If you want to make your garden more bird-friendly, you may want to put up a bird house in a nice, warm spot in your garden. It’s good to know that it’s perfectly fine to leave your bird house au naturel (unpainted), since this can give a rustic, country feel to your garden. This is especially true if your bird house is made of cypress, redwood or cedar, which don’t require painting since they are naturally decay-resistant. For other types of wood such as plywood and pine, however, painting your bird house is recommended. Painting over these types of wood helps protect it from rotting, cracking or splitting. So if you’re looking to find out how to best paint a bird house, here are some handy tips to help you out:
- Buy ready-made, unpainted bird houses. There are many available unpainted birdhouses at crafts stores and pet stores, and there are also some available online such as at bestnest.com and birdbathandbeyond.com. But if you’re the type who’s interested in making a bird house from scratch, you could also purchase easy-to- follow bird house patterns online such as from millenniumbirdhouses.com.
- Decide on the colors to use. You may be tempted to paint the bird house with splashes of color and a cornucopia of designs. However, it’s still best to go with paints in earth tones, in order to keep with the natural bird setting (think beige, brown, tan or soft green). This will also help keep the birds safe from predators (who are attracted to bright colors). White is also a good color as it reflects heat away from the bird house. Don’t paint the inside of the birdhouse. Apart from it being a pain to do, it’s best to leave it at its most natural to limit the exposure of the birds to toxic substances.
- Decide on which paint to use. Remember, birds will be pecking away at their bird house, so keep them safe by using only non-toxic paint. Never use lead-based paint; water-based latex paint is recommended, as well as natural oils such as linseed oil. Check out your options for non-toxic paint at eartheasy.com.
- Know the procedure. It’s very easy to paint a ready-made birdhouse. First, collect all the materials you’d be needing, which are the following: paint, brushes, rags and some newspaper to protect your floor area. Paint with the first coat, and let this dry. Then, paint over a second coat, and let this dry overnight. Your bird house is ready, though you can make some final add-ons such as a perch outside the bird house where the birds can sit in. You can also provide nesting materials such as feather, strips of paper, yarn or string and place these near the bird house. For bird houses for flickers and woodpeckers, you can cover the floor of the inside of the bird house with a thin layer of sawdust.
There you have it! These are just some of the ways to paint a bird house. The best thing about this project is that you shouldn’t feel too pressured to do excellently the first time – your birds will certainly appreciate their new home! Good luck!