Out of all the reasons to attract birds to your yard, enjoyment has to top the list. Watching birds frolic, feed and nest right outside your back door is one of life's simple pleasures. Birds eat pests like mosquitoes and earwigs, help pollinate fruit trees and garden flowers, and provide birdsong, colour and movement in the garden. Bird identification is an interesting hobby, and making birdhouses is a satisfying craft. Advanced carpentry skills are not needed to make birdhouses from natural materials like grapevines.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Small garden clippers
- Utility bucket
- Grapevine cuttings
- Bulldog clips
- Long stick
Cut about 40 grapevine pieces into 18-inch lengths.
Soak grapevines in a bucket of hot water for two to three hours or overnight. This makes them easier to work with.
Take one grapevine out of the water and form it into a circle, tying the ends together with twine. Take another grapevine out of the water and form it into a circle over the first circle, perpendicular to it, tying the ends together and to the first circle. This is the form of the birdhouse.
Tie a loop of twine as a hanger at the top of the form.
Take another grapevine and weave it in between the four foundation vines at the bottom of the form. Continue all around the form, weaving grapevine pieces in and out until you've formed a globe without any gaps.
Choose a spot for the birdhouse opening and carefully separate the woven vines for a small door. Use bulldog clips to keep them open while you use the twine to tie them back.
Insert a long, sturdy stick at the bottom of the globe under the door, all the way through to the back of the birdhouse. Push it all the way through until it comes out the back side, then use the clippers to clip off the end so it's flush with the side of the globe.
Hang the birdhouse in the nearest tree, on a fence or a shepherd's hook in the garden.
Tips and warnings
- Weave the grapevines tightly to make as solid a structure as possible.
- Add decorations to the finished birdhouse if you'd like. Use garden flowers, a bunch of long grass leaves tied together, stick decorations or other garden ornaments.
- Make different sized birdhouses by using longer or shorter pieces of grapevines.
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- "Making Backyard Birdhouses: Attracting, Feeding & Housing Your Favorite Birds "; Sandy Cortright and Will Pokriots; 1997
- "Rustic Garden Furniture & Accessories: Making Chairs, Planters, Birdhouses, Gates & More"; Daniel Mack and Thomas Stender; 2007
- "Easy to Build Birdhouses - A Natural Approach: Must Know Info to Attract and Keep the Birds You Want"; A.J. Hamler; 2010
- "Enchanting Woodland Birdhouses"; Lucinda Claire Macy; 2002