Follow these easy to read directions on how to build a Purple Martin house.
Included are complete instructions with downloadable plans, drawings, and materials for building multi-level Purple Martin apartment houses. Each level has 8 apartments and you can stack up to four levels for up to 32 apartments.
How to Build a Purple Martin House
If you’re looking for plans for Purple Martin houses, look no further. Using this plan, you can build apartment-style houses for Purple Martins and expand the design from 8 apartments to 16, 24 or even 32 homes even after it is built.
These directions include purple martin house plans you can download.
Purple Martin House Plans Overview
Purple Martins are the largest of the swallows, about eight inches long with a 12-inch wingspan. They like a lofty perch, apartment-style living, and eat insects by the dozen.
Although they have a reputation for eating mosquitoes, dragonflies and other large insects top their list of preferred foods.
If you’d like to attract Purple Martins to your yard, follow these plans and directions to build Purple Martin houses.
A table saw works best for cutting the pieces, but a circular saw can be used as well. Cut the birdhouse pieces from exterior grade plywood.
A 30-degree bevel cut on the top edges of the roof pieces where they come together helps make the roof watertight.
Use a 2-1/2-inch hole saw for cutting the entrance holes and the ventilation shaft holes in the floors and the ceiling. A 1/2-inch hole saw does the job for the ventilation holes in the partitions and the gable ends.
Use an exterior grade wood glue on all joints before screwing or nailing the joints together.
Drill countersunk pilot holes for each screw.
Build the apartment house at individual levels and fasten the levels together with galvanized angle brackets and screws.
Pole Mounting System
Make a pair of 3/4-inch thick plywood standoffs, 1-inch wide and 6-inches long.
Glue and screw these to the bottom of the floor 6-inches apart on opposite sides of the ventilation hole and add the 6-by-6 inch piece of 3/4-inch plywood across them.
Screw a 2-inch threaded galvanized pipe flange to the bottom of the 6-by-6 inch piece for a pole mount. Staple window screen over the ventilation hole on the inside of the floor.
Download the plans and follow these directions on how to build a Purple Martin house. Purple Martin House Plans Parts, Purple Martin House Assembly, Purple Martin House Materials, Bird Feeder Poles, and Pole Mount.
Stand the front and back on edge and place the two sides between them with the faces of the sides flush with the ends of the front and back pieces.
Place a bead of glue inside each of the four joints and nail each joint together with three, 1-inch nails.
On the house floor, make two marks, 2 inches from each corner, and draw a line from each mark to the one on the opposite side of the board.
This marks the front, back, and sides. Place a bead of glue on the floor just inside the lines and set the assembled walls on top of the glue using the lines as guides.
Hold the walls in place with a pair of clamps, turn the entire assembly over and fasten the walls to the floor with four, 1-inch galvanized screws for each wall.
Remove the clamps and turn the assembly right side up.
Place two partitions parallel to the slots facing up inside the walls. Two more partitions perpendicular to the first two partitions fit over the slots.
Get the partitions reasonably square and place lines on the floor and walls to mark their locations. Remove the partitions, place glue on the lines, and replace the partitions.
On the top-level assembly, run a bead of glue along the top of each interior and exterior wall. Place the ceiling on top, align it with the edges, and add screws to hold it on.
Before installing the gable ends, staple a piece of window screen over the ventilation holes.
Install the gable ends on opposite sides of the house.
Run a bead of glue along the bottom edge of the board, drill pilot holes, and fasten the ends to the ceiling with two screws at both corners of each gable end. Place glue on the top edges of the gable ends and screw the roof to the gable ends.
Stack up to four levels and screw them together using three galvanized angle brackets on each side.
Credits and Resources
- Photo by Ronnie Bergeron at Morguefile.com
- Purple Martin Fledgling Photos by OakleyOriginals @ Flickr.com
- Purple Martin Male Photos by Susan Young @ Flickr.com
- Female Purple Martin by Shanthanu Bhardwaj @ Flickr.com
- Information on the Purple Martin and attracting them to your yard.
- Purple martin house plans based on a family design passed down through several generations and modified by the author for modern materials and ease of building.
External Links on Purple Martin House Plans (FAQ)
1. How do you build a martin house?
- STEP 1: Attach the sides to the base, leaving 5 1⁄2 inches on each end.
- STEP 2: Drill four 5⁄16-inch holes,
- STEP 3: Attach the interior dividers to the base with screws.
- STEP 4: Drill six 5⁄16-inch holes through the floor of each of the four compartments, one in each corner and one midway along each side.
2. How high does a purple martin house need to be?
The standard rule is, there should be no trees taller than the martin house within 40 feet. In fact, the farther the martin house is placed from trees the better.
If your yard violates this 40-foot rule, try mounting the housing higher relative to the trees, moving the martin house to a more open area.
3. How big is the hole in a purple martin house?
Entrance Hole: The diameter of the entrance hole should be between 1 3/4 and 2 1/4 inches. Entrance holes measuring 2 1/8 inches are the most popular.
Crescent-shaped holes can also be effective in preventing other birds from using the houses, but purple martins have no trouble with that unusual shape.
4. What do purple martins like to eat?
Purple Martins enjoy vast quantities of insects on the wing and are much sought after for controlling annoying insects like mosquitoes. They love to eat mosquitoes, beetles, flies, dragonflies, and moths.
5. How do I get purple martins?
One of the most important steps in attracting Purple Martins is choosing the right location for your martin housing. Martins prefer housing that is placed in open areas with clear flyways.
Choose the center of the largest open spot available, about 30-120 feet from human housing, and at least 40-60 feet from trees.