Holidays & Celebrations Bird Hobbies

How To Paint Decorative Bird Houses

Published at 02/27/2012 18:12:01


Purchasing unpainted bird houses is an excellent way to save money, while still attracting beautiful songbirds to your home and backyard. Unfortunately, if you’re not feeling creative the blank canvas can be intimidating. With the proper preparation and paint, you can turn even the plainest bird house into an outdoor work of art.

Step 1

Before you begin to paint your bird house, gather the necessary supplies. Start with a good quality set of paintbrushes. You’ll need a larger paintbrush to cover the bulk of the wooden unpainted bird house and smaller brushes to create the delicate work. If you don’t want to paint the bird house freehand, don’t sweat it. Head to your local craft store and pick out a set of stencils to create a unique look to your bird house. You’ll also require outdoor paint and primer, an all-purpose cleaner, painter’s tape, paper towel, unwanted plastic cups and newspaper.

Step 2

Create a workspace to paint your bird house by laying down a few sheets of newspaper. Set up your paintbrushes and fill two plastic cups with water. Set your bird house on the newspaper and clean the surface with the all-purpose product and paper towel. Cleaning the bird house removes any dirt, grime or grease that won’t allow the primer and paint to adhere effectively. Allow the bird house to dry completely before continuing.

Step 3

Cover the bird house with a thin layer of quality outdoor primer. Choose products intended for outdoor use as these are capable of standing up against the elements. Use a larger paintbrush to cover the bulk of the bird house and a small brush, or cotton swab, for delicate work. Allow the first coat of primer to dry for at least 4 to 5 hours before applying a second coat, if desired.

Step 4

Once the primer is dry, it’s time to cover the bird house with your base color. Choose white to create a blank canvas or a bolder shade to draw attention to your work. An earth tone also provides a more natural base to create an elaborate design. Once again, use a larger brush to cover the bulk of the bird house and a small brush or cotton swab for the finish work. Allow the paint to dry for at least 6 hours before applying another coat. It’s recommended that you apply two coats, as the bird house will be exposed to the elements.

Step 5

Once you’ve allowed the final coat of paint to dry, it’s time to add a few decorative touches to your bird house. Once again, if you’re feeling artistic go ahead and create a design freehand on the birdhouse. Otherwise, place a stencil onto the birdhouse and hold it in place with a painter’s tape. Using a small paintbrush, dab at the stencil until it’s completely filled in. Allow the paint to set for a few minutes before carefully lifting the stencil away from the house. Allow the stenciled creation to dry for at least 24 to 48 before hanging the bird house outdoors.


Apply a thin layer of polyurethane or lacquer to the painted bird house to protect it against the elements.

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