March 27, 2013

Liz Swafford: DIY for the birds: Upcycled birdhouse, bird feeders

Spring is here! Of course, with the exception of a few chilly, snowy flurries earlier this week. It seems that Georgia’s spring predicting groundhog, Gen. Beauregard Lee, was right when he predicted an additional six weeks of winter back on Feb. 2. So much for the predictions of renowned groundhog Punxsutawney Phil. Sorry Phil, better luck next year.

Despite the sudden chill, birds are still out and about chirping while visiting trees and flowers already in bloom. Warmer days are coming back soon, so it’s time to do some springtime crafting to welcome this season and help some of our feathered friends through this short cold snap.


Milk carton birdhouse

Finished drinking that quart of orange juice or milk? Good! Rinse the carton out and pat it dry. A quart-sized gable milk carton is the first piece of this upcycled birdhouse. You’ll also need a marker, scissors or crafting knife, hole puncher or screwdriver, masking tape or packing tape, glue, twine and a twig or pencil. Depending on how you want to decorate it, you’ll also want some masking tape, shoe polish and cloth, or paint brushes and non-toxic paints.

If your carton has a screw-on lid on the side of the gable you’re ready to start. However, if you have a carton with a pour spout that has been opened you’ll need to staple it shut. Using a hole punch, make a hole in the center of the very top tab of the carton where the container’s spout is closed. This is where you’ll later loop some twine to hang the house in a tree.

Next, lay the carton on a flat surface facing up. Draw a two-and-a-half-inch circle in the middle of the front panel of the carton. Using scissors or a craft knife, cut out the circle. This will be the opening to the birdhouse. Half an inch below the opening, punch a small hole with a hole punch or screwdriver. That one will be for the twig or pencil you’ve chosen for a perch.

Put a pencil or pen through that small opening and draw a dot on the back panel so you know where to punch the hole for the back panel. Now you’ll have two holes that will help hold the perch up evenly.

To finish up, punch four holes on the bottom of the carton that will be for drainage. Now you can add the twig or pencil perch, and tie some twine through the hole at the very top. For extra support, glue the perch to the carton. The basic birdhouse is finished and can now be hung outside as is. But if you feel that it’s in sore need of some décor, here are two options.

For a bark look, cover the whole carton with pieces of masking tape that are slightly overlapping. If you have shoe polish, put some on a cloth and rub it on to the masking tape- covered carton. The tape will take on the look of tree bark. Let it dry before taking it outside. If you’re feeling much more creative, paint the carton with non-toxic paints, add stickers or other embellishments. Then, cover the entire carton with packing tape to protect the design from the rain.

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