How to Build a Trailer Birdhouse

Pair of Baby Tree Swallows (tachycineta bicolor) image by Steve Byland from

Things You'll Need

  • 1 piece of 12-by-12 inch cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • 3 sheets of 1/2 inch plywood 12-by-12 inch
  • 1 tube of paintable caulk
  • 1 tube of liquid nails wood glue
  • Electric jig saw
  • Electric circular saw
  • Electric drill
  • Safety glasses
  • gloves
  • 1/16 inch drill bit
  • 1/2 inch drill bit
  • 1 1/8 inch hole saw
  • 1 ft. wooden dowel 1/2 inch diameter
  • Exterior Paint
  • Small paint brushes
  • 2 1/4 inch screw eyes
  • 2 ft. of wire

Birdhouses come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Building a birdhouse syled to look like a small house trailer may take a little more time, but it can be a fun woodworking project or group activity that builds hand skills, creativity, and even teamwork. It could also serve as a great contest for scout groups and 4-H clubs, or even a fund-raising event. Once the trailer birdhouse is built, you can place it anywhere and be assured that both birds and people alike will enjoy it for many years to come.

Make and Cut Out the Patterns

A pattern for a typical camper trailer
wohnmobil image by Ewe Degiampietro from

Start from the lower right-hand corner edge and with a ruler draw a 10-inch line along the bottom of the cardboard and then curve it up and outward until you have reached seven inches up from the bottom. Draw an oval trailer shape by making a line coming back across the cardboard and slightly curve it downward until it reaches the bottom edge of the cardboard where you began. This is the pattern of the large sides of the camper trailer. Cut out the pattern on the cardboard.

Cutting plywood with an electric jigsaw
electric fret-saw image by Cherry-Merry from

Take the cardboard trailer pattern and place the 10-inch straight side along the edge of of one of the 12-by-12 inch pieces of plywood. Holding the cardboard tightly in place, trace the pattern onto the wood with the pencil. Repeat and draw the same pattern on another piece of 12-by-12 inch plywood. Use a jigsaw to follow the patterns and cut out both sides of the trailer. Save the scrap for later.

Use the 1 1/8-inch hole saw to cut a hole in the center of one of the house sides. There will be a circular piece of wood scrap inside the hole saw when you're finished; remove it and save this to use as one of the wheels later. Change the drill to the 1/2-inch drill bit and drill a hole about one inch under the hole for a perch.

Cut out another 1 1/8-inch hole with the hole saw in one of the scrap pieces left over in Step 2. As before, remove the circular piece from the hole saw to sue as the trailer's second wheel.

Build the Camper Trailer

Take the excess wood 5-by-12 inch pieces and use the circular saw to cut one 4 1/2-inch by 10-inch piece to be used for the bottom of the trailer birdhouse. Take the third piece of plywood and cut twelve 4 1/2 inch by 2-inch strips to be used for the top and the ends of the birdhouse.

Take the 4 1/2 by 10-inch piece of wood and carefully glue the edges to the bottom of the cut-out trailer pieces so that the two sides of the trailer are directly across from each other.

Take the 4 1/2 by 2-inch strips and glue the edges of the pieces horizontally inside the edges of each of the sides, making sure the edges are tight to completely enclose the trailer. Finally, glue the wheels in place on each side of the house.

Let all of these dry for 20 minutes. Once this is dry take the caulk and squeeze it into any spaces to seal any gaps in the trailer.

Take the circular saw and cut the 12 inch wooden dowel in half and glue it into the 1/2 inch hole to make the perch for the birdhouse. Use the remaining wood to make trim, such as a window frame, a trailer hitch, or even little signs with sayings like "Home Sweet Home" to make it look like an old fashioned camper trailer. Paint the trailer birdhouse with any colors you like.

Finish the trailer birdhouse by taking the 1/16 drill bit and drilling two tiny holes in the top of the trailer. Screw in the 1/4-inch screw eyes and attach the 2-foot wire for hanging. Find a nearby tree and your trailer birdhouse is ready for occupancy.