The Temporary Aviary
The Frame
Ventilation Panels
Mounting Perches
Finishing Touches



Constructing the Aviary Walls


Design Change | Panel Material | Painting | Outlet Door | Installation

Design Change

We made a change in the original design with regard to the wall panels. The original design called for removable panels so that we could get behind the wall to screw in the perches. (We cannot get behind any of the aviary walls because the aviary is built snug up to 3 walls in our Living Room). However, after consulting with Tom, the structural expert, there were too many issues to overcome with regard to the construction of the removable panels. Instead, we decided to build permanent walls and use self-locking screws to install the perches (see Installation of Perches and Accessories for more information). In addition to making construction simpler, permanent walls help improve the sturdiness of the structure.

Wall Panel Material

Cutting the Panels
Tom shortens the panels to a height appropriate for the aviary.
The cut edge does not need to be perfectly straight, since it extends up into the lighting portion of the aviary and the top edge will not be visible when everything is finished.

I looked at prefabricated paneling as a wall option because many types have a smooth surface that is easy to clean. However, I couldn't find a pattern that I liked. I didn't want to go with a paneled "wood" look, and many of the more interesting paneling either had a tile look that didn't seem appropriate for an aviary, or a textured surface which would be difficult to clean. Also, the paneling didn't seem to be as strong as I would have liked the aviary walls to be.

So instead, I went with a 1/4" thick oak hardwood plywood. First, the wood paneling had to be cut to the proper dimensions for the aviary. This meant shortening the pieces slightly. The width only needed to be trimmed for the side pieces and one small sliver to fill a small gap on the back wall.

Painting the Walls
Finally, a job I can do!


Next, the paneling needed to be painted or stained. I decided against staining the panels in favor of painting with a semi-gloss water-based paint. In the flight that Tom had used, we had stained the back wall red oak to match the exterior, but the dark color of the stain made it difficult to view the birds within. A lighter stain would have been okay, but I wasn't really looking for that much of a "wood" look. Also, the stained panels were still slightly textured from the grain of the wood (even when a finish was used), and although they were not that difficult to clean, smooth would be better.

The paint I chose was Lilac Scent, from Behr, available at Home Depot. I chose semi-gloss because it gives the wood a nice smooth surface that is easy to wipe clean. Gloss would have been even better, but I wanted to limit the amount of reflection or glare coming off the walls, so semi-gloss was a nice compromise. With regards to color, I would like to have chosen a nice light sky blue, but I didn't think that would go very well with our purple/plum color scheme in the living room. So instead, I chose the Lilac Scent, which was nearly white with a touch of purple. If you are planning to build your own wooden cage or aviary, take my advice and paint the interior a light color. It becomes very difficult to see the birds amidst a dark background, particularly darker colored birds like Strawberry finches. (Note that this is the opposite of what is said about cage bars or mesh. In those cases, black paint should be used for best visibility.)

I painted all cut panels with a paint roller in our garage, painting in parallel to the grain of the wood. Two coats of paint were used. Once the paint was dry, we were ready to install the walls.

Outlet Door/Corners

Support for Outlet Door
Tom always said that having the right tool is the key to every job. Apparently the right tool for this job is a spatula.

2x4 supports were added to support the hinged outlet door. A notch was drilled into the top support to allow the electrical cords to pass through.

Supports for Hinged Platforms
In the corners, 2x4 supports were added to support the hinged platforms that will hold accessories.

Before the walls were attached, a 2x4 was added to the structural frame to box in the outlet area. This 2x4 would be used to attach a hinged door that would allow access to the outlet and the light timers. 2x4s were also added to the corners of the aviary, where hinged platforms would be installed on which I could place items such as the seed hopper and the quails' sandbath. These platforms would allow the paper floor lining to be able to be pulled out from under the accessories without needing to remove the accessories.





Panels were nailed to the 2x4 supports of the structural frame, using 1" white paneling nails.

Wall panels were attached to the structural frame with 1" white paneling nails. Nails were used liberally along all 2x4 supports and the top and bottom, with each nail being just a few inches from the next. When the panels were all attached, the stability of the structure was greatly improved. Note that the 2x4 supports had been strategically located such that the edges of all panels lined up with a 2x4 to which it could be nailed.

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5 (4x8-ft) 1/4" thick oak hardwood plywood


1 gallon Behr Lilac Scent semi-gloss 100% Acrylic Latex paint

2 boxes of 1" white paneling screws
total $2.90
Remember, click on any photo to enlarge!