It’s been two months since I asked for your advice about how to display birdseed attractively, and I’ve finally finished the project! I feel like I deserve a parade (of bird puns).
While I appreciated the advice to “just let it go” and put the birdseed in some sort of metal bin, “just letting it go” isn’t really my strong suit. I decided that if I couldn’t find a really attractive birdseed storage container to buy, that I would just build one myself!
My groundbreaking idea was basically to buy one of the unattractive plastic containers (so the birdseed would be safely sealed away) and then build a wooden structure around it (so the ugly container would be hidden). I also wanted to do something fun with it, like make a nice pattern on the front out of wood, as I figured that would go well with the patterns and textures in the dining room. I also thought that the front pattern could also be the front legs in some way, to make this more interesting than just building a plain old box.
Other than that, I didn’t really have a strong plan… which is part of the reason why the whole thing took so long.
I waited to start the project until I actually had it in hand, so that I could work directly from it for measurements rather than trust the ones on the internet. Meanwhile, I collected the other supplies I’d need: wood strips, various shades of wood stain, a thin plywood backing for the patterned front, a nice 3/4″ plywood piece to form the bulk of the structure, and veneer edging for the plywood.
I started by making the front, which I described in a “project update” post already. Essentially, I was inspired by various wood pattern projects I’ve seen on other blogs, and stained boards of various widths to make a chevron panel for the front, built around the dimensions of my plastic container.
If the shape seems a little odd to you with the split in the front, that is because the front is supposed to come down farther than the bottom of the box to form the legs that will hold it up off the ground. You can see the cutoff in the picture below.
My plan was that the remaining pieces of stained wood left from cutting out this chevron piece from the center would also be put to good use as legs. At least I hoped so… again, I was pretty much making this up as I went along.
But first, I had to create the rest of the box to go with this front panel. Rather than mess with fancy tools like “tape measures,” I just laid the container down on the various pieces of wood, traced around it, and cut it out with my circular saw.
While the mechanics of cutting out squares to build a basic wooden box aren’t particularly exciting, it was really satisfying. I’m so much more comfortable with the tool than when I first started using it, and with that comfort (and a few additional projects like the saw guide I made) I’m much more efficient and accurate.
Once I had the sides, bottom, and back cut out, I put them all together with my kreg jig.
Woo hoo! It was satisfying to see everything line up and fit!
And the container fit, too!
With the structure created, it was time to play around with the placement of the remaining legs. I knew I wanted to attach them to the sides in the front and back, both to provide more of the pretty wood pattern as well as to serve as, well, legs.
Once I had them in an arrangement I liked, I marked the exact dimensions and cut them down to size.
This is the sort of thing where having a saw guide is a huge time saver…
I glued them into place. Once the glue dried, I reinforced them with a few screws since, as legs, they’ll be bearing the weight of all the birdseed!
The final element was to cut a top lid out of the plywood, which I had waited to measure for until I had the rest of it assembled.
This was the only piece of exposed plywood edge that would show in the final product – not the look I was going for! I covered it using iron-on veneer edging, like Sage used for her coffee table and I used for my bedroom storage chest.
Check out those posts for the main how-to details, but the innovation for me this time was picking up an edge trimmer (affiliate link – read our policies). The edging is a little thicker than the plywood to help you get it on with full coverage, so once you have it on you need to sand down the remaining ridge. The edge trimmer cuts this ridge off with just a quick swipe.
I’m not sure it was worth the money, but it’s fun to use 🙂 It doesn’t completely eliminate the sanding step, just makes it quicker and easier to get to the clean, wood-looking edge that you’re going for.
With the lid made, all that was left was sanding, staining, and poly-ing… three things which always take so much longer than you think possible.
But it was worth it! Here it is in place:
I love that it unites different elements of the room. It picks up some of the angled patterns from the rug, and the various wood tones echo the variation in the reclaimed wood bar that I found on craigslist.
As much as I like the front panel, I think I actually like the side view best, and the way the legs also form part of the decor/look of the piece.
My only regret on it is that the red mahogany stain is a little intense. It looks just a little fake to me next to the other wood tones. It’s not enough to make me dislike the piece at all, just if I were doing it over, I’d leave that out in favor of the cooler wood tones.
It’s also correctly doing its job of hiding the birdseed! The container fits perfectly, and it’s easy for Brad to access his seed now.
There’s also a little room in the front to stick in a scoop, or to store other bird-related items (like packets of suet).
Overall, it took longer than I planned (mostly due to me not having a plan and so taking my time to make things up as I went along) but I’m really happy with it!
And bonus that this puts us nearly done with the dining room! The final steps are the finishing touches, and a little more decor. I can’t wait to share the final room!
Buy and/or re-hab a statement china cabinet or other storage for the corner, in a dark or medium wood tone and preferably with a lot of closed storage. Buy a dining room table and chairs. The ones I’ve got in there were free with my first apartment out of college because the people moving out didn’t want them any more – and I’m still using them nearly 9 years later. Re-organize. I need a lot more function out of this room. It currently stores wine/alcohol, cook books, the watering can for my plants, and a few other miscellaneous things. Given how cramped our kitchen is, I need this room to also store overflow food that we buy in bulk, appliances that we infrequently use, serving dishes, and hopefully a whole lot more. Maybe the board games that are currently jammed in the top of our coat closet? Resolve the “ugly pile of shoes” issue with a new entryway piece to keep everything under control. DIY or buy a solution to bird seed storage – Brad currently keeps the bird seed for his feeders in this room in a bright green bin. It is functional, but not the look we’re going for in the long run.
- Add some character/decor. I want this room to hit you over the head with fun, so I want to work in some strange art, cool craft, and/or funky details.