I came across some wooden bird houses at the dollar store a few weeks ago and decided I wanted to turn them into something cute for my upcoming nuptials. They were only $3 each and I had a good idea of what I wanted to create. After about 2 hours of on-and-off work over the course of a week, I am quite happy with the finished product!
This caught my eye at Dollarama and there were only two left with this intricate floral design. They came glued together, ready to be painted/hung for the birds, but I had other intentions in mind…
I spent about 30 minutes removing the two bases with a utility knife (which were glued on well I might add) so as not to split the wood with too much force from a saw. And I removed the string hangers prior to sanding.
Next, I spent another 20-30 minutes sanding down the houses and bases. These were from the dollar store, so they weren’t finished to the quality that I would like, plus my ‘hack job’ made for some rough spots and indents. I used a palm sander for the bases, and did the houses by hand due to the odd angles and fragile design of the houses.
Following that, I spray painted both houses with white primer and waited a day for them to dry, then repeated the process again. I did this process outside and on a cardboard box, but still managed to spray some of my driveway white - whoops…
I painted both houses white with interior/exterior enamel paint and again, waited a day for them to dry before repeating the process and adding a second coat. I added some touch ups where the wood was still showing through and in difficult area spots, like the roof corners.
Next, I added a coat of gloss Polyurethane (a protectant) and waited for it to dry, then repeated this step again. In hindsight, I should have been a little less generous with the spray (it had a slight yellow colour and stained one of houses on one side).
I knew I wanted to add tea candles inside and had some extra glass candle holders. I hot glued these to the center of the base and added tea candles (I later did it again with contact cement because once it got cold, the glass and glue came apart). I could have stopped here, but I didn’t like that the base was completely separate from the house. I wanted the house to be one finished product.
We tend to keep basic craft supplies and DIY leftovers from other projects, and had I some small gold hinges on-hand. I thought the gold clashed too much with the white, so I painted them white on the be exposed side using the interior/exterior paint. The painted hinges look what I would call ‘rustic’ as it is hard to get a clean finish with white paint on metal.
I lined up the hinges and hot glued (later re-doing this step with contact cement) one side to the base and the other to the back side of the house because nails or screws would surely split these frail little frames. I tidied up the little bit of overflowed glue with a utility knife and touched up the hinges with white paint where I had accidently taken it off during installation.
I added magnets on the opposite side of the hinges to secure the base to the house so that it doesn’t swing open if I decide to actually hang the houses. Using the drill press, table saw, router and miter stand, I have managed to cut two small blocks and drill a hole in each to fit two round magnets. One magnet will be glued to the base of the house, the other to the inside of the block (both will fit nicely inside the block when closed). Of course, I painted the exposed wood white to go with the rest of the house. This has been the most difficult part of the process and I had to re-make these pieces twice because I cut them in the wrong order and couldn’t trim the smaller pieces safely.
And voilà! From basic wood bird houses to cute little tea candle houses! And it was pretty easy too!
Side note: I will be working to add magnets on the opposite side of the hinges to secure the base to the house so that it doesn’t swing open if I decide to actually hang the houses. For now, I plan to lay them on the ground as décor.
A millennial woman with 'old school' values, working my way through life in Canada and traveling when I can afford to. Seeking out my passions one day at a time.