10 Things Made from Recycled Wood



Building a birdhouse is a perfect way to put wood scraps and old wood to use.
Building a birdhouse is a perfect way to put wood scraps and old wood to use.
©iStockphoto/William Britten

Building a birdhouse is an easy way to get into woodworking. First you need to observe the types of birds that frequent your backyard and decide which ones you'd like to house. That will determine the size of the birdhouse and the circumference of its entrance.

Keep in mind that only cavity-nesting birds like robins, chickadees, swallows, flickers and bluebirds will use a birdhouse. You aren't going to get the attention of birds that nest on the ground.

Next, select the wood. It's best to use untreated lumber, like the kind you'd have lying around after a home project. Treated wood like exterior grade plywood can contain toxic preservatives that could harm the birds.

Then you'll want to decide what you want the house to look like. You can choose from a variety of designs online or in crafting books. But make sure the plans you pick have ventilation holes in the sides (not the top where rain can get in) so heat can escape [source: Rohde].

You'll also want small holes in the bottom for drainage, and the roof should be slanted so rain runs off. The roof should also extend over the entrance hole to protect the birds from sunlight and rain.

Because these are nesting birds, you will not need a perch. But you will need a door, roof or side wall that opens so you can clean out the birdhouse to prevent an infestation of parasites [source: Rohde].

Don't use paint or stain inside the birdhouse. If you paint the exterior, be sure to choose lead-free paint. It's also recommended that you use light colors to reflect the sunlight so your feathered friends don't get too hot.

On the next page, a project that's picture perfect.