Bright, Modern Birdhouses and a Lesson in Paint Dipping

paint dipped birdhouse craft

I’ve been in love with the trend of paint dipping since I saw Michelle’s smart kitchen footstool idea last fall.  Since then, all sorts of great ideas having been popping up – like wooden spoons and ceramic bowls.  I knew I wanted to get on on this trend, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted to dip.

On a recent trip to Michael’s, Emma and I spied 10+ wooden birdhouses that were on sale.  That’s when the light bulb went off and we loaded up one of the tiny carts with lots of birdhouses.

When we got home, I sanded them with a fine sandpaper (600 grit) and spray primed them white.  I gave them another sand down with the sandpaper and then I spray painted them bright white.  I could have also used white craft paint, but I figured that would take me a long time to paint them all with a foam paint brush. Once they were dry, I used a hole saw (it’s a bit for your drill that cuts a large hole) to put a drainage hole in the bottom of the birdhouse.  I also stuck four push pins in each one so that they could sit on some “feet” while they dried.  Try to push your pins in as evenly as possible so that you will get a straight paint line.

dipped paint

I set up my dipped paint station in the garage.  I grabbed one of the 5 gallon buckets from the hardware store, but any bucket could work.  You’ll just need to make sure that the piece you are dipping will fit flat on the bottom and do so without touching the sides of the bucket.  The smaller the bucket, but higher the paint level will be on your piece.  I put a kitchen trash bag inside the bucket and held it in place with some clothespins.

dip paint

I have an embarrassing amount of leftover paint stored in my laundry room from other projects.  It’s hard to bring myself to get rid of colors I love!  I decided to use some of them for this project (the one I’m using in this this example is Candy Apple Red by Glidden).  I mixed up the old color well and carefully poured it into the trash bag, making sure that I didn’t splash any of the paint on the sides of the bag. I know this picture is horribly blown out, but I wanted to make sure you could see the paint inside of the bag.

dip painting birdhouse tutorial

Then, with a steady hand, I pushed one the birdhouses down until it touched the bottom of the bucket, held it there for a couple of seconds, and then slowly pulled it out of the paint.  I carefully rocked it from side to side, letting all of the excess paint drain out of the hole I cut in the bottom and letting it drip of the edges of the base.

paint dipped

If you are going to dip another piece into the same color, try to make sure that none of the drips land on the sides of the bag either.  You’ll save yourself a white paint touch up headache – I speak from experience. After a few minutes, the drips slowed and I put the birdhouse down on a piece of cardboard to dry.  I let them sit overnight and they were generally completely dry by the next morning.  If it’s humid or rainy outside, you’ll want to bring them inside and turn on your air conditioning to take the moisture out of the air (that is a general rule for most paint projects).  Otherwise, it may take them a few days to dry.

dip painting

I poured the paint back into the paint can to save it for another project, but you can always dispose of it after dipping.

Once dry, l pulled out the push pins.  Be careful because there may be some paint drips that aren’t fully dry on the bottom.  In other words, don’t immediately put them on something that you would be devastated about messing up.  I actually used a straight edge razor blade to cut of those paint drips off the base, so it didn’t end up being a problem. I set mine up on an astroturf “runner” that I created (tutorial coming soon!) and they look so cute and summery on my antique sideboard.

paint dipping tutorial

dipped paint birdhouses

paint dip

paint dip birdhouses

paint dipping tutorial for crafts

Want video instructions? Here’s a video of the live stream broadcast I did featuring this project:

Oh, and are you wondering about my awesome new feature wall?  It’s rad.  I’ll be sharing the details of that with you guys, soon.

astroturf chevron

Have you gotten in on paint dipping yet?  What did you paint and did you learn any tips during the process?

Filed Under: Create Your Decor, Project Gallery

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. You should be giving tutorials on setting up one else I’ve seen is as clear, concise and has such great images…
    this tute was a pleasure to look at, and a great idea..not to mention the bonus of an astro turf base…..maybe some bottle brush trees aren’t far behind….thanks for this one♥

  2. I think yours look so great because you have a collection!! It’s just breathtaking!!!
    I think I cheated. I used vases and taped off a sort of diaganol ol bottom and top line on a 6″ narrow clear glass vases. I spray painted using different colors. I used dark sand from one of our CA beaches , pouring it in to show through the clear bottoms..and it looked rather nice on my fireplace flanked by larger vases filled with lighter sand and a row of the darker sanf. But I think the dipped on these bird houses look awesome. I think the true paint looks better than spray paint would. Your directions…I’d not have thought of the hole in the bottom.


  1. […] is a reminder that your friendly, neighborhood DIY blogger will be demonstrating her paint dipping technique LIVE via Google’s Hangouts on Air at 8 pm Central tonight. […]

  2. […] to see the final birdhouse project? Click here for the post or check out the video […]

  3. […] even repeated the zig zag edge on the artificial grass runner that I laid underneath my dipped paint birdhouses.  I think it’s an unexpected thing to use as a table runner and really makes the bright […]