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How To Turn A Vintage Tin Dollhouse Into A Birdhouse
Heavy Duty Velcro - I used the Scotch Extreme Fasteners (for Indoor/Outdoor)
Corrugated Plastic Sheet (18x24)
Hole saw bit - preferable 1 ⅛" or 1 ½" (optional)
This is what my corrugated plastic sheet looks like. Sort of like one of those heavy duty poster boards you would use for a yard sale, but much thicker and sturdier.
I used the corrugated plastic to cover up the backside of the house so it would be more like a birdhouse and not free for just any Tom, Dick and Harry to sleep in (I'm talking to you Mr. Chipmunk).
So I started out by roughly measuring where I needed to cut it. Since this is a ranch and pretty long, I needed more than one run of the plastic to cover the back.
After cutting out the plastic with household scissors and notching it out for roof lines, I placed it on the backside.
And then did the same with the second half of my back side.
I used a hole saw bit with the drill to quickly and easily cut the holes.
Depending on what type of birds you want to live in your birdhouse, you can make the hole size accordingly. I found this chart which is sort of handy for determining hole size.
I'm going for house wrens so the hole size is 1 ⅛".
Or you could use an x-acto knife if you are careful and can make the holes smooth. I don't trust myself around an x-acto knife and am sort of partial to my fingers, so I used the hole saw bit.
Tape the two pieces together with your duck tape and use the velcro to attached the plastic to the backside. This will enable you to remove the backside and clean the birdhouse yearly and then pop the back right back on.
And this is how it looks from behind. No you can't see the tin carpeting and fake paintings on the wall, but it will keep the birds safe.
One important thing I forgot to mention. There are four rooms, but only three holes because the living room has the big picture window on the front side and I figured they could go use that as their "hole" for that room.
So now I'm just waiting for the birds to settle in and invite me over for drinks.
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I had this dollhouse as a little girl in the 1950s-1960s. What a walk down memory lane!
I had a two-story colonial for mine. Sadly, it got sent to auction when we cleaned out my mother's house. I kick myself now for not having saved it!
I hope you're going to seal that vintage beauty from the elements so she won't lose those gorgeous colors! What a lucky find though! I have one in the basement that I decided not to sell b/c the shipping would be astronomical.
I remember having one too, & I played with it for years.
I hope those birds enjoy it.
How clever you are! Every time I'm in my favorite antique mall and see a vintage camera, I think of you. You'd probably have been in heaven. Some were $5.
Sounds like my kind of antique shop! And yeah, normally if they're $5 I'll go ahead and buy them 🙂 I figure I'd spend that much at Wendy's, so why not!
Whew! When I saw the first picture you posted I was aghast!!!! to think you had used the very doll house of my early years for a birdhouse!!!! But thankfully you have redeemed yourself by showing she was in the latter stages of her life, run down & pitiful & knowing she was destined to be all alone on that top shelf for forever I must say I do LOVE that you saved her & I LOVE this idea!!! Sooo cute! I have an old, but still nice dollhouse tucked away with intentions of using as a wall shelf one day. But I will now be on the lookout for one that is a little past perfection to tuck away in my garden for my birdie friends. Thanks for sharing such a great idea!
Nice hope you will be keeping it in a shady place so the metal does not get to hot for the birds
Thanks for reminding me, I'm going to put a thermometer in there tomorrow to see if it's getting hot in there or not 🙂 It sits between two trees so it's shaded pretty much of the day, so I think it's going to be ok. I don't have the ladder staked into the ground yet, so I can still move it more under the trees if I need to (I don't want to move it once tenants move it though).
What a unique way to display the dollhouse and create a birdhouse! Love the colors and looks so pretty in the garden.
I love the project! Curious about one thing. I see so many pretty examples of garden art and I'm eager to try some myself. But....do you take all these things inside in the winter? The thought of moving a bunch of stuff inside takes a lot of the fun out of it.
I do have a few pieces that get moved inside just so they'll last longer. For instance, my bowling ball that has pennies stuck on it comes inside because I don't think the glue that holds the pennies would last through all the freezing and thawing here (Ohio). But other things stay outside, like my wooden chair and some crates that I plant flowers in. I haven't made any, but I see lots of people have the glass totems (made with thrift store glassware) that they leave outside in the snow. I guess it just depends how long you want something to last - hoping this birdhouse will last a long time though, so if there are no birds over-wintering in it I'll probably move it to the garage for the winter:)
Was smiling while reading about the little doll house when suddenly I remembered I had a little doll house like this one back in the 1950-ties in Australia. Oh what a happy trip down memory lane you have given me, I had completely forgotten it.
That is AWESOME. Seriously AWESOME.
Super cute. I'm sure some house wrens will be quick to make a home in there!
This is so cool! I have a few of the tin barns but they are still in pretty good shape so I'll just have to keep my out out for rusty treasure like you found. And I wonder if Brian would notice if one of his thousands of ladders went missing and all of the sudden we have a pink ladder?
A pink ladder sounds perfect! And then he can borrow it back if he needs to climb on the roof or something 🙂
Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces
This is so fun, Pam! Have you had any birds visit yet?
A few have been poking around, but no one's claimed it yet. I wonder if maybe it's too late in the season this year?
Love this! It's so pretty and cute. I'd love to find a ladder to use in my garden -- I love the look and the pretty green you used!
Not sure if it is a problem where you live but we have found that the metal gets to hot for the birds to nest in. Our repurposed metal bird baths have the same problem. Just an FYI to think about--
I love this! This is a darling idea! I have either the same or similar doll house from my childhood. I will have to find the box it is in and see if it is salvageable.. I think the paint is flaking off.
Oh wow, what a great idea! My sister and I had this same doll house in the early 60’s and it was just auctioned off last year.
I have a 70 ft long birdhouse wall. And out of yard sale we bought two vintage $10 houses one we made into a birdhouse. I came across this and I'm like hey I'm not the only one 🙂
Wow! Your wall sounds amazing! Do you have birds nesting in your houses or are they decorative?