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Ornamental Butterfly House

Create a whimsical garden ornament that you can paint or finish to suit the color of your home or garden.

Painted butterfly house in a garden setting

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Miter saw
  • Jigsaw with fine-tooth blade
  • Drill and bit set
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Hammer and countersink
  • Wood putty
  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Exterior wood glue
  • Mineral spirits


  • 1 x 6 x 6 pine board, #1157
  • 1/2 x 6 x 36 pine craft board, #50262
  • 2 - 1/2 x 1/2 x 36 square dowels, #27692
  • 4 - 1-3/8-in x 7-7/8-in wood shims, #3969
  • 1/2-in galvanized pipe flange, #22440
  • 1/2-in x 60-in galvanized pipe, #24070
  • #12 x 1-in flathead wood screws
  • 4d finishing nails
  • Valspar Duramax paint: Cool Hue (#4005-9B) and Simply Periwinkle (4005-10A)

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online

Project Resources


Assemble the House

Step 1

From the 1 x 6, cut the front/back (A), sides (B), and bottom (C) to length. Sand all the parts with 120-grit sandpaper. From the 1/2 x 5-1/2 cedar board, cut the large roof (D) and small roof (E) to length. Then cut 1/2 inch from the width of the small roof, making it 5 inches wide.

Step 2

On the top ends of the front and back boards, mark the centers of the top ends. Tape the boards together and make two 45-degree cuts that meet in the center to form the peaks of the front and back.

Step 3

Jigsaw the front opening
Drill four holes, one in each corner, and saw out the square center

On the front (A), mark the location of the cutout where shown in the Butterfly House Project Diagram. Drill 1/2-inch holes in each corner of the waste portion of the cutout and use a jigsaw to cut the opening.

Step 4

Glue and clamp the front and back to the bottom. After the glue dries for about an hour, glue and clamp the sides in place. Let the glue dry for another hour and reinforce the glue joints with finish nails. Countersink the heads of the nails.

Step 5

Cut the front trim peak
Cut 45-degree angles to form the peak.

From the 1/2-inch-square dowels, cut four pieces of long front trim (F), three pieces of short front trim (G), and three pieces of medium front trim (H). Lay out the parts as shown in the House Front Addition Assembly, glue the edges to be joined, and clamp them together. After the glue dries, mark the center of the top end and cut 45-degree miters that meet in the center to form the peak.

Step 6

Sand the front and sides of the dowel assembly and glue it to the front, covering the opening. Sand the remaining butterfly house where needed, prime, and apply two or more coats of paint (Valspar Duramax in Cool Hue, #4005-9B, and Simply Periwinkle, #4005-10A, shown).

Add Shingles and Hardware

Step 1

Glue and clamp the large and small roof pieces. (The two sides of the assembled roof should be the same size.) Sand the assembled roof, wipe clean, and apply primer. Then apply two coats of paint (Cool Hue shown).

Step 2

From the packages of shims, set aside 12 full-length shims (I). From the rest, cut 12 shims 4 inches long (J) and another 12 at 2-1/2 inches (K). You’ll also need another four full-length shims (L) for the front.

Step 3

Add shims for roof shingles
Glue and press long shims into place to resemble roof shingles.

Glue the long shims to both sides of the roof with the wide ends flush with the bottom edge of the roof (D/E). They should come within about 1/4 inch from the peak. After the glue dries, add the medium shims and then the short shims with the ends touching at the peak.

Step 4

Apply either primer and paint or spar varnish to the shim shingles. (Clear coatings will need to be sanded and new coats added annually.) Apply glue to the angled portions of the front and back and install the roof with a 5/8-inch overhang in front. Tape the roof to the front and back until the glue dries. When the roof is complete, cut and add shims to the front trim.

Step 5

Clean the pipe flange and threaded pipe with mineral spirits and wipe dry. Prime and paint the flange and pipe. After the last coat dries, center the flange on the bottom of the butterfly house and screw it in place.

Step 6

Drive the pipe in the ground where you want your butterfly house. Protect the threads on the end by holding a piece of scrapwood over the pipe end as you hammer. Thread the pipe into the flange.