I absolutely love repurposing common household items into fun DIY projects. One of my favorite repurposing ideas is to turn empty tuna cans into cute little birdhouses. Not only is this project environmentally friendly, but it also results in adorable decorative pieces for your home or garden.
The main item I need for this project is obvious – empty tuna cans. I save cans from tuna packed in water, as well as flavored tuna packets. Just make sure to rinse the cans thoroughly after enjoying the tuna.
In addition to tuna cans, here are the other supplies I use:
- Acrylic or tempera paint in desired colors
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Popsicle sticks for perches
- Small dowels or twigs for perches
- Twine or jute string
- Drill and various drill bits
- Sandpaper (optional)
I also like to collect small decor items like buttons, beads, seashells, and tiny pebbles to decorate the birdhouses. Get creative with the embellishments!
Prepping and Painting the Cans
Before painting my cans, I make sure they are clean and dry. If needed, I lightly sand the tuna cans to rough up the surface so the paint adheres better.
I then decide if I want to spray paint or brush paint the cans. Spray paint allows me to easily cover the entire exterior surface. But brush painting is great if I want to do more intricate decorative painting.
I always paint the inside of the cans as well, even if just with white paint. This prevents the interior metal from rusting over time.
If I’m feeling really creative, I’ll use multiple colors to make fun patterns on my birdhouses! Once fully dry, I add a coat of clear sealer spray paint to protect the painted designs.
Creating the House Front
To turn my painted tuna can into an actual birdhouse, I need to cut an entrance hole and create a front façade.
I research the appropriate hole size for the type of bird I want to attract. For small songbirds, a 1-1.5 inch diameter hole is best. I measure and mark the hole placement before using a drill to carefully cut it out. Wear eye protection when drilling metal.
For the front, I like to use another can. I’ll cut strips from a soda can and bend them into shape for a whimsical awning style roof. Or I’ll cut shapes like hearts or stars out of tin sheets to decorate the front.
Getting creative with the house front design is so much fun! I often use glue and twine to attach found objects like beads, sticks, or seashells around the entrance hole.
Adding a Perch and Hanging
To give my feathered friends a place to land, I hot glue popsicle sticks, small sticks, or dowels below the entrance hole to create a perch.
The final step is adding a hanger! I make small holes near the top of the can and thread twine, ribbon, or string through to create a hanging loop.
After letting the glue dry fully, my whimsical tuna can birdhouse is ready to hang up outside! I love seeing adorable birds move into my repurposed tuna can homes.
Tips and Tricks
Follow these tips to make the most unique and creative tuna can birdhouses:
- Clean cans thoroughly to limit odors after painting
- Sand rough edges for better paint adherence
- Use acrylic paint for easy washability
- Choose good quality glue like hot glue or E6000
- Seal paint with clear spray for outdoor durability
- Customize with decorations that match your style
- Monitor houses and replace twine as needed
- Repaint periodically to freshen up designs
With some simple materials and creativity, I can transform something as mundane as a tuna can into a beautiful birdhouse! This eco-friendly craft is fun for all ages.