Home » Crafts » How To Paint An Ugly Metal birdhouse White And Shabby It Up

How To Paint An Ugly Metal birdhouse White And Shabby It Up

It’s easy to paint an ugly metal birdhouse white and give it a new life. That’s what I did and the quick paint project just goes to show you shouldn’t get rid of outdated home decor and you might not want to pass up what might be a good thing at the thrift store just because it looks yucky. 

how to paint a birdhouse white and distress the paint

Take this birdhouse for instance. Isn’t it fresh and clean looking and I bet it makes you smile….it sure makes me smile. But the birdhouse didn’t always look this way.

auction birdhouse in need of a makeover

When I won this birdhouse at a local auction I knew I would paint it. The house is metal and a little industrial looking. The dark color was too depressing for me. 

how to use painters tape to protect areas from paint

The first thing I did was cover up the rustic wood perch with painters tape. The wood would look just right against a white background. 

painting a birdhouse with FolkArt Coastal Texture paint

The paint I used is FolkArt Coastal Texture, color Sea Salt. I think this paint has been discontinued but I still had some on my paint shelf. It’s always good to use what I have on hand. Budget thinking.

dry brush white paint on a birdhouse

I brushed two coats of paint on the birdhouse and then dry-brushed the metal roof with the same paint. I first dry brushed the paint from side to side over the roof.

how to dry brush paint

Next I dry brushed the paint up and down from the roof peak to the bottom edge of the roof. I try to make the dry brushed finish perfectly imperfect but sometimes I get a little crazy and go overboard. 

You might notice toward the center of the roof the paint is a little curvy toward the peak and a bit heavy between two of the ridges.

how to correct a paint mistake

The paint didn’t look too bad but I noticed it and my eye kept going there. I immediately took a damp rag and wiped the paint off that area. Then I tried to dry brush it again…it took a few tries to get it to look just right.

painters tape for paint projects

Once the painting was all done I removed the painters tape from the wood perch.

how to distress white paint

Now you guys know the paint needed sanding. Can’t have a project like this and not distress the details. I first distressed the raised areas around the entrance holes.

distress paint on the edges and details of home decor

Then I distressed the corners of the birdhouse and the iron band running around the middle of the birdhouse.

how to paint a metal birdhouse white

But…..it didn’t look right without a bit of sanding on the house siding. Then done. Don’t you think the perfectly imperfect paint finish looks natural?

how to paint an ugly metal birdhouse white and shabby it up

I put a bit of straw from a real bird nest in each condo (there being 8 condos, hahaha). I don’t have to worry about the little bird flying away either.

rustic white birdhouse diy paint finish

The backdrop for the photo is our bridal wreath bush. The bush is full of pretty blooms. I hope the freezing weather we’re having this week doesn’t kill the blooms. 

multi hole condo birdhouse painted white with a tin roof

Oh, I also distressed the little perch pins on the lower level of the bird condo. Maybe the birdhouse looks a little more like wood now. Not the roof of course but the frame.

I want the JTS and I to start making wood birdhouses. Adding some of my junk hardware to the houses would make them unique. I’m adding making birdhouses to our to-do list, lol.

white birdhouse condo

I’m trying to find a place in the house for the birdhouse. I would like to keep it since the makeover was a success.

Birdhouse Makeover with white paint

paint an ugly metal birdhouse

What do you think of the birdhouse? Do you like the new look better or do you prefer the more rustic darker look? Leave a note if you have time. As always, thanks for being here, Kathy

Kathy Owen founder of Petticoat Junktion
 | Website

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I don’t know if this is a new post or from the archives but I would love to have some tutorials on making bird houses from scraps. Love the transformation you made on this one!

  2. Gosh, I love this birdhouse makeover, Kathy! I have a lot of birdhouses in my backyard and inside the house. What can I say, some collect shoes, I collect birdhouses. I would love one like this in our yard. Pinned

  3. Love the birdhouse painted white and distressed. My fave color! Makes the birdhouse stand out?

  4. I absolutely love this and thanks for showing me how! I want to do this to a chicken feeder/home. At least I think that’s what’s called? Hmmm. Anyway, super cute! Pinned.

  5. I think this is a Purple Martin birdhouse. Love what you did to it. Will be patiently waiting for your diy wood birdhouses

  6. Hi Kathy! Truthfully, I liked the metal birdhouse before, but I must admit, I like it a lot more PAINTED, especially the roof! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This was a GREAT makeover!!!! Very well done. Can’t wait to see what you and the JTS do with the birdhouses you make. I can imagine townhouses, victorian and plantation houses just to name a few styles. Keep up the good work.

  8. It is perfect! My mother in law has a similar one laying way under her front porch. I will show her this and see if she’ll let me redo it now that she has a visual. Thanks!!

  9. Hi Kathy! That is the nearest birdhouse I have ever seen and you brought it back to life. The birds will love it. Lol