Get creative by making a beautiful clay birdhouse to welcome your feathered friends. This step-by-step tutorial will show you just how easily you can make one or more for your yard.
It seems to me that most gardeners love birds. I know I do, and so does my husband. We have several feeders in the yard, a couple of suet holders, and plenty of nesting places. Often we will find nests in hanging baskets, or in the eaves of the porch. This can be a problem because the protective mother birds feel compelled to attack every time you enter and exit your home. A good reason to have more birdhouses in the yard.
How to Make a Natural Clay Birdhouse
The birdhouse shown above is one that I bought my husband for father's day, at a museum gift shop, a few years back. I like the rustic, natural look it has and wanted to make something similar. I purchased some Polymer Clay and used a grapevine sphere to give it structure.
This clay takes some time to roll out. You can knead it first with your hands to get it nice and pliable. According to the package, 1/4 inch pieces are ideal for baking the polymer clay.
I used this grapevine sphere to act as an armature for the clay. You might try a balloon and then pop and remove it afterward. However, I wasn't sure if a balloon would be strong enough for this clay or if it would hold up in the oven.
Wrap pieces of rolled out clay around the grapevine sphere until it is covered, leaving a space uncovered for the birdhouse opening.
Then work on smoothing out the clay, by cutting or pinching off the extra, and closing up any holes. Small cracks are okay, it gives the piece a natural rustic look.
Then poke a few holes on the bottom for water drainage and two at the top where you can thread twine through in order to hang the birdhouse outside.
Bake the birdhouse on some foil in the oven according to the package directions. Typically 15-20 minutes is all you need.
Once the birdhouse has cooled, paint the birdhouse however you like. I used shades of green and black with a bit of white and blue in the mix. A sea sponge worked great for this application and the paints I used were patio paints that are meant for outdoor projects.
Getting the twine hanger through the holes in the top of the clay birdhouse was a little tricky. The easiest way I found was to add a piece of wire to the end of the twine that could be easily threaded through the hole and pulled through.
Then continue with the other end of the twine in the same manner.
Tie your natural handmade clay birdhouse outside on a tree branch and admire its beauty. With any luck, some birds will soon make it their home.
- Polymer Clay - Sculpey original
- Grapevine sphere
- Outdoor paints
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic roller
- Pencil or paintbrush handle
- Knead the clay until it softens
- Roll out pieces of clay about 1/4 inch thick.
- Place the pieces of clay around the grapevine sphere leaving an opening for the house in the middle.
- Smooth out the edges.
- Poke two holes at the top with a paintbrush handle or pencil of the birdhouse for hanging.
- Poke a few at the bottom for water drainage.
- Bake in the oven on some aluminum foil for 15 -20 mins. at 275 degrees F
- Allow birdhouse to cool.
- Paint birdhouse with outdoor paints.
- Attach some wire to the end of a yard of twine to help thread the twine through the top holes. Repeat with the other end of the twine.
- Tie the twine onto a branch on a tree and enjoy.
You can make this with air dry clay but it would not be functional outdoors. The air dry clay will breakdown at the first sign of rain.