First of all, you can just put that beauty outside and leave it alone!
However, these birdhouses are made out of pretty thin wood, so it may not last
very long. Admittedly, the ‘weathered and aged’ look is pretty vintage, so that might
be cool !
A good idea is to seal it as best you can. I prefer using Gesso as the first coat to seal it right off the bat. Gesso sinks into the wood, so your paint doesn’t. It makes the colors more vibrant in the long run, and helps protect the wood. It dries fast so you can continue with your painting. Feel free to hit it with a hair dryer for a couple of minutes if you are in a hurry to get it painted. I have used a good base coat of white acrylic paint in the past. Although it doesn’t seal like Gesso, it will help keep your colors from sinking in the wood. You can use an outdoor acrylic paint as well.
Next, it is a good idea to put a couple of small holes in the bottom on your birdhouse. This helps water drain in case of blowing rain/snow that might get in it. You don’t want your nest/eggs/baby birds soggy.
Another suggestion is to make a trap door with hinges on the bottom of your birdhouse so you can clean out the old nest after the brood is gone (and that will give ‘drain cuts’ too). Some birds will clean it out themselves, but why not lend a hand? And, just so you know, some birds will actually reuse another bird’s nest if there is room and they can add stuff on top of it. A good time to clean out a birdhouse is late summer or early Fall.
Do not add ‘decorations’ on the outside of an outdoor birdhouse. You don’t want birds pecking on anything that could be toxic. It is best if you just use acrylic paint. If you have to spruce it up… anything natural … twigs, leaves, moss, etc. Be sure you use non toxic glue like Outdoor Mod Podge.
Finally, you need to seal it with something that is non toxic and doesn’t yellow with age. Some suggestions are : Aleene’s Sealer, gloss finish…it’s a spray, which I prefer. Don’t spray it in the hole! Krylon UV Resistant clear spray is also very good. You should respray it every year after cleaning the birdhouse out. There are several sealers out there from which to choose. Just make sure it is non toxic, UV Resistant, and will not yellow with age.
Hang the birdhouse up high, and where it gets lots of sun in the winter.
Here is an aside: I like to brush my dogs with a plastic toothed brush, and leave their fur IN THE BRUSH. Leave the brush outside (we leave it on our deck near the bird feeders, but secured so it won’t flop around). The birds will come and pick, pick, pick that fur out of the brush for insulation for their nest! They LOVE it…cat fur works too!!
Do not use the fur if the animals have any topical flea or tick spray/dust on their fur.
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