How to Make a Milk Carton Birdhouse

Here's a great reason to drink your milk: When you've emptied the carton, you can make this simple house for your feathered friends.


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You Will Need

  • An empty quart-size milk carton
  • A stapler
  • Masking tape
  • A soft cloth or rag
  • Brown shoe polish
  • Scissors or a small precision knife
  • A grown-up to help with cutting
  • A pointy screwdriver or something to poke holes in the carton
  • Twine
  • A twig or small branch (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Rinse out carton

    Rinse out the milk carton thoroughly and let it dry.

  2. Step 2

    Staple shut

    Close the carton and staple it shut. It will look like it did when your mom or dad bought it.

  3. Step 3

    Cover with tape

    Tear or cut pieces of masking tape that are two or three inches long and stick them all over the carton until you've covered it completely.

  4. If you overlap the edges of the tape slightly, you'll cover the carton better.

  5. Step 4

    Rub shoe polish

    Dab some shoe polish onto the cloth and rub it all over the tape-covered carton. This will make the house look like it's made out of bark. Let the polish dry.

  6. You can also decorate the birdhouse by gluing moss all over it, or excelsior, green stuff that looks a lot like moss that you can buy at a crafts store.

  7. Step 5

    Make door

    To make the door, have a grownup cut a circle that's an inch to an inch and a half in diameter about 4 inches above the bottom of the carton.

  8. To make a perch inside the birdhouse, poke holes in opposite sides of the carton and stick a twig through it.

  9. Step 6

    Make holes

    Make a few holes in the bottom of the carton for drainage and two holes in the top so that the birds can breathe.

  10. Ask a grown-up to poke the holes, too. That screwdriver could be sharp.

  11. Step 7

    String & hang

    Poke a hole through the very top of the house, where the milk carton forms a peak, and string a piece of twine through it. Tie a knot in the twine, hang the house from a tree, and wait for your new neighbors to move in.

  12. Wrens, tree swallows, and bluebirds prefer enclosed birdhouses like this one, while robins like open platforms for nesting.