How to make our hollow, horizontal birdhouse:
1. Ask your child to remove the plastic lid from the empty coffee can and set it aside. Using the coffee can as a stencil, trace a circle on a sheet of birch bark with your child. Repeat, this time using the plastic lid as the stencil, and cut out both circles.
2. Moisten one sheet of birch bark with water, and gently wrap it around the coffee can. Allowing the ends to overlap by about 1", trim the excess bark using cuticle scissors (or any other small, sharp pair of scissors). Also trim the sides of the bark to the length of the can, leaving no overlap. Have your child help you place a large rubber band over each end to secure the bark in place. Let the bark dry overnight, or blow it dry with a hair dryer to save time.
3. Slide the coffee can out from the dry bark and set it aside. Turn the cylinder on its side, like a tunnel, with the overlapped bark centered on top. Punch a hole through the overlapped bark at each end with the hole punch, 1/2" from the edge.
4. Help your child thread the 24" piece of cord through a hole at one end only.
5. Remove the rubber bands with your child, and glue the 1" overlap in place. Carefully secure with large hairpins or clothespins. Thread the piece of cord along the interior of the bark and through the hole at the opposite end of the cylinder, leaving an equal length of cord hanging from each hole.
6. Help your child spread glue along the inside of the cylinder and slide the coffee can back in place. Wrap with rubber bands to secure, and let the bark dry for an hour.
7. While it's drying, glue the can-size circle of bark to the bottom of the can. To make the doorway, help your child cut out a circular hole with a 2" diameter approximately 1" from the top of the remaining circle of bark. Lay the circle of bark over the plastic lid, and have your child trace the cut-out circle. Cut the same-size hole out of the lid. Glue the circle of bark onto the lid so that the doorway cutouts line up. About an hour later, when the glue is completely dry, help your child press the lid onto the front of the can.
8. To make a perch, measure 1" down from the bottom of the doorway and punch a hole into the front of the birdhouse. Ask your child to stick the narrow twig through the hole, pushing it 2/3 of the way inside the house.
9. To hang the birdhouse, tie the cord ends securely around a low-hanging branch in your yard. Then start birdwatching!
What you'll need
- 12-ounce coffee can with plastic lid
- 2 sheets of birch bark, approximately 18" by 9" ($6.50/sheet at B&J Florist Supply: 212-564-6086; 212-564-6087)
- cuticle scissors or other sharp scissors
- large rubber bands
- hair dryer
- hole punch X 24" piece of cord
- large hairpins or clothespins
- strong craft glue
- narrow twig, about 6" long