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How to Build a Bird House With a License Plate Roof

Check local vintage and antique stores for old license plates.
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Building a decorative birdhouse and adding a license plate as a roof is a way to both make a charming piece of art and recycle unwanted materials. Any old pieces of wood you find in the garage are fine for piecing the structure together, although soft woods like pine make the sawing and cutting a bit easier. The addition of a little bit of paint and an old license plate for a roof turns salvage into a visual delight.

Cut two pieces of 3/4-inch wood measuring 4-1/2 inches square with a power saw. These are the front and back of the birdhouse. The birdhouse will hang in a diamond position with a point at the bottom and the point of the bent license plate roof at the top.

Lay the front piece of wood on a flat surface in a diagonal position. Measure 2 inches down from the top corner and cut a 1-inch circular opening with a hole saw.

Cut one piece of 3/4-inch wood measuring 3-1/2-by-4-1/2 inches. Cut another piece o 3/4-inch wood measuring 3-1/2-by-3-3/4 inches. These are the two sides of the birdhouse.

Stand the two side pieces of wood on their 3/4-inch edges with the 3-1/2-inch dimension in a vertical position. Glue them together, the 3/4-inch edge of the shorter piece butted against the larger piece, so they meet at the corners in a "V" shape with the point at the bottom. After placing the pieces together, both the sides should measure 4-1/2 inches. Hold the glued edges together with clamps and allow them to dry.

Draw a bead of wood glue on the 3/4-inch edges that are facing up. Place the front of the birdhouse on top of the two sides, lining up the edges. Hold the glued edges together with clamps and allow them to dry.

Turn the birdhouse over and glue the back to the birdhouse. Hold the glued edges together with clamps and allow them to dry.

Nail the front and back of the birdhouse to the sides for added strength.

Paint the birdhouse for a finished look. Coordinate the paint with the colors of the license plate. Don't paint the inside if you're using the house outdoors for birds.

Bend the license plate to a 90-degree angle to serve as the roof. If the license plate's mounting holes line up with the wood edges, attach it to the house with 1/2-inch wood screws. If the holes don't line up, drill pilot holes for the screws.

Glue an old cabinet pull or knob underneath the hole as a perch if this is a decorative item for inside the home.

Drill a pilot hole in two opposite sides of the license plate, then attach a screw eye to each side. Thread the eyes with a chain to hang the house from a tree branch outside, or a hook inside the home.

Things You'll Need:

  • Scrap wood
  • Table saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Hole saw
  • 1-inch hole saw blade
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • 1-inch nails
  • Hammer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • License plate
  • 1/2-inch wood screws
  • Cabinet pull
  • Screw eyes
  • Chain
  • Silicone caulk


If you intend to use the house outdoors, research what size hole is appropriate for the birds in your area. A 1-inch hole is not big enough for every bird.

If you are going to hang the birdhouse outside, run a bead of silicone caulk to the seam where the license plate attaches to the wood so the inside of the house stays dry. Silicone caulk is waterproof and paintable.


  • A perch on a working birdhouse isn't necessary. It only gives predators something to to hang onto while attempting to gain access to the inside.
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