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Double Decker Birdhouse with Altered Trading Blocks

If you've been following along this month, you already know that Altered Pages has partnered with The Artists on the Block, sharing our Altered Trading Block creations, aka, ATBs.  These fun, easy to alter, blocks are made with Eileen Hull's Sizzix block dies.  

As this is the last Thursday of the month, I believe I am the last to submit my creation.  However, while I have had very tough acts to follow this month, I am so excited to present my double-decker bird house.  Can you see the tenants inside?  I had my husband hold a flashlight and shine it into the hole so I could take a picture.
I apologize for having so many pictures, but I had to become a bit of a building engineer to figure out how to put this together.  Hopefully, I can be less wordy by sharing a few more pictures instead.  

The bottom deck was made using Eileen Hull's Sizzix Box, Square XL die, measuring 3-1/4" square.  The top deck was made using Eileen's Sizzix Block/Cube/Bank 3-D XL die, measuring 1-1/2" square.  I punched a hole and trimmed the smaller top box pieces as shown below.  Keep those triangular pieces for the gables of the roof.  
I punched a bit larger hole in the center of the larger bottom box, and ran each through my Sizzix with the Bricked and Woodgrain embossing folders.  
Next, I cut two more triangles to use as gables for the larger bottom box, trimmed some corrugated cardboard to size, and peeled off the upper layer of paper, leaving some in places for a shabby look.  Here, I have dry fit my pieces before glueing them all together.
I next used Rustique Tin Can embossing powder from my stash and covered each roof piece.  I applied a coat of white gesso over the entire bird house.
Next, I began the task of painting both top and bottom pieces to either look like wood (bottom) or bricks (top), using mixtures of acrylic paint.  I applied a highlight coat of bisque chalk ink to the mortar on the bricks, and brown chalk ink to the wood grain.   I left the bottom of the lower deck open so I could place my birds and nest inside.  First, I resized and printed my bird pair to fit inside the back of the box. I adhered the collage image, as shown below.
 I fussy cut several sizes of feathers, and snipped around the edges to make them look like real feathers.  I cut out five tiny bird's eggs, rounding them with my stylus on a piece of fun foam.
Next, I glued each into a tiny bird nest from my local craft store, and then glued the nest to the bottom of the box.  
 Here is a shot of the nest from above.
And a close-up of those fussy cut feathers.
Now, all I had to do was carefully close up the box bottom and my inside of the bird house was complete, tenants and all.

Next, I colored some fancy plastic frame stickers from my local craft store with teal acrylic paint, then highlighted with copper from the metallic rubon set #1.  The larger square frame is the original color, but not used in this project.  
I next cut three bird images from Chirpy Goodness using an oval die that was the approximate size of my frame opening, and adhered each beneath a frame.  Then I glued the frames to each side of the house.  A few more metal embellishments and some flower vines, along with an actual botanical from my Japanese maple tree, were adhered, as shown.  I adhered some gorgeous German Scrap for my roof eaves, but first colored the high spots with olive green from the metallic rubons sets #2.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I was dead set on putting a weather vane on top of my bird house, but could not find a tiny one that was already made.  So, I set out to make my own.  I found these tiny charms that I wired and glued together, and inserted the wire into the long bead that I glued to the roof.  The vane actually turns.  I also painted it with some rust looking paint to tone down the bright silver.  
A few more closeups of the inside of the house.  
In this shot, you can barely see the bird nest and feathers.  Awfully hard to photograph, where is National Geographic when I need them?  In any case, I think you get the idea.

Supplies used:

Altered Pages collage sheets:  AP-2220 Chirpy GoodnessAP-1566 FeathersAP-1564 Vintage EggsAP-1478 Vintage Wings
Eileen Hull's Sizzix Blocks/Cubes, 3-D XL die
Sizzix mat board
Sizzix embossing folders: Bricked, Woodgrain
Metal candle holder
Rustique Tin Can embossing powder
Clear Embossing Ink Dabber
Corrugated cardboard from packaging
Acrylic paint, matte medium, Cobalt Teal, Rust

I hope you have enjoyed this month, while both teams have shared their fabulous ATB creations.  Who knew these would be so much fun to make and alter, but beware, they can be addictive.  However, never fear, Altered Pages is here to supply you with your art supply needs.  Check out this awesome special sale, through the end of the month. 

We will add a FREE 6 well plastic palette and 1 ready to fill mister bottle when you purchase Splash Inks at the special limited sale price of 26.98!    Supplies are limited to on-hand quantities, valid until May 31, 2014 or until supply is gone. NO coupoon needed.

Be sure to check back daily for more inspiration from the fabulous design team here, and while you are at it, don't forget to check out The Artists on the Block blog as they continue their journey into the fun world of ATBs.

Have a fabulous weekend!



  1. What a totally amazing bird condo! Those tiny eggs are darling and the fussy cut feathers...simply perfect! Thanks for sharing your work!

  2. I love all your photos. This is a wondrous piece!

  3. Wow Barbara this is a real stunner! The construction is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing the steps and process shots. What an amazing work of art!


  4. Absolutely brilliant Barbara, fantastic details like the weather vane, the rusty roof, embossing and the tenants of the house. Wonderful piece. Tracy x

  5. As always a simply stunning birdhouse Barbara! I love ALL the little details!!! <3

  6. Very clever! I can see the bird house on a mantel! Love the colors and the embossing♥

  7. Oh Barbara- this is stunning! How cool the way you cut and fit everything to create your own custom birdhouse! Great techniques and thanks for walking us through how you created this!

  8. Wow Barbara this is just gorgeous I love how you have turned your blocks into this delightful birdhouse and what a beautiful surprise inside with the gorgeous nest.

  9. Barbara this is incredible. The attention to detail is just inspiring. Love the detailed instruction!!!!!!!

  10. Barbara, I keep coming back to your posting and seeing more each time. Your eye for detail and your creative talent is so very wonderful. Thanks for all you show us.

  11. p.s. the weather vane is genius!

  12. Love this!! It is so cute!! A totally delightful piece with great attention to detail!! Love the step by step too!! Awesome!! ox


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