How to make a fun birdhouse from recycled materials

Birds, like flowers, add life to your landscape. They also have practical benefits, like eating the bugs that eat your plants.

One way to attract more birds to your yard is to install birdhouses and feeders. Handmade birdhouses are great recycled crafts that make kids, adults and birds very happy. These recycling ideas can keep young children and preteens entertained for hours.

Recycling anything for birdhouses helps declutter home storage spaces, get rid of junk from your garage or garden shed and create nice homes for birds which decorate backyard designs in an attractive eco style.

Making bird houses, bird feeders and garden decorations personalize your outdoor living spaces. Recycling plastic and metal items, or using salvaged wood save the planet and allow the birds to bring more joy into our busy life. You can even use old teapots, gourds, shoes or rainboots! You’re only limited by your imagination.

A great family project for bird lovers of all ages is turning an ordinary 2-liter plastic bottle into a functional bird house or feeder. As a family project, it teaches the value of both recycling and wildlife conservation.

Note: While this project is easy enough for younger children to do, proper adult supervision is always a good idea.


Tools and Supplies You Will Need

The most common bottles for this project are ordinary 2-litre beverage bottles, but just about any plastic bottle will work, including water bottles, sports drink bottles, or even plastic ketchup or jelly containers. For perches, you can use woodworking dowels, unsharpened pencils, chopsticks, twigs, or any other similar stick.

• Plastic bottle

• Perch sticks, 8-10” long and about ¼” thick

• Metal screw hook or ties

• Polyurethane glue (such as Gorilla glue)

• Awl or another puncturing tool

• Utility knife

• Paint and/or other objects for decorating



1. Clean the bottle — Clean and dry the bottle thoroughly, removing any labels. Use a weak bleach solution to be sure the bottle is sanitized, then rinse thoroughly. Allow the bottle to air dry for several hours or overnight to ensure that no moisture remains inside. If you’re creating a birdhouse, cut a few holes in the bottom for ventilation to help the nest stay dry.

2. Attach the hanger hook — Screw the hook into the center of the bottle’s cap, making sure it is firm and tight. If necessary, you can use an awl or nail to start the hole, which will make it easier to screw in the hook. Or tie string tightly around the base of the cap and loop it. If using a hook, seal both sides (inside and out) with a drop of polyurethane glue to provide extra strength and to keep moisture out of the feeder. Avoid getting glue on the cap’s threads, however, because if you’re making a feeder you’ll need to open the bottle whenever you refill it with seeds.

3. Add perches — For a bird house, cut holes large enough to fit the perch completely through the bottle, starting about 3-4” from the bottom of the bottle. The perch dowel should fit snugly into the holes and extend completely across the bottle and out the matching hole on the opposite side.

If you’re creating a feeder, start your first perch 1¼” from the bottom add additional perches higher on the bottle. Each additional perch should be 2 to 3 inches higher than the last and rotated around the bottle from where the last perch was located. This creates the most space for birds to perch. The top perch should be 3 to 4 inches below the cap.When inserting the perch, balance the length of the perch on each end to allow birds to rest comfortably. A small bit of glue can also be used to secure perches and keep the holes from widening or loosening.

4. Cut ports — Cut a single port if creating a birdhouse, or if you’re creating a feeder, cut multiple ports 1 to 2 inches above each perch, using a utility knife. The ports should be approx ¼” wide or smaller, depending on the type of seed you will use — use larger holes for mixed seed or sunflower seeds, and smaller holes for Nyjer or millet. Oval-shaped holes that are taller than they are wide will be easier for birds to feed on.

5. Decorate with paint — If you’re creating a bird house, paint the exterior in any fun way you choose. If you’re creating a bird feeder, you can leave the bottle clear.


Hang your project

You can hang the bird house or feeder outside from a tree branch or other support structure, near a window of your home if you prefer, and wait for birds to discover it. It won’t take long!