“Repurposing Milk Jugs into DIY Birdhouses”

“Repurposing Milk Jugs into DIY Birdhouses”

Repurposing Milk Jugs into DIY Birdhouses


As the weather gets warmer and spring arrives, it’s the perfect time to welcome feathered friends into your backyard by making homemade birdhouses. One of the easiest and most eco-friendly ways to build birdhouses is by repurposing clean and dry plastic milk jugs. Milk jugs make a great material for DIY birdhouses because they are sturdy, waterproof, and readily available.

In this article, I will provide a step-by-step guide to transforming milk jugs into charming and functional birdhouses. We will cover the following topics in detail:

  • Benefits of repurposing milk jugs
  • What you need to make a milk jug birdhouse
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Decorating and customizing your birdhouse
  • Placement and maintenance tips

So read on to learn how you can give new life to old milk jugs and create a beautiful home for neighborhood birds!

Benefits of Repurposing Milk Jugs

Before we dive into the how-to, let’s first look at why repurposing milk jugs makes for an ideal DIY birdhouse project:

  • Eco-friendly: Repurposing milk jugs keeps plastic out of landfills and reduces waste. It’s a green way to create a birdhouse!
  • Durable: High-density polyethylene plastic makes milk jugs sturdy, weatherproof, and durable as a birdhouse.
  • Good insulation: The hollow plastic provides insulation to keep interior temps stable.
  • Customizable: Milk jugs can be painted, decorated, and modified easily.
  • Affordable: Recycling your own jugs means the materials are free!

As you can see, giving milk jugs new life as a handmade birdhouse is rewarding in many ways. Now let’s look at what you need to get started.

What You Need to Make a Milk Jug Birdhouse

Making a birdhouse from a plastic milk jug is a pretty straightforward craft. You likely already have most, if not all, of the supplies needed at home:

  • Clean, dry 1-gallon plastic milk jug
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Drill with 1 1⁄4” drill bit (for drainage/ventilation holes)
  • Exterior wood glue or strong waterproof glue
  • Waterproof sealant (optional)
  • Acrylic craft paint and/or decorative materials
  • Wire for hanging (8-10 gauge)

The tools and materials needed are very minimal, making this a budget-friendly project! Now, let’s go through the easy steps of how to construct the birdhouse.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these instructions closely to create your milk jug birdhouse:

Step 1: Clean and Prepare the Milk Jug

  • Thoroughly clean and dry the 1-gallon milk jug. Make sure no milk residue remains inside.
  • Remove the cap and cut off the bottom of the jug.
  • Rinse and allow to fully dry before decorating.

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Entrance Hole

  • Using the ruler and pencil, measure and outline a 1 1⁄2” circle 2” down from the cut top of the jug. This will be the birdhouse entrance.
  • Carefully cut out the circle using a craft knife or scissors. Be sure to cut a clean edge.

Step 3: Add Ventilation and Drainage Holes

  • Turn the jug so the bottom is facing up. This will be the floor of the birdhouse.
  • Use the 1 1⁄4” drill bit to make several ventilation holes evenly spaced across the bottom.
  • Drill 2-3 larger holes for drainage.

Step 4: Decorate and Seal the Birdhouse

  • Paint the birdhouse with acrylic craft paint in your desired colors.
  • Add any additional decorative details, like faux wood grain.
  • Allow paint to fully dry.
  • Optional: Apply waterproof sealant to the inside and outside of the jug. Allow to dry fully.

Step 5: Add Hanging Wire

  • Use the drill to make two holes on opposite sides of the jug near the top.
  • Cut a piece of 8-10 gauge wire double the desired hanging length. Thread wire through the holes.
  • Twist ends together to create a hanger. Hang your completed birdhouse!

And that’s it! With just a few easy steps and minimal tools, you can repurpose old milk jugs into charming birdhouses for your backyard.

Decorating and Customizing Your Birdhouse

The great thing about repurposing plastic milk jugs is they can be decorated in any way you choose. Get creative with these decorating ideas:

  • Paint or stencil fun designs and patterns onto your birdhouse.
  • Glue on faux flowers, vines, leaves or moss with hot glue.
  • Use colorful duct tape to make stripes or geometric shapes.
  • Add a stenciled house number or street sign.
  • Glue on googly eyes or decorations to make a cute character.
  • Transfer print vintage wallpaper scraps.
  • Attach a small wreath to the entrance with a ribbon.

Paint is the easiest way to dress up a milk jug birdhouse, but you can get as crafty as you like. Customize your birdhouse to match your home’s style!

Placement and Maintenance Tips

To get the most use out of your DIY birdhouse, proper placement and maintenance are key:

  • Mount your birdhouse 5-6 feet off the ground on a tree, fence post, or pole.
  • Face the entrance away from prevailing winds and rain.
  • Clean out the birdhouse at the end of winter before new nesting seasons.
  • Fill birdhouse with 2-3 inches of wood shavings or straw for nesting material.
  • Use a baffle to deter predators from climbing the pole.
  • Consider purchasing a birdhouse heating kit to provide warmth in winter.
  • Move the birdhouse to a new location in your yard each season to prevent disease.

With the right placement and care, your milk jug birdhouse will provide shelter for birds to safely nest and raise their young. Checking on it regularly ensures many seasons of use.


Constructing DIY birdhouses from repurposed milk jugs is a fun, easy, and eco-friendly activity. With just basic tools, simple instructions, and a bit of creativity, you can turn plastic waste into a charming backyard birdhouse. The process is very approachable even for beginners and kids.

Customize your creation with paint, add-ons, or other embellishments to match your personal style. Use proper placement and maintenance to ensure your feathered friends enjoy their new home. So put your empty milk jugs to good use and build an adorable DIY haven for neighborhood birds!