As you all know, I love any excuse to make things, so I was delighted to be invited by HIBS100 to become a DIY Bostik blogger for six months. My mission, which I’ve chosen to accept, is to create a DIY tutorial on a set theme each month, and share it with you. The first theme, to my delight, was Garden Decor!
Now, Bostik make some great products for crafters – in fact, you’ll have seen some of their products in my DIYs before. The glue dots and foam pads are excellent for card-making, so I was excited to try out some of the other products in the range. To get me started, Bostik sent me a box of glue-based goodies to experiment with, including leather adhesive, all-purpose glue, white glu, blu stick (a glue stick that starts blue and dries white), fast tak spray glue, glu dots, micro dots, foam pads and glitter pens!
This summer I’ve been loving spending more time outdoors, watching the comings and goings of nature’s pollinators, so I thought I’d have a go at making my own insect house for our allotment. We have a bug hotel / insect house in our back garden, and there has been no room in the inn (as it were), since the first day it went up! As it’s so popular with flying folk, I used this design for inspiration.
To make your own bug hotel, you will need the following materials:
- Bostik white glu (PVA)
- Plank of wood – mine was planed smooth timber (18mm x 94mm x 1800mm) from B&Q
- Sheet of plywood (for the roof) – have a peek in your local wood shop’s ‘scrap’ bin (alternatively, you could use your smooth timber and have a thicker roof…)
- Outdoor paint – a Cuprinol tester pot (£2) will be more than enough
- Blue painter’s tape or masking tape (to hold your house together while the glue dries)
- Sandpaper (if you have it – optional)
- Bamboo canes (optional)
- Wooden ladybird to decorate (optional)
- Bostik glu dot to afix ladybird (optional)
You’ll also need the following equipment:
- Mitre saw (electric or hand) to cut your angled wood
- Hand drill (for making your holes)
- Drill bits in four sizes (ranging from 2mm to 8mm)
- Hand saw (to cut down your bamboo)
- Paint brush
1. Cut your wood
The first thing to do to get started is cut your wood to size. Set your mitre saw to a 35 degree angle, and cut four symmetrical trapezium shapes (about 13cm long) to create the hotel floors.
In this design, the roof is supported by two ‘joists’, positioned an equal distance apart from the centre. Use the same 35° angle to cut one side of your feet and roof joists, using a straight cut on the other side. I used thinner plywood for the roof itself, and cut this to size so that it had a slight over-hang. Use a 35° angle on the roof edges so that the two opposite pieces connect together in the middle at the ridge.
2. Drill your bug holes
Once all your pieces are cut, it’s time to drill your bug hidey-holes. In general these ought to be between 2mm and 8mm, to attract a variety of different bugs to your garden. I used a 3mm drill bit for the top row, 4mm for the second row, 5mm for the third row, and 6mm for the bottom row.
If you want to be precise, you could measure the distance across and mark with a pencil where you’d like your equidistant hole spacings to be, however I prefer to eyeball it, working from left to right. To prevent your drill from moving, push down with the bit before you apply power so that you puncture the wood slightly, helping it to stay on course. Try to keep the drill upright for a straight hole.
3. Glue your wood together
Once you’ve drilled your holes, it’s time to glue your pieces together. Enter Bostik! Bostik White Glu, according to its packaging, is ideal for crafting, modelling and painting. It is a general purpose adhesive for sticking many materials, especially paper, card, wood and fabric. Whilst I’ve never used a ‘craft’ glu for sticking wood together before, I was really impressed at how well it held, and how quickly it dried.
One piece at a time, twist the nozzle, and evenly spread your glue in a swirly pattern, making sure not to go too close to the edge, as otherwise your glue will spill out the sides when pressed together.
When you push your pieces together, ‘mush’ them together slightly so that the glue makes good contact, and then place them where you want them to set. To keep your pieces in their set positions, you can use blue painter’s tape or masking tape to hold them in place. This is particularly useful for your roof pieces which will need holding until dry otherwise. You can also use clamps if you have them. Leave to dry.
4. Paint & decorate your bug house
To weatherproof your house, and stop it from rotting, I would recommend giving it a coat of paint or stain. I painted my bug house in two shades – the pale green ‘body’ is Fresh Rosemary, and the roof is White Daisy – both of these are tester pot shades from Cuprinol. Cuprinol has some lovely colours and they last really well – I used Malted Barley on a DIY planter a few years ago, and it still looks great.
How you decorate your house is entirely up to you – pick whatever colours make you happy – you can even hand-paint a more intricate design. I had a tiny wooden ladybug that I wanted to fix onto the front, so I used one of my Bostik glu dots to attach him. Hopefully this doesn’t scare off any bugs?!
With this design, there are three little gaps at the top of the house under the roof where you can jam some bamboo canes to make more bug bedrooms. You can get bamboo canes from garden centres etc., or steal them from your boyfriend’s brother’s allotment… Cut them down to size with a hand saw.
5. Fix your house to a fence or shed
The very final step before you can enjoy your bug hotel is to securely fix it to your desired post in the garden. Et voila – you have yourself a bug house! I’m really happy with how it looks, and hope you will be too. I’ll keep you posted on whether we get any insect visitors – please do likewise!
For more inspiration and tutorials, check out the #BostikBloggers hashtag, or visit the Blu Tak Facebook page. The next DIY theme is Autumn crafts (think pumpkins and autumn leaves), so stay tuned!
Disclosure: This post is kindly sponsored by Bostik as part of the Tots100 #BostikBlogger series. I was sent a box of Bostik glue goodies to create this post.