How to Build a Nesting Box

Build a nesting box for a bird with a few basic materials. Nesting boxes can be built out of wood or cardboard. Each type of material provides an excellent nesting place, but because of wood's absorbency, wooden nest boxes can be difficult to clean. Cardboard nest boxes are very inexpensive to make so there is no cleaning involved. You simply dispose of them after the babies come out. You can build a nesting box in a few simple steps.

Recycle heavy duty cardboard from a local retailer. Choose sturdy clean cardboard boxes that will fit the dimensions you need. It's OK if the box have been flattened because you will be cutting it anyway. As a matter of fact, flattened boxes are much easier to haul.

Decide on the dimensions you want for the nesting box. Dimensions will be based on what the nesting box is for. Small birds prefer small nesting boxes, yet large birds will not nest in a box that is too small. If you have a specific bird species, do some research to find out if both the male and female will be in the nest box at the same time or if just one or the other will sit on the eggs. There are numerous sites on the Internet that can provide recommended dimensions for different bird species (see Resources).

Cut the cardboard to the proper dimensions using a utility knife or scissors. Using long strips of duct tape, tape the pieces together along each edge. This forms the box part of the project.

Cut an appropriate sized hole in the front of the box using a utility knife.

Applying a couple of coats of non-toxic sealant applied to the outside of the nesting box will help waterproof it if you are planning to place it outdoors.


Recycling cardboard to build nesting boxes helps cut down on waste.


Birds may chew the cardboard. If needed, it can be easily repaired with patches of cardboard and duct tape. Utility knives are very sharp. Use caution not to cut or stab yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy cardboard box
  • Duct tape
  • Utility knife or scissors
  • Non-toxic sealant (water-based acrylic varnish)
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About the Author

Terri Rawls is a freelance writer with works published for Demand Media,, Virtual Vocations, Associated Content and eHow. Rawls ghostwrites and has written several books for children that she hopes to see published in the very near future. Rawls holds an Associate Degree in early childhood development with extensive experience working with at-risk youth.