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Build It | Birdhouse

General contractor Tom Silva helps a pair of woodworking siblings build a DIY birdhouse in their new workshop.

Camila asks general contractor Tom Silva if they can work with her little brother, Jasper, to build another project. Happy to hang around for another job, Tom gets to work with the siblings building a birdhouse from one of the plans in the book.

How To Build a DIY Kids’ Birdhouse

  1. This block represents the front of the birdhouse. Measure 6 1/4 inches from the end of a 1x5 and mark the distance. Use the speed square to draw a square line at that measurement.
  2. Use the pencil and speed square to add a peak to the front of the birdhouse. Line up the 45-degree edge of the speed square with the point where the line and edge of the board intersect and draw a 45-degree line. Repeat this on the other edge of the board to create the peak. This should also create an “X” in the middle of the board.
  3. Use the speed square to draw another square line connecting the ends of the X drawn in the last step. Measure 6 ½ inches from this line to create a mirror image of the front of the birdhouse. This piece represents the back of the birdhouse.
  4. Clamp the 1x5 to a workbench and cut along the X formed by the two peaks. This will create the front of the birdhouse. Cut the back of the birdhouse from the board by sawing across the line representing the back’s bottom edge.
  5. This piece will be one of the sides of the birdhouse. Measure 6 inches from the end of the 1x5 and draw a square line. Cut along the square line. Then, place this cut piece on top of the 1x5 and line up the edges. Use a pencil to mark this piece’s length on the 1x5 and saw along the line.
  6. Measure the birdhouse’s bottom length by placing the sides between the front and back and stretching a tape measure from edge to edge. Transfer this measurement to the 1x5 and cut it to length. This should be roughly 7 1/2 inches, but it’s good practice to measure, and wood can vary.
  7. Use this same measurement as the base measurement for the roof pieces. Add 1 inch to both sides to provide an overhang that protects the birdhouse’s entry from rain and snow.
  8. To drill the holes for the entry and perch, use the tape measure to find the center of the board. Then, with the front piece clamped to a workbench (with a sacrificial piece underneath), drill through the board using a 1 ¼-inch spade bit and power drill. Repeat the process with a ½-inch drill bit to drill a hole for the perch ¾-inch below the entry hole.
  9. Pre-drill through the front and back of the birdhouse and screw into the sides. Pre-drill through the bottom of the birdhouse and screw into the underside of the front, back, and sides. Again, pre-drill and screw the roof pieces to each other and into the peaks.
  10. Use a bit of glue to secure a ½-inch dowel in the hole drilled for the perch. Finally, hang the birdhouse from your favorite post, tree, or garden hook and watch the birds enjoy their new home.


Tom and Camilla showed Jasper how to build a birdhouse using simple 1x5” select pine boards and a variety of simple tools, including a hand saw and a drill. All of these tools can be found at home centers and craft stores.

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