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How To Decorate a Birdhouse

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I have a Fun Friday post for you today.  Since moving to the lake, I have gotten very interested in something I never thought too much about before. It is something my mom loved to do and something my sister is passionate about. Even a few of our friends who have come to visit us over the last year, enjoy it.  In their luggage, each brought their own binoculars and guidebooks in hand as they were excited to…. bird watch. I especially like this hobby since it has given me a fun project… birdhouse decorating :)

How to decorate a bird house

Living on the shores of a big lake with lots of trees gives us a front row seat to watch nature all around us. From fish, ducks, and turtles along with big herons to tiny hummingbirds. They all have become part of our daily life, some of them feel like family.

Decorating a bird house

For my birthday last June, Ed bought me a pair of good binoculars so I could see the birds around the house and lake up close. I use them daily. Recently, while eating our Christmas breakfast we got to watch a heron catch a fish and then feast on it for his Christmas meal. Every one at the table wanted to see and the binoculars were passed back and forth so we could all watch. It was fascinating. It is like the National Geographic channel right outside our window. :-)

Bird feeder and birdhouses

After we closed on the house last year, I remember walking around the property. I noticed there were birdhouses all around the yard on trees. The previous owner also left a very nice bird feeder. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but a week later, one of my neighbors came over and told me he saw that our bird feeder was empty and he would fill it.

I was like…oh?…… OK… thanks.

I just thought he was looking for an excuse to try to get to know us, but I was wrong, he knew the birds in the area have come to rely on the food in the neighborhood feeders and wanted to keep them coming. :-)

I now enjoy filling the bird feeders on a weekly basis and have learned quite a bit about the birds in the area. Even though it is winter, we still see Cardinals, Bluebirds, Pileated Woodpeckers and many others.

In the spring we saw the resident herons had a little one, where there was once two, there were now three hanging out and one was half the size of the other two. Same with the ducks. Two became 10 and those 8 little new ones were the cutest. When things were quiet outside, you would see the baby ducks and their momma come all the way up to the bird feeder to eat the discards on the ground the birds didn’t like. As soon as I would open the door to get a closer look…. off they scurried, in a line… double-time back to the water. :-)

Painted bird house

The same neighbor who filled our bird feeder when we first moved to the house is also a woodworker and one of the things he enjoys making from scratch is birdhouses. He made one for Ed with his alma mater, the Naval Academy logo on it.  Bluebirds have taken up residence in it.  Very fitting don’t you think?

Over the summer I bought a hummingbird feeder. The hummingbirds have left for the winter, but I am sure they will be back come spring. They are so amusing to watch.

With all the birds, it also means we see the circle of life right in front of our eyes, too. Hawks chase the smaller birds and in their pursuit to find safety they fly right into the sliding glass doors on the lake side of the house and sadly die instantly. :-(  It has happened more than once. Birds falling out of nests and birds making nests in the baskets where I keep my hats and gloves. Finches making nests in hours after I put a wreath on the front door with turquoise eggs all nested inside. I left the wreath up until I was sure all the eggs were hatched. :-)

I am a frequent customer now at the local bird store and have learned that just like us, birds like their homes to be clean, safe and comfy cozy.  They don’t like old and dirty.  I also learned that birds won’t go into birdhouses on trees where squirrels can easily get to them so I was told to take all the old birdhouses down since to birds they looked like a rundown houses and won’t take up residence in them.

How to paint and decorate a wood birdhouse with fabric and paint

When my Waverly Inspirations package came for the January creative challenge, I had no idea what I would do with the navy, green and red fabric and paint. I was pretty stumped since they are not colors I use to decorate with. It wasn’t until I was at my desk one cold afternoon and saw a bird making a nest in a bare tree, that I decided I would make a birdhouse that I could see out the door of my studioffice door so I could give a family of birds new safe and warm place to call home.

If you are new to my blog, I am a Waverly Inspirations ambassador. I, along with a handful of other bloggers receive a box of fabrics, paints, ribbons, or stencils and are challenged to create something decorative using as many of the items in the box as we can.  We can also spend up to $50 to help us make something.  I bought a birdhouse, buttons, and Exterior Mod Podge along with a few other basic crafting supplies.

How to make and decorate a birdhouse

This is how I used them…to make a whimsical birdhouse.

How to Paint and Decorate a Wood Birdhouse

supplies needed:

Everything I needed I found at Walmart.

  1. Sand the surface of the birdhouse with sandpaper to smooth and rough edges. Wipe away sanding grit.
  2. I decided to mix the paints I received to come up with a custom color, a soft chartreuse.  I mixed the paint colors, Curry and Evergreen in a small dish.  3 parts Curry to 1 part Evergreen. I used a craft stick to stir the paints to make the light green color.

3. Apply one light coat over the birdhouse. Let dry. Apply a second light coat, let dry.

Attach Buttons to Birdhouse Roof

Birdhouse painting ideas

  1. Use a piece of printer paper to make a template of one side of the birdhouse roof. Line the edges of the paper up with the front and top edge of the roof. Make a crease with your hand. This will allow give you the exact shape and size of the roof.
  2. Layout the buttons on the paper template to make sure you like the arrangement and the buttons you want to use fit well together.
  3. Starting at the top front edge, begin attaching buttons using all-purpose adhesive.
  4. Continue to attach the buttons until both sides of the roof is covered.

Cutting The Leaf Design from the Fabric

  1. I only wanted to use shades of green to decorate the birdhouse, so using very sharp scissors, I cut out the green leaves in the mostly navy blue and red fabric.

Painting a birdhouse idea

2. I attached the leaves to the front and sides of the birdhouse using Exterior Mod Podge. I applied the Mod Podge on the under side of each leaf and overlapped the leaves until the wood was covered. I used smaller leaves and cut the larger leaf design into smaller sections to cover the sides and back of the birdhouse. I did not put the fabric near the hole in the birdhouse, I covered that area with buttons.

3. Once the back and sides were covered in the cutout fabric leaves, I applied 2 – 3 coats of Mod Podge over the leaves, letting each coat dry before applying the next. Mod Podge not only works as a glue, but is a sealer that will protect the paint and fabric from the elements.

TIP: Exterior Mod Podge is thick and will be shiny when dry. Make sure when applying it to brush in one direction only so when dry, you won’t see any texture in the sealed finish.

When I was attaching the fabric leaves, I tried to create symmetry with them on the front, back and sides of the birdhouse. Once the Mod Podge was dry, I glued a few layers of the buttons to the front and around the hole.

Here is what the back looks like.  Once the Mod Podge and glue is dried, hang the birdhouse outside and wait for a new feathered family to move into the pretty new home soon. :-)

Decorate and paint a designer birdhouse. Craft idea for decorating a birdhouse with paint, fabric, and buttons.

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    1. Hi Nancy – The birdfeeder is from Birds Unlimited. It is a national chain. We found out from the previous owner where she got it. I went to the store to buy bird food and the owner told me that once you buy one of their feeders, if anything breaks or becomes unusable I can just bring it in and get a free replacement. The column feeders on my feeder are an older model with screws at the bottom. To clean the feeders, you need a screwdriver. Now they make them so you simply press and the bottoms clicks open to clean the bottom that does get gunked up with old food. One is cracked so I think I am going to take it and get a replacement soon.

  1. Guess what ?? I have become an avid bird watcher too! Not only here in NJ but at our Lakehouse as well!! I love watching the hummingbirds. They are so fascinating.
    We put a double feeder up this fall in NJ. We have so many different birds who come to feed. I love the Cardinals with their bright red plumes. My grandson who is 4 was so taken by the feeder, asked his parents to buy one for him in Florida!! So much fun!
    Btw love the “N” birdhouse!

    1. Hi Nancy – Your grandson sounds so cute. I hope his parents bought one for him. :-) My neighbor John loves the fact that Ed went to the Naval Academy and along with the bird feeder has made us a Christmas ornament birdhouse and painted an old fashioned saw to display in the garage, both have the N* logo.

  2. Looks great and would be a project I would enjoy. Do the craft store birdhouses open so you can clean them out as needed? By the way, I enjoy your posts and your blog.

    1. Thanks Linda – No, the birdhouse does not open, so if a bird family lives in it and leaves, other birds will probably not use it. That is what the owner of the bird store told me. One of these days I would like to get a bigger house that you can keep for a long time that is easy to clean and maintain. Do you know of a good one? I have been thinking of getting one with the clear back that you place on a glass window so you can see the birds at eye level without them seeing you. Not sure it they sell them in birding stores or only…as seen on TV retailers. :-)

      1. Some clever person will probably tell you how to convert a craft-store birdhouse so it opens for easy cleaning. I doubt the birds would feel secure and protected in a house with clear plexiglass (unless it has a cover). I have a couple of houses that have one side with a panel that can be riaised to view the nest; the other side can be opened to clean the house.

  3. I completely agree with the previous wtiter’s post. (Patricia). I love your blog so much Diane!!

    Thank you!

  4. Diane, I’ve been following your blog since before you moved to your dreamy lake house. I’ve been following all of your projects in yours and Ed’s new lakeside home as well and love all that you’ve accomplished. Now I’m following your kitchen re-do and, as usual, admiring your design style and especially your DIY-ability. I can’t wait to see your completed new kitchen. I also enjoyed seeing your birdhouse project. I have several thrift store birdhouses, more complicated in that each is a replica of a shop of some sort…clever, but not my style. Your birdhouse design made me realize that I can re-make these birdhouses in any style I desire…in my case, approximating French cottages in Provence. Diane, I always look forward to each and every one of your posts because they always inspire me. Just so you know, I don’t comment on each and every one of them, though I could.

    You are, indeed, an inspiration, Diane.

    1. Hi Patricia – Thanks for the nice note. I always smile when I see your name pop up in the comments. It makes me so happy to hear that even though what I posted was not quite your style, you still came away with inspiration to give your birdhouses a new look in your own style. That is the best and why I named my blog, In My Own Style. If we all decorated and/or created in the same way….what a boring world it would be. XO Enjoy the weekend.