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How to Make a Butterfly House

By Tammy Lee Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017

Building a butterfly house for your garden will give the butterflies who visit a place to rest in inclement weather. It will also provide shelter for butterflies that over-winter. A butterfly house can be constructed easily and will add beauty and interest to your garden while providing these fluttering visitors a dry place to rest. You can build a butterfly house with a few simple and materials that can be obtained easily.

Prepare two boards for building this butterfly house. The side panels and back of the house will be made from a single board that is 1 inch thick by 8 inches wide by 5 feet long. The front, roof and floor will be made from the a board1 inch thick by 10 inches wide by 3 feet long.

Measure the longer (5-foot) board, marking three 20-inch lengths for the sides and back. Cut the side pieces at a slight diagonal along the top edge to allow a slanted roof. Mark one edge of each side panel at 18 inches from the bottom. Use a straight edge to draw a line from this mark up to the back corner. Cut along this line, then repeat on the other side piece. (This should make the two side pieces 20 inches at the back and 18 inches at the front). Next, measure and mark the back piece to a width of approximately 5 ½ inches, then trim. Use the finish nails to attach the sides to the back piece-- arrange them so that the roof will slant forward.

Stand the partially assembled butterfly house upright to get an exact measurement for the front panel opening. This opening should be approximately 5 ½ inches.

Measure and mark the second board to create your front panel, roof and floor. The front panel should measure 18 inches by 5 ½ inches. The roof should measure approximately 7 inches by 9 ½ inches while the floor piece will be 5 ½ inches by 5 ¾ inches. Use a drill and a chisel to cut six slots in the front panel of the butterfly house. The slots should be no wider than ¾ inch and 3 inches in length.

Use finish nails to attach the roof and the floor to the assembled back and sides. Attach a piece of tree bark to the inside rear of the butterfly house. The bark will give the butterflies an area to grasp when they are resting. Finish house by attaching the front panel.


Things You Will Need

  • Lumber
  • Circular saw or miter saw
  • Drill
  • Chisel
  • 1 1/2 inch finish nails
  • Large piece of bark
  • Paint (optional)


  • Paint and mount the butterfly house on a post in your yard or garden and enjoy the guests it attracts.


  • Double check your measurements and marks before you cut the panels.

About the Author


Tammy Lee Morris is a writer living in southern Illinois. She has been writing professionally for print publications since 1992 and contributing to online publications since 2006. Now writing a column for "The Weekly Review," she has also contributed to "Woman's World," "Countryside Magazine," Asylum.com and the Woman's Day website. Morris studied journalism at John A. Logan College.