DIY Craft Tutorial: Recycle a Birdhouse into a Planter or Flower Vase
You can make or repurpose a simple birdhouse into a beautiful planter or flower vase to display in your home or garden. With a few charming details, these birdhouses can add a special decorative touch to your yard or home decor.
Sources of Birdhouses to Make into Planters or Vases
There are a few ways to find birdhouses to make into a planter or flower vase:
- You can purchase a pre-made birdhouse that has a top or roof that can be sawed off or removed
- You can make your own birdhouse and just leave off the top
- You can craft your own decorative birdhouse using household materials
Since I don't have the tools to saw off the top of a birdhouse or construct my own, I crafted a birdhouse using a few recycled items and hot glue.
Materials for Crafting Your Own Birdhouse Planter or Vase
You can create a decorative birdhouse by using and recycling some items you have around your house. However, this crafted birdhouse is not constructed to be used outside and should just be displayed in your home. To make your own craft birdhouse, you will need:
- A clean empty container like a plastic ammonia jug, a cardboard 1/2 gallon milk container, or a round oatmeal box. Your container should have smooth, flat sides
- A bunch of large craft sticks, unused paint stir sticks, or wood lathe to create the sides of your birdhouse. I used about 15 paint stirrers to cover the sides of my container
- A small length of 3/16 inch dowel to use as a perch
- Hot glue gun and sticks
- Acrylic paint
- Decorative additions like artificial flowers, tiles, birds, or butterflies
Directions for Crafting a Decorative Birdhouse Planter or Flower Vase
1. Make sure your container is clean and dry. Cut off the closure or upper part of your container using scissors or a utility knife so that the top is open.
2. Cut your craft sticks or wood pieces to the correct length to cover the sides of your container.
3. Now put your container to the side. Paint your wood pieces the color of your choice using acrylic or latex paint.
I wanted my birdhouse to have an aged natural look of weather beaten wood. I used gray acrylic paint watered down so it was quite thin. I painted my color on my wood pieces and immediately wiped off the excess paint with a paper towel. This technique allowed for some of the wood grain to show through my paint color. I painted all my pieces once, then went back and added another coat of paint without waiting for the first coat to dry. Again, I painted on my gray color and wiped off any excess paint.
4. Let the paint dry completely on your wood pieces. Then attach them to the sides of your container using hot glue. Be sure put your wood on straight along your container and to line up the ends so your top and bottom are even.
You may need to trim the width of some of your wood pieces so that they fit around your container. Try to place your trimmed pieces on the back side of your container where they will not show.
5. If you are making your own birdhouse, I think it is easier to paint on the birdhouse hole rather than cut it out of your wood pieces. Decide which side should be the front off your birdhouse. Then trace a round object (I used a small cup) to make the round hole.
Adding Decoration to Your Birdhouse Planter or Flower Vase
Whether you use a purchased birdhouse or you make your own, the best part of this project is adding the decorative details. You can add any number of decorations to your birdhouse:
- Glue on some artificial flowers, birds, or butterflies
- Add a mosaic design using small tiles, ceramic pieces, and glass
- Paint on architectural details like doors, windows, and shutters
- Use found objects like rusty wire and old hinges to create a rustic design
I used some small stencils to add a little cottage charm to my birdhouse. Using foam brushes, I painted a lattice design on the base of my birdhouse.
I used another stencil to paint small flowers around my birdhouse hole. I added the yellow centers to my flowers by dipping a pencil eraser in yellow paint and pressing it into the middle of each flower. I also created a roof design using a simple square stencil.
As I decorated my birdhouse, I painted my birdhouse hole a dark gray and glued on a piece of 3/16 inch dowel as a perch for my birdhouse.
Adding a Bird to Your Birdhouse Planter or Flower Vase
The last step in decorating your birdhouse is to add a little bird if you want. You can find a variety of artificial birds in craft and floral stores. I made my bird from clay and simply hot glued him in place on his perch. You can find a tutorial for making my decorative clay bird here.
Turning Your Birdhouse into a Planter or Flower Vase
Once your birdhouse is painted and decorated as you want, you can start to turn it into a planter or flower vase.
If you have purchased or made a birdhouse to use outdoors:
1. You may want to seal your paint before putting your birdhouse planter outdoors.
2. Cut a piece of thin plywood to fit over the open hole in your birdhouse (if you have a hole). Paint the wood a dark color like black, brown, or dark gray. Position your piece of wood over your hole on the inside of your birdhouse. Using screws or hot glue, cover your birdhouse hole with your piece of wood so that your soil does not leak out and the roots of your plants do not show.
3. Now drill a few holes in the bottom of your birdhouse to allow for drainage.
4. Add soil and your choice of plants and flowers.
5. Put your birdhouse planter in a place where you can see it and enjoy it.
If you are using your birdhouse inside as a planter or flower vase:
1. If your birdhouse has a real hole, cut a piece or cardboard or thin plywood the size to cover the hole. Paint your piece of cardboard or plywood a dark color like black, brown, or dark gray. On the inside, position your cardboard or plywood over your hole and glue it in place. This covering piece will hide the plastic container inside your birdhouse.
2. Now find a plastic container or a vase that will fit inside your birdhouse. This plastic container will either hold your cut flowers or catch any extra moisture from a potted plant that you put in your birdhouse planter. Plastic food storage containers are good for both purposes. You will need a taller container to use as a flower vase. A shorter container can be used for small houseplants.
3. You may want to fill your birdhouse about halfway with dried beans or uncooked rice to lift your container up so that your plant or flowers are visible over the top of your birdhouse. This will also add weight to the base of your planter or flower vase. If you are using your birdhouse for a small plant, you can just stuff your birdhouse with bubble wrap or newspaper.
4. To use your birdhouse as a flower vase, fill your inner plastic container will water and arrange your cut flowers for their best appearance.
5. To use your birdhouse to display a potted plant, put your plant pot in the plastic container you've positioned to catch any water leakage or excess moisture.
6. Place your birdhouse flower vase or planter in the best place for your flowers or plants to thrive and where you can enjoy it!
Copyright © 2016 by Donna Herron. All rights reserved.
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© 2016 Donna Herron