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How to Repurpose a Birdhouse

Repurposed birdhouse into a church luminary

Last month I was at my cousin’s bridal shower. There were two tables filled will amazing gift baskets. Side note: my mother goes to tons of events and typically wins 1-3 gift baskets at each event. Do you know anyone else who is this lucky? I, personally do not. So, most of the glorious gift baskets were donated by my mother who – not kidding – has a closet full of things ready for regifting.

Now back to the bridal shower. There were 80 woman in attendance and around 20 prizes. The bride-to-be picked a name and the lucky guest would pick out a prize. The last name to be called was mine. I looked over at the table and all that remained was this huge birdhouse. I remember exclaiming, “I love birds,” as I picked this thing up like you would a small child.

As you can see, this isn’t the kind of birdhouse you attach to a tree. You’d have to set it on a tree stump or something – which I don’t have. So, you know me, I had to repurpose it. The funny thing is, I’ve actually repurposed a wine box into a birdhouse (actually a raptor box). Repurposing can go both ways depending on your needs!

Repurposing Brainstorm

birdhouse with stained glass luminaryI knew from the beginning that I wanted to refashion this sunflower monstrosity into a church. Why? Because coming from a large Catholic family we celebrate a lot of sacraments. I thought it would make sense to have a decoration that could be used for all sacraments. We are coming up on the sacramental season – first communions and confirmations.

I also thought I wanted to make it functional. I had this brilliant, untested idea that I could make it into a card depository. So if guests were giving a card they could slip it into the front slots. This was a craft fail! I didn’t realize this until I sawed the top off, enlarged the front slots and tried to insert a large greeting card. Clearly I had no concept of size. This birdhouse was not nearly big enough!

Next idea – a luminary. You may know I’m obsessed with stained glass. So for this project I made stained glass windows out of a recycled vellum envelope I salvaged from the mail. To show off the “stained glass” I put an electric tea light into the birdhouse.

How to Repurpose a Birdhouse into a Church Luminary

1. I sawed the top of the birdhouse off with my jigsaw. Fail! In retrospect I recommend cutting a circular section out of the bottom of the birdhouse, like you would when carving a pumpkin so you can put the candle in the pumpkin.

2. Make the holes in the birdhouse into faux stained glass window. You can use vellum or repurpose clear plastic from product packaging that you were going to toss in the recycling bin. Decorate with Sharpie or permanent markers. Tape to the inside of your birdhouse.

3. Paint the birdhouse – if necessary – to look like the church of your choice – usually white and black. To made the door, Mod Podge wood grain scrapbook paper or hot glue on popsicle sticks. I hot glued a brown bead for the doorknob.

4. Add a cross on top with wood glue.

5. If you chopped the top off like I did, add a small hinge so you can access the inside easily.

6. Create little signs that can hang from the birdhouse perch to commemorate the specific sacrament or occasion. You can easily store the different signs inside the birdhouse.

birdhouse_WIP

 Would you decorate with a birdhouse?

 

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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4 Responses to How to Repurpose a Birdhouse

  1. Lucy Schmidt May 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

    It turned out lovely! I happen to have a couple of birdhouses indoors that are just too nice to put outside in the changing weather conditions. I’m also kind enough to the birds to give them some houses and feeding stations of their own, lest you think I’m ignoring them in favor of personal gratification. ;-) The tea light really highlights the faux stained glass. Utterly charming.

    • Eve May 1, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

      Lucy, thanks so much! So glad to hear you too are using birdhouses for home decor – they’re really cute!

  2. Carol Grund May 6, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    What a wonderful idea! Think I’ll find myself a bird house in need of a little love, and use it as an Easter decoration!

    • Eve May 6, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      Carol, I love that idea!

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