Build your feathered friend a beautiful birdcage using salvaged windows.
Tools and Materials
General construction tools
- Measuring tape
- Table or circular saw
- Safety glasses
Birdcage tools and materials
- Two large salvaged windows
- Peel Away paint stripper
- Putty knife
- Paint scraper
- Heavy-duty gloves
- 1/2-inch, 22-gauge chicken wire (also known as sparrow netting) or stainless steel wire
- Heavy-duty staple gun and staples
- Wood glue
- Balsa wood
- Lengths of one-by-three poplar lumber
- "L" brackets
- Wood screws
- 2-inch lattice pieces
- Tack nails
- Lengths of one-by-one poplar lumber
- Galvanized garden tray
- 1/2-inch plywood
- Two sets of hinges
- Door latch
- Drawer pull
- EZ-glide floor protectors
- 1/2-inch quarter-round trim molding
- 4 casters (optional)
Specific dimensions are not given in this how-to, as the size of your birdcage will depend on the size of your windowpanes. The depth of the birdcage should be determined by the size of the tray chosen for the bottom.
If constructing a cage for a bird that chews and bites on things, like a parrot, use stainless steel wire instead of sparrow netting.
1. Clean any dust and dirt from salvaged windowpanes. Using a putty knife, generously cover wood with Peel Away paint stripper and cover with included paper. Allow paint stripper to work overnight.
2. Peel away paper to reveal stripped wood. Clean and sand bare wood, if necessary.
Important note: Carefully and entirely remove any old paint from the windows to avoid exposing pets to contaminants.
3. Wearing heavy-duty gloves, remove existing caulk and glass panes from window frame. Check window frame and grill for any small shards of glass before removing gloves.
4. Cut chicken wire to size of window frame. Staple in place around inside edges with a staple gun. Cut strips of balsa wood to size and attach over stapled raw edges of chicken wire with wood glue.
5. With poplar and "L" brackets, create a rectangle for one side of the birdcage that is the height of the windows and desired depth of cage. Use wood glue in the seams when securing the brackets. Cut chicken wire to size of rectangle, and staple in place around edges with staple gun. Attach pieces of lattice with wood glue and tack nails to cover raw edges of wire.
6. Cut a plywood base to dimensions of birdcage. Attach three sides to plywood base with screws. Add two 1-by-1 poplar stabilizing bars to fourth side, one flush with the top of the other three sides, and one raised from the bottom, enough to allow entry and exit of galvanized tray.
7. To make door: Make another rectangle with poplar and L brackets, sized to fit between the stabilizing bars. Add chicken wire and cover raw edges as you did for the other elements.
8. Cut a roof from plywood and attach to top.
9. Line up door between stabilizing bars. Mark hinges on door and frame. Drill pilot holes, and attach hinges with screws to door and frame. Mark, pre-drill, and attach latch in the same way.
10. Finish the birdcage by adding quarter-round trim molding to top and bottom edges. Paint desired color.
11. Add a drawer pull to the side of the tray, and add EZ-glide protectors to the bottom of the tray to make for smooth sliding in and out of cage.
12. Add casters to bottom of cage, if desired.
Galvanized garden tray (Martha used an 11-by-30-inch tray, but other sizes are available) can be found at Jamali Garden Supply. Half-inch galvanized chicken wire or sparrow netting is available in a 4-by-25-inch roll from Louis E. Page. Stainless steel wire is available at twpinc.com. Eco Spec paint is available from Benjamin Moore. Peel Away paint stripper is available from Dumond Chemicals. All other tools and materials are available at The Home Depot.