Wren Birdhouse from a Wooden Tissue Box

Wren Birdhouse from a Wooden Tissue Box

This wooden tissue box was one of the last things I snapped up at a favorite thrift store before it closed. It was sturdy and well-made, but I didn’t have a project idea right away. After a while, though, I wondered if I could tweak it and use it as a wren birdhouse for the backyard.

wooden tissue box

Ok, I’m not 100% sure that this was, in fact, a tissue box cover. Maybe it was some sort of kitchen canister, but I’m going to call it a tissue box nonetheless!

Now, bear with me as I work through this upcycling idea. Imagine this wood tissue box cover turned 90 degrees…so that the bottom becomes the back. 

wood tissue box cover

Ok, maybe it’s hard to visualize now, but trust me. I think this wooden tissue box will become an adorable birdhouse! I just need to add a few things to it.

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Repurposing a Wooden Tissue Box

First, I took the wood tissue box cover apart. Or, rather, I removed the plastic insert and the sliding bottom to give it a good cleaning.

making a wren birdhouse

Then, I knew I needed to create a smaller birdhouse “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 to effectively reduce the existing hole size.

hole size for a house wren birdhouse

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

entrance hole for a wren birdhouse

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.

repurpose project with a wooden tissue box

Once the wood glue had dried, I could put the finishing touches on the wren birdhouse!

Finishing the Wren Birdhouse

Next, I painted everything white and distressed it 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 a wren birdhouse

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 birdhouse. But I needed to ensure that it wouldn’t open randomly once it was outside.

So, I used some picture frame turn buttons that could be turned to either keep it closed or allow it to open! Usually they’re found on the back of modern picture frames, holding the backing, glass, and photo tightly within the frame.

picture frame turn buttons

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

birdhouse hardware

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 birdhouse, I bent an old license plate in the center. Now my little birdhouse will have a colorful “tin” roof!

license plate craft idea

Lastly, I secured it to the top of the birdhouse with washers and screws.

Wren Birdhouse from a Wooden Tissue Box

And there it is! Fresh and ready to go outside.

license plate as a birdhouse roof

We opened the front door to drill the birdhouse to our back porch. Now that it’s there, it’s ready to be discovered by our local house wrens (or chickadees, since they need the same small entrance hole size).

wren birdhouse from a wooden tissue box

Can you tell I wanted to emulate a white farmhouse with a red tin roof? 

And guess what? IT WORKED! A house wren is currently building a nest inside.

house wren in a birdhouse

And if you enjoyed this upcycling idea for a wren bird house, then you may also be interested in getting your yard officially designated as Certified Wildlife Habitat!

How to Designate Your Yard as Certified Wildlife Habitat

Craft on!


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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  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.

  12. Really love this project and will now be on the lookout for a wooden tissue cover (or whatever it is!). I have the perfect place for another birdhouse…

  13. Meg Miller says

    This is just brilliant!

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