How to Make a Red Cardinal Birdhouse

Build your own Red Cardinal Birdhouse

If red cardinals swarm your property this project is for you.  Cardinals are territorial birds and particular when it comes to nesting so it made sense to dedicate a birdhouse enhancing their instincts.

Use bird feeders to attract and keep in mind they only nest in the same place once; This got me thinking their finicky.

Their nests are composed of dry leaves, grass and twigs.  They also tend to build nests lower to the ground, near fence lines, interior brush and close to water such as a creek.

They seek open homes verses closed birdhouses and will only occupy if it meets their approval. These birds are a real kick and I was thrilled to learn we have the perfect environment to match their instincts. Which explains why we have such a large volume taking residence.

This birdhouse was designed for Red Cardinals, this fun project will keep you busy from start to finish and it’s perfect for adults and kiddos with a good attention span.

Cut Birdhouse Wood pieces using a Chop saw

This post contains affiliate links for Dixie Belle Paint, Click here to read site terms.

Wood, Measurements and Inspiration

These small projects are inspired by spending time outdoors; I create in a quite space by myself without interruption using leftover wood.  This means it’s easy to change out materials and make something similar if you don’t have access to the wood listed below.

Many times, wood can be acquired from the scrap bin at any hardware store.  When I prepare kits for workshops new wood is purchased and the materials list reflects that.

Wood and Building Materials

  • 6 ft. cedar fence board – Cut 3 at 7 in. and 1 at 9 in.
  • 8 ft. 2 x 6 Pine board – Cut 1 at 8 in.
  • 8 ft. 1 x 2 Pine board – Cut 2 at 7 in.
  • Electric Saw
  • Hammer + Finishing nails + Hanging Screw
  • Sand paper

Finishing Materials

  • Rustic Red Dixie Belle Paint – Get Here
  • Paint Rag
  • Staple gun and Scissors
  • Ribbon and Raffia – optional but it sure is cute!
  • Stencils of your choice – Mine came from Old Sign Stencils here

Staining wood with Dixie Belle Paint

Step One

  1. Begin with Cutting the boards to their appropriate measurements.
  2. Sand wood until smooth.
  3. Paint Stain the three pine boards with a rag and my favorite Dixie Belle paint,  Paint Stain Technique here

Connect the birdhouse exterior walls to the base

Step Two

  1. Use finishing nails and attach three same size cedar boards to the 2 x 6 stained board beginning with the back wall first.
  2. Add the side walls connecting from the bottom and back wall.
  3. Little note I drilled pilot holes first and used two nails per gathering point.

Connecting the Roof of the birdhouse

Step Three

  1. Add the roof by placing one red piece onto of the final cedar cut and connect with finishing nails from the inside.  This step adds color, detail to the house and a place to add a hanging screw.
  2. Take two finishing nails per each side and begin attaching the roof.
  3. Finish by using at least 4 nails to connect the roof to the back wall.
  4. Add the last red board to the front opening of the birdhouse, this will keep the nest from falling out and add a little protection from bad weather.


Finished Red Cardinal Birdhouse

At this point in the project I add a few stencil details to dress up the house.  This is optional and you can get my how to stencil instructions here. These details personalize the end result making it your own.

Adding Final details that make this birdhouse unique

Step Four

Step four is also optional but I must admit it’s one of my favorites because it’s so simple.  Take less than a yard of ribbon and attach directly to the wood using a staple gun. Then add the raffia around the hanger in strips to attacks attention.

This house can hang from a tree branch using wire or screw into a fence post from the interior back wall.  I would recommend placing this birdhouse near a feeder to inspires nesting.  Wouldn’t it be neat to watch a new generation hatch and leave the nest?


How to Make a Red Cardinal Birdhouse


  1. Patti says:

    Hi Carole,

    This is adorable and love hearing about the kinds of nests red cardinals like to build. We do see them here in PA and their bright color is so beautiful and hard to miss. I love that paint color choice. It’s great that it has no VOC. Even though your using it outdoors I often get a headache from paint and the low or no VOC is a big help.

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you – this project is really fun to make. That paint is amazing and it dries very fast, so I gave away all my other paint and I’m only using this now. Next week I plan to do a demo post. So that color…. I love it too and thinking it would be a neat accent color in our Tiny House… I was going to try and stay away from the reds but it seems to be calling me again. Funny…. I just love color… They have a neat gravel road color I like too.

  2. daisy says:

    Wow, I would love to make some of these! What a great winter project. We have a ton of cardinals using our feeders.
    I don’t have a table saw, can I use a sawz-all to cut the wood?
    It really turned out lovely. You are so talented.

    1. Carole says:

      This would be such a fun project for you to make and yes that saw would work, chop or skill saw would also be good options. Enjoy and would love to see your finished project.

  3. mickie mclaughlin says:

    Hello Carole….this is a cute house. I had no idea that cardinals like open-type nests. I have a ton of cardinals here and tell my sisters that I have a cardinal sanctuary. I thought it was because I feed them regularly. I do know that they prefer GROUND FEEDING over eating from a hanging feeder. They also like cracked corn mixed in with their seeds. Also learned that they are the “first” to arrive at feeding station just as day is breaking and the “last” to frequent the station in the evening as the sun is setting. I can hear their little “chirp” so know they are out there. So much to learn…….

    I too love the paint you are using. This is such a nice muted color/

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you Mickie- I just got back from NYC late last night so it was a nice surprise to wake up to your sweet comment. I just went out to feed Dixie (it’s cold here) anyways the cardinals were scattering everywhere. Such a pretty thing to see first thing in the morning. This paint is Awesome!

  4. Cheryl says:

    Oh, how pretty! I love the burlap, especially. 🙂

    1. Carole says:

      Yes that ribbon is fun!

  5. Kathy says:

    I think this would be great for someone who just lost a loved one. They say that a cardinal is a sign from heaven for your loved one.

    1. Carole says:

      I’ve hear that too, it would make a neat gift or something…

      1. Kathleen Ekas says:

        How wide is the cedar fence board?

        1. Carole says:

          Fence board were purchased at Home Depot and they come in one size, 6 ft Tall X 5.34 inches wide May vary I’ve purchased the same board at 6 inches.

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