houses be located in a shady, sheltered area to minimize weathering and that the birdhouses be moved inside during the winter months. With time, the replica birdhouse will need to be refinished.