DIY Urban Garden Father’s Day Gifts
June 16, 2010 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Check out these cool seed tapes and simple birdhouse you can make for Dad. I like to support the economy just as much as the next person, but I’ve always appreciated receiving a home made gift–especially one I can use.
Amberlee from Giver’s Log posted these wonderful seed tapes that are as good to look at as they are to plant:
Here’s what you’ll need:
-1/4 cup flour + enough water to make a paste
-strips of paper to make the tape: black and white newspaper (no colored ink), single-ply toilet paper, and a thin paper bag all work
-something for dabbing on drops of the paste, like the back of a paint brush
Check the planting recommendations for your type of seed. Dab the paste onto your strips of paper as far apart as you would plant the seeds. Drop the seeds onto the paste. Drop the same number you would if you were planting. That’s it. Just wait for the paste to dry completely (a couple hours will do) and you’re ready to roll up your tape. Store it in an air-tight plastic bag and it is ready to go for next season. Most types of seeds are planted shallow enough that all you’ll need to do is lay the tape down and sprinkle a bit of dirt over it. Then it’s ready to be watered and to grow.
Make Dad a birdhouse from bendable poplar plywood. This project suggests using a plywood from Italy that’s available at most specialty wood shops. The birdhouse is assembled in a composite epoxy-coated structure that is light, waterproof, and elegant.
step 1 Gather Materials
Bendable Poplar plywood 4×8 sheet–about $35 West System 105-B Epoxy Resin 32 ounces West System 206-B Slow Hardener 27 ounces Foam brushes Craftsman or RotoZip Cutter tool with 1/8 ” rotary blade for wood Razor blade knife with utility blade Shirt cardboard 4 pieces 8″x12″ Elmers Carpenters wood filler–interior/exterior Hot glue gun Sandpaper or sanding block Bits: 1/…
step 2 Modeling the Birdhouse
This birdhouse design is a simple arrangement of four pieces of 8″x12″ bendable poplar plywood. I began with a model of the construction made up of 4 pieces of shirt cardboard–a construction material that I remember fondly from my childhood. These are still available from your shirts if you have them boxed and laundered otherwise you can cut them out of “store bough…
step 3 Cutting the Pieces
There is a natural curve to the panel of plywood and the four identical pieces of poplar plywood required in each birdhouse all should curve in their long dimension. The 8″ x12″ pieces can be easily marked out on the large sheet so that you should get 6 pieces out of the 48″ side of the sheet. The plywood is easily cut with a straightedge and a razor knife.
step 4 Drawing the Cuts
The inspiration for the design of the birdhouse came from a wing shape that I had in my mind. I used a curve tool to get the shape I wanted and cut a piece of wood to use in tracing the line on the poplar plywood pieces. The lines were drawn so that they stopped 1/2″ from the ends of the plywood and were mirrored across the long axis of the piece staying an inch away…
step 5 Cutting the Groove
I usually cut both marked top and bottom at one time–if building multiple houses you can cut four of these sheets at one time. It is best to clamp the sheets securely before cutting. I drill start and stop holes at the end of each line with a 1/4″ bit and then proceed to cut out the long channels with the rotozip or craftsman equivalent rotary drill with the 1/8″ bit…
step 6 Cut the Bird Hole
I used a 1 1/2″ bit to cut this–the literature varies on this dimension and I wont get into it. The hole should be cut about half way up the side in the portion which curves the least–you don’t want to press your luck when you are bending this stuff–holes definitely weaken it. Only one of the side pieces gets a hole!
step 7 Assembly
The fun part. This takes a little goofing with but with a bit of gentle bending you can get all the pieces together. Get the top or bottom on first and then move it down on the pieces to stabilize it before putting on the opposite one. After getting it roughly together carefully adjust the top and bottom to match the wing shaped curves of the sides.
step 8 Sealing it Up
Measure the openings on the two ends and cut side pieces to fit in these spaces out of the poplar plywood. The structure can be temporarily tacked together with a few dots of hot glue. The side and the top are self-tensioning and usually don’t require this–only the end pieces.
step 9 Epoxy Coating
The West System is very nice. It usually includes the self measuring pumps attached to the hardener and the epoxy. If you haven’t used epoxy systems before you should read up on safety rules that come with the stuff. It is really easy to use and it takes about six pumps of each one to make a large enough batch to coat the whole structure. You use a sponge brush to…
step 10 Sealing and Sanding
There will be some openings in the structure once the epoxy dries. Seal these with some wood filler of the appropriate color. The structure can then be sanded to smooth out the small defects that occur when applying epoxy for the first or fortieth time. The final structure can then be left a natural color by applying a polyurethane finish or an appropriate outdoor…
Birdhouse via Instructables