Making a Chickadee Bird House or Wren House from a Tissue Box Cover

Making a Chickadee Bird House or Wren House from a Tissue Box Cover

This tissue box cover was one of the last things I snapped up at a favorite thrift store before it closed. And yes, I’m still a little pouty that the shop is gone because it was SO close to home and provided me SO many projects. But, anyway- I liked the solid construction of the tissue box holder but didn’t have a project in mind.

Tissue box holder or Tissue box cover at thrift store for upcycling into a wren house

On a whim, I challenged my Facebook page pals to give me ideas on what to do. There were several suggestions, but my favorite came from my friend, Clair, who suggested a DIY bird house.

Making a chickadee bird house or wren house by upcycling a tissue box cover from the thrift store

And that was all I needed as motivation- I’d somehow manhandle this tissue box cover into a wren house or chickadee bird house. Maybe a quirky looking one, but I loved the idea of it nonetheless.

Upcycling a tissue box cover or kleenex box into a DIY bird house or wren house

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Upcycling a Tissue Box Cover into a DIY Bird House

Right off the bat, I knew I needed to create a smaller bird house “entrance” hole; the existing oval-shaped hole for facial tissues was way too big for a wren house. If you remember this project, I discussed the smallest recommended hole size (per Audubon) for wrens and chickadees (which always nest in our yard).

So, just like before, I used a hole cutting bit on a square of thin plywood that was the right size for tiny birds.

Reducing the hole size on a tissue box cover to make it suitable as a wren house or chickadee bird house

After it was cut and sanded down, I glued it to the inside of the tissue box cover, clamping it down overnight.

Using wood glue to attach the plywood inside a tissue box holder to make it a chickadee bird house

Because the back panel of the tissue box cover had a large finger hole (for sliding in and out easily), I also glue a strip of thin wood over it.

Plywood to make a small entrance hole for a wren house or chickadee bird house

Finishing Touches on a Chickadee Bird House / Wren House

Next, I painted everything white and distressed ever so slightly before sealing with top coat (inside and out). This was an important step since it’s going to be a bird house living outside!

Painting and sealing a DIY bird house or wren house that was made from a tissue box holder

Now for a fun little embellishment that also serves an important function! I didn’t want to seal the box cover “flap” closed for ease of cleaning out the chickadee bird house, etc. But I needed to ensure that it wouldn’t open randomly once it was outside.

So, I used some picture frame turn buttons that can be turned to either keep it closed or allow it to open!

Picture frame turn buttons to keep the top closed on a chickadee bird house that was made from a kleenex box

With my drill, I simply screwed them into the frame of the tissue box cover, right next to the “door”.

Screwing in the picture frame turn buttons to keep the door closed on a wren house or DIY bird house

Not shown but other steps- I glued the back panel (now bottom panel) in place. I also drilled a couple of small holes in the bottom for drainage and air flow (important for bird houses to keep mold/mildew from building up inside).

To finish up the wren house from a tissue box cover, I took one of the old license plates from my stash and bent it in half. I would use this as the roof of my DIY bird house!

Old license plates can be bent in half to become a roof on a bird house to put in the yard

Wren House or Chickadee Bird House from a Tissue Box Cover

Lastly, I secured it to the top of the chickadee bird house with washers and screws.

Wren house or chickadee bird house from a tissue box cover and old license plates

Can you tell I wanted to emulate a white farmhouse with a red tin roof? For this native Chicagolander, the fact that I found a red Illinois farm plate was an added bonus.

And there it is! Challenge accepted and DIY bird house from a tissue box cover completed. It almost has a mid century modern feel to it, yes?

Making a chickadee bird house from a tissue box holder or Kleenex box and old license plates

Side note- we attached to our back porch on the low side for photographing, but will move it up higher afterwards. Somewhere between the ground and the roof.

This definitely sparked a new game in my head…maybe I’ll ask my Facebook pals to challenge me again with another secondhand treasure soon.

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea for a DIY bird house, then you’ll love this suet feeder that I made from a thrift store coffee mug!

Coffee mug or coffee cup from the thrift store upcycled into a suet bird feeder

Craft on!


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  1. Jeannie Wallace says

    Would you happen to have any advice on how to put together one of the birdhouses that attach to your window so you can watch them nest? I’m not sure about materials to upcycle and my daughter wants one so bad. She’s even been working with our other animals to earn it. Could sure use your expertise on this one. Thank you for sharing your excellent new birdhouse.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      The kind that attaches to the glass with suction cups? I actually don’t like those because I’ve had suction cup feeders fail and fall to the ground…which is ok if it’s a feeder, but I would be devastated it it was a house with a nest and eggs/chicks inside.

  2. Karen Benitez says


  3. d brossy says

    as always, another clever redo! charming birdhouse, most especially because of where it all started.

  4. Since I am nuts (!) about birds and other wildlife in my yard, this is absolutely my favorite. Now I will look for same type of box!! Thanks for the idea.

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Is your yard Certified Wildlife Habitat?? I have a blog post on it, but sounds like you’d probably qualify!

  5. Charleen Adams says

    That is the most unique use for your tissue box. It turned out so well. Keep up the creative work., enjoy all your projects.

  6. It turned out so cute! The next time I am in the thrift store I am going to buy everything I see, because I know you will inspire me on how to repurpose it haha 🙂

  7. Such a great vision for a wooden tissue box and love the “red” license plate roof! As always, you amaze me with your creativity, Sarah 🙂

  8. Look at you go girl, this is just the sweetest birdhouse. I love your red and white color scheme, and I’m certain your feathered friends will too! I have never seen a tissue cover like that, so now. . . I must search, let the quest begin! LOL

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Thanks, Kaycee!! Someone on the FB page said it was part of a canister set and not a tissue box…which is bewildering to me, but she swears up and down that it’s just missing the plexi behind the opening. What do I know? LOL

  9. Naomi Shelton says

    Sadie, what a great birdie house! Very inspired and cute. I hope it has tenants soon!

  10. What a perfect way to reuse a Kleenex box holder. I do need more birdhouses! Next trip to thrift store I will have to keep that in mind. Maybe I can come up with something cool to turn into a birdhouse.

  11. Do you have anymore suggestions if we don’t have a wooden tissue box to use if we made a house out of paint stirrers would that be strong enough for the wrens?

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      I’ve never built one from scratch or used paint sticks to build one. Most bird houses are made of wood thicker than paint sticks, though- I’d be worried that the stirrers wouldn’t be strong enough against wind and rain or provide the kind of insulation that stronger wood would provide.

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