Who doesn’t love a spring craft that includes DIY paper birdhouses? I know the calendar says it’s spring, but I can’t wait until the leaves are budding on the trees. I’m smitten for early spring flowers, birds, green grass and the first really warm sunny day. My absolute favorite spring activity is listening to the birds in the morning and watching the sun peer through the window when I wake.
While we all wait for it to actually feel like spring, we can still do some paper crafting. This project is sure to help you through the winter blues and cheer you up as you think about springtime.
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I thought the perfect craft to usher in the longer days and warmer weather would be some paper birdhouses. These would be fun for kids and adults alike to cut out and assemble. You can use supplies you have on hand, like cereal boxes, card-stock and patterned paper.
OPTIONAL HELPFUL SUPPLIES
- EMPTY CEREAL BOX (OPTIONAL)
- SELF-HEALING MAT
- SILHOUETTE CAMEO
- SILHOUETTE CUTTING MAT
- GLUE GUN
DOWNLOAD THE BIRDHOUSE TEMPLATES FROM THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY
I designed these birdhouses to be cut on an electronic cutting machine (i.e. Silhouette Cameo or Cricut) but, if you’re good with a craft knife, you could print out the PDF templates and cut them by hand. Before you begin this craft, you’ll need to cut out the various pieces for assembly.
To download your free SVG birdhouse templates, subscribe at the top right sidebar or at the bottom of this post. I’ve also provided SVG, DXF, EPS, PNG, and PDF versions of the files to accommodate all cutting machine types.
After a few moments you will receive an email confirming your subscription (check your spam or promotions folder if you don’t see it.) Once you confirm your subscription you will receive a “welcome email” with the password. Go to the library page and enter the password in the empty box located below the word “Password”. You can also access the library on the top menu bar any time you’d like with your password.
Please keep in mind that the password is case sensitive and does have spaces. Also, check to make sure your caps lock is turned off. If you have any problems, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to help. Once in the library, follow the instructions for downloading your free files.
CUT OUT THE BIRDHOUSE TEMPLATES
Each paper birdhouse is made from one sheet of patterned card-stock and one sheet of plain or neutral card-stock. The main part of the birdhouse is made from patterned card-stock. The roof and the base of the birdhouse are made from neutral colored card-stock and/or cereal boxes. There are two files to complete each building – the building file and the roof/base file. There are two sizes for the birdhouses, small and large.
SILHOUETTE CAMEO CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS
Open Silhouette Studio. Then choose File, then Open and choose the BIRDHOUSE FILES you downloaded from the library to your computer. The files will be in the location you downloaded them to previously. If you are using the Designer Edition or Business Edition of Silhouette Studio, use the SVG files. If you have the basic edition (free version) you’ll need to use the DXF files. These may open above your mat in the grey area of the software.
Under Page Setup, change your cutting mat to 12X12. Then change your media size to 8.5 X 11.
The pink lines on the birdhouses need to be changed to score lines. You will need to ungroup the items before you can change the lines. You can ungroup them by right clicking on them with your mouse and choose ungroup. Now click on the pink lines and click the drop down menu next to the solid black line on the top menu. Select the larger dashed version of the line, so that it scores, but doesn’t cut the full line.
Now ungroup the word blocks. Go to the Send Menu at the top. Click on the words and choose sketch under the Action Menu. Also, make sure Sketch is selected under Tool 1. The words will now show up in red. Check to see that your tool is set to pen. All of the other lines on the page should be greyed out. If they aren’t, select them and choose No Sketch.
Load your paper on a 12 X 12 cutting mat and load it into your machine. Then add your sketch pen to Tool 1 on your machine. Now go back to Silhouette Studio and click send. Tip: If your sketch pen is dragging in the wrong places on your paper, lift the paper so it is level and not hanging down at all. This should stop that problem. DO NOT UNLOAD YOUR MAT YET.
When it’s done sketching, go back to your software. Select everything on the page. Now under Action, choose cut. Then under Tool 1, choose cut. Now select just the words and choose No Cut under Tool 1. At this point, the words will be greyed out and all of the other items on the page will be red. Now change your cut settings to the following:
Card-stock Cut Settings
Blade: 5, Force: 30, Speed: 4, Passes: 1, Overcut: On
Your mat with the sketched words should already be loaded into the machine from the previous step. Now press Send. Once it’s done cutting, check to see that the card-stock is cut all the way through before you unload it. If it didn’t cut through, send it a second time. Now unload your mat. Repeat these instructions for the other birdhouse and the roof and base.
CRICUT UPLOAD & CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS FOR PAPER BIRDHOUSES
Open Cricut Design Space. Click upload on the bottom left toolbar. Then click upload image and then browse. Select the SVG version of the Birdhouses that you downloaded earlier from the library. If you have not completed the download step, refer back to the DOWNLOAD THE BIRDHOUSE TEMPLATES section up above for instructions.
Click open and rename the file and add tags if you want to. Then click save. Now select the file and choose Insert Images.
Once the image is on your canvas, click on it and drag it to the right, so you can see all of the files. Now left click on the first image and then right click on it to ungroup the items. Working on the red layer in the layers panel, click on the layer with the single black vertical line. Then on the top left menu, under Operation, change the line from cut to score. The line will change from a solid line to a dashed one. Highlight all of the red layers and click on Attach.
Now click on the center (larger) blue birdhouse. Then right click on it and choose ungroup. Working in the layers panel and the blue layers, click on all of the black lines and change them from cut to score under Operation on the top menu. To select all of the layers together, hold your Shift key down while you select them. Now Attach the middle two birdhouses together.
Ungroup the last two (smaller) houses. Maker sure all of the black lines have been changed to score lines. Then select the two smaller houses and Attach them.
Lastly, select the words (but, not the boxes around them) and change them from cut to pen under the Operation menu. Now drag over the words and their boxes and Attach them together.
Now click Make It. You should have 4 separate mats in your Preview window. If you see any dashed lines on their own, you need to go back to your canvas and Attach them. Otherwise, if everything looks good in the preview, choose continue. Now follow the instructions on your screen to load your tools, material and mats.
CUTTING THE TEMPLATES WITH SCISSORS
If you are using scissors to cut out your birdhouses, download the PDF file. Then print them on your home printer. I found that using a 65 lb. to 80 lb. paper weight/thickness works best in my printer. When you use paper thicker than a 80 lb cover, the printer has a tendency to jam.
Most packs of patterned paper come in a 12 X 12.5 size. I use my paper trimmer and cut them down to 8.5 X 11 and then load them into the printer. The Recollections paper seems to feed through my printer without any problems. If you are looking for plain white card-stock, this 8.5 X 11 and this 12 X 12 work fine in my printer.
For this project, I used Recollections, Bouquet Basics 12 X 12 paper pad. I purchased it at Michael’s craft store. While researching for this project, my favorite patterns from Amazon are IDULL Scrapbook Paper Pack, this Stamperia pad, this Stamperia pad and levylisa. You’ll want to read your printer manual to see what paper weight your printer will accept.
Load your paper in the printer. Then print the pattern on the paper and cut it out with scissors.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING A SILHOUETTE CAMEO AND CEREAL BOX TO THICKEN THE BIRDHOUSES
After a lot of trial and error, I figured out the best settings for this. I used my old ratchet blade with the adapter in Tool 1. I’m pretty sure that older versions of the Silhouette Cameo will be able to make this cut, too.
The cut settings are Material – cardstock textured heavy, Blade – 7, Force 3, Speed – 3, Passes – 1. Send your project to cut, but don’t unload it from the machine. Then change your ratchet blade to 10, Force – 25, Speed – 3, Passes – 1. Again, send your project to cut, but don’t unload it when done. The last cut is Blade -10, Force – 33, Speed – 3, Passes – 2. When it’s done cutting, lift the bottom of the cardboard to make sure it’s cut through. Then unload the project from your machine.
Here is a picture of it after the extra material is removed.
I then cut the roof and base from plain card-stock and used adhesive to cover the cereal box print.
ASSEMBLE THE BIRDHOUSES
At this point you will have the two sides to your birdhouse, the roof and the base cut out.
Fold the tabs along all the score lines. Then attach the center tabs together using a tape runner, glue stick or glue gun.
Fold along the other two score lines, so your birdhouse begins to take shape.
Add adhesive to the two end tabs and then close the box. For a tight corner, run your thumb and index finger along the seam.
Add adhesive to the four tabs on the roof of the birdhouse. Center the house on the card-stock roof and press the tabs in place. I ran a pencil eraser along the tab to make sure it had a good bond. Then flip the birdhouse over and press the tabs on the other side in place.
Add adhesive to the bottom four tabs on the birdhouse and press the base to the tabs.
ASSEMBLE THE PERCH AND SIGN
When you cut out your roof and base, you will have noticed the extra rectangles for the bird perch and sign. I glued several of the rectangles together to give them a 3D effect.
Here they are on standing on edge.
Using a sanding block, I smoothed the rough edges.
Then print out the PDF word files and attach them to the sign. If you have a cameo, you can use the SVG files to sketch the sign with your sketch pens.
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I hope you enjoy making these DIY paper birdhouses with your family.