Thursday, September 27, 2007

DIY: from armoire to aviary

I've had a few gals ask about how I made the aviary so I thought i'd share here. I had an old armoire or oversized tv cabinet that we weren't using. One day it clicked - I could re-purpose it into something i'd been wanting - a bigger house for my finches!

I was lucky in how the armoire had been built... it had a vertical support post in each corner. Each side board was attached to these supports, so when they were removed, I had a top, bottom and corner supports.

I measured and sketched my armoire skeleton - planning doors and hatches. I also planned for a drawer. With a drawer spanning the entire bottom area, I could more easily clean out the bottom of the habitat.

The doors and hatches were each framed with 1x1s mitered at the corners. Mine aren't as well done as they look from these photos - but their unevenness adds to the charm of it. ;-)

Once everything was built and in place, I painted. Use a non-toxic paint that won't harm the birds. I think it got 2 coats of paint.

Before I put the meshwork up, I added the large branch. I knew once the walls and doors were on, that I wouldn't be able to get it inside. I was lucky and a neighbor had just cut down their eucalyptus tree, so I picked thru their debris pile and found this gem. I bolted it to a support beam that happened to run across the "ceiling" of the armoire. This could also be hung from a large hook or hoop.

Next came the mesh. I used 1/4" mesh for the finches. For Canaries, you could probably go a little bigger, but 1/4" would be best. (I don't suggest this for larger chewing birds - parrots, macaws, etc - as they may chew at the wood?)
I used a handheld staple gun to put all the mesh into place (adhering from the inside of the aviary.) You could finish off the edges of the mesh with small 1/4-round molding if you wanted.

okay - once the walls and doors were "meshed" I started hinging the doors into place. Then added eyehook/hook closures to keep them closed.

I added some toys and accessories and tada! A great home for my winged friends.

The Finch Handbook has a section on aviaries and what to consider. Also see www.finchaviary.com

19 comments:

Skulleigh said...

This is fantastic! You were linked from the Craft: blog. :)

I would love to do something like this as a rat cage!

Leigh said...

This would also be awesome for sugar gliders!!! so great!

pepperberry said...

I love this! My bearded dragon (small lizard) would love a smaller version. What a creative solution to what can be an ugly problem!

Allison said...

This is fabulous!

I'm so inspired.

Now to find an old armoire to transform into a cage for my rats...

urbanartifaks said...

what a fabulous idea!!
I want to make one!

but first, need to find a pet. second, need to find an armoire.

i am so into repurposing, and this is WAY over the top

i seriously want one

Stas said...

Like it!

Stas said...

Like it!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, innovative and simple. Thanks for the post and the idea.

Cindy said...

This is perfect! I was considering something similar for my parakeets because I do not like the plastic-y cages they're in and I don't have the money for a "real" armoire cage. This just convinced me to go for it and find something that will work. Thanks! :D

chinamama said...

TV armoires are easy to come by on craigslist lately... everyone is abandoning them because of the newer flatscreens that hang on walls...

I'd love to see what you make!!!
cheers, a

Anonymous said...

Your bird aviary is very nice! I hope I can come across something to make a roomy little place for my two parakeets and look as cute
Pam

Anonymous said...

I really like this. Definately would need some reinforcing for a med-large birds, they chew chew chew everything! But since I perfer smaller birds it works for me just fine. It is hard to find any cages for smaller birds that are nice big flight cages, even harder to find ones that look nice and dont cost an arm and a leg! Would be awesome for sugar gliders as well! How hard is it to clean and disinfect?

chinamama said...

If I built another, I would build the drawer differently right now, debris gets caught up between the edges of the drawer and the outer caging.
Not the easiest to clean, but worth it for the look.

The walls of this particular armoire slid into slots at the top, bottom and sides. When I removed the walls and added the supports, I slid the mesh into the slots where the walls were.

I guess it'll be a different type of building process for different types of armoires.

hope some of you will share what you're building!
:-)

Michael Stanford said...

Your Finches Aviary looks wonderful in your house, great thinking in when you converted it!

Lori Sampson said...

Did you use the mesh that you purchase to keep birds and such out of a garden? I was thinking of using metal, but if that is garden mesh, it would be so much easier.

Gracie said...

This aviary would not be suitable for medium/large birds.

Anonymous said...

What mesh exactly did you use? Is it that fabric mesh or a metal?

Anonymous said...

My son is copying the idea for my Cockatiels. Thank You! What kind of mesh did you use? Where can I get the wire we need?? Any help is beyond appreciated!!!

barbar higgins said...

Love it. You did a great job. My husband built me a beautiful corner aviary for my Lady Gouldians. The front of it is a 3' by 6' plexiglass panel door. The top has crown molding and the two small sides are wire. My finches seem very happy in it.