Build an insect hotel and create a home for nature’s little helpers

A DIY insect hotel wrapped in a metal sheet is standing in a front garden.
A hibernation space and somewhere to nest all at once – the DIY insect hotel is perfect in any garden.

  • Difficulty
    easy
  • Cost
    < 50 £
  • Duration
    1-3 h

Introduction

Give bees, wasps, beetles, bumblebees and beautiful butterflies a place to nest: an insect hotel can make a vital contribution to protecting nature and insect populations and allows you to get a fascinating glimpse into the everyday lives of our creepy crawly friends.


Our stylish metal sheet version also brings the ‘wow’ factor to any garden at the same time. We’ll show you how to build an insect hotel of your very own.

It should go without saying that your safety is paramount throughout every step of the project, so make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. You can find everything you need to know about the correct protective clothing you need when using each type of tool in our overview.

You need
Utilities
  • felt-tip pen
  • scissors
  • Fretsaw
  • glue stick
Materials
  • Broomstick handle
  • Aluminium sheet (1,000 x 300 x 0.5 mm)
  • Reeds or bamboo canes
  • Firewood
  • Masonry cord
  • Metal joints
  • Wood screws (3.5 x 20 mm)
  • 44x screws with nut (M3 x 10 mm)
  • 4x screws with nut (M4 x 6 mm)
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

DIY insect hotel

Give bees, wasps, beetles, bumblebees and beautiful butterflies a place to nest: we’ll show you how to build an insect hotel.

Step 1 7

Marking the holes

Holes are being marked on an aluminium sheet.
A hole is being marked in the centre of an aluminium sheet.
A marking is being made on the short side of an aluminium sheet.
A square is being marked out on the short side of an aluminium sheet.
Markings are being made on the short sides of an aluminium sheet.
All dimensions are entered on a sketch.

You need: felt-tip pen, pocket rule, Aluminium sheet (1,000 x 300 x 0.5 mm)

In this first step, you need to mark the holes that you’re going to drill into the aluminium later:

start by placing the sheet in front of you lengthways on your workbench and marking out 45 mm intervals approximately 5 mm below the top edge (on the long side) (Image 1). Make sure to keep the intervals equidistant along the entire length of the long side. Now, do the same along the bottom edge of the sheet, making sure that the marked intervals are opposite the ones along the top edge.

Then, mark the exact centre of the aluminium sheet (Image 2).

Also transfer the centre marking to the short sides of the sheet and make a mark approximately 15 mm away from the edge (Image 3).
Now, measure 11 mm from this marking in both directions and draw a square around the marking (Image 4). You’ll need this gap later for the broomstick handle.

Make another two markings on the same side: one 100 mm away from the top edge and one 100 mm away from the bottom edge (Image 5).

Step 2 7

Drilling and screwing

A hole is being drilled in an aluminium sheet.
A square is being cut out of an aluminium sheet with a pair of kitchen scissors.
The two ends of an aluminium sheet are being screwed together.
An aluminium sheet is being screwed together to form a drum shape.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, Multi-sander, Metal drill 3mm, screwdriver, scissors, 4x screws with nut (M4 x 6 mm), 44x screws with nut (M3 x 10 mm), Scrap wood board

It’s now time to start drilling the holes:
drill the holes corresponding to all of the markings (along all four sides and in the centre) you made in step one. It’s best to place a scrap wood board underneath the aluminium sheet so that you don’t drill into your workbench (Image 1).

Now, cut out the square drawn on the short sides of the sheet using a pair of kitchen scissors and bend each of the flaps down (Image 2).

Next, roll the sheet together until the square holes and the small drill holes on the short sides overlap. Then, use four screws (M4 x 6 mm) to fasten the sheet in the shape of a drum (Image 3). Make sure that the screwheads are on the inside of the drum.

Now, screw the M3 x 10 mm screws into all the other holes (Image 4). Again, don’t forget that the screwheads need to be facing inwards.

Step 3 7

Finishing the template

A compass is being used to draw a circle with a radius of 150 mm on a piece of scrap wood.
A template makes it easier to determine the dimensions of the material for the interior of the insect hotel.

You need: compass, Wooden board

This step is optional, but worth it: you can easily create a simple template by using a compass to mark out a circle with the same diameter as the drum on a wooden board. It’ll help you to determine the dimensions of the wood etc. for the interior of the insect hotel in the next steps.

Step 4 7

Preparing the material for the interior

Firewood is being measured out.
Firewood is being sawn to length.
Kaminholzstücke werden mit Verbindungsblechen zu einem Kreuz zusammengeschraubt.
Pieces of firewood are being screwed together with metal joints to form a cross.

You need: NanoBlade saw, Fretsaw, Reeds or bamboo canes, Firewood, Metal joints, Wood screws (3.5 x 20 mm)

You’ve made the walls of your insect hotel – it’s now time to take care of the interior design.

A cross fashioned out of firewood forms the core of the interior. You can also use the template from step three to make sure the cross fits perfectly into the metal frame – that way, you’ll be able to determine the correct dimensions (Image 1).

Then, saw one larger and two smaller pieces of firewood to length (Image 2) and use metal joints to join them and form a cross shape. 

Repeat these steps so that you end up with two firewood crosses.

Then, saw reed or bamboo canes to a length of approximately 150 mm (Image 4).

Step 5 7

Fastening the broomstick handle in place

A broomstick handle is being inserted into a round shape made of an aluminium sheet.
The broomstick handle is being screwed in place in the drum from the outside.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, Broomstick handle, Aluminium sheet drum from steps one and two, Wood screw (3.5 x 20 mm)

Now, take the broomstick handle and insert it through the square hole in the overlap in the drum (Image 1).

Keep inserting the handle further in until it touches the metal sheet on the other side. Fasten it in place there from the outside using a screw (Image 2).

Step 6 7

Finishing the material for the interior

Holes are being drilled into a wooden cross using a 6-mm drill bit.
Drill holes are being sanded down using a multi-sander.
Then, sand all of the drill holes and fix the crosses made out of firewood to the broomstick handle from both sides using the appropriate screw.
Reeds and crosses made out of firewood are arranged and fixed in place in an aluminium sheet drum.
An aluminium sheet is being screwed together to form a drum shape.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, Multi-sander, Wood drill bit: 6 mm, glue stick, Screws (6 mm or 8 mm)

You now need to drill holes for the insects in both firewood crosses (step four) (Image 1).
You can arrange the holes however you like. They should be evenly spaced out and there should be a hole precisely in the centre so that you can attach the wooden crosses to the broomstick handle. It’s best to use a 6-mm or 8-mm Brad point drill bit for this.

Then, sand down all of the drill holes so that the insects can’t be injured by any protruding splinters.

It’s now time to attach the cross to the broomstick handle inside the drum using the appropriate screw (depending on the drill bit you used).

Glue the bamboo canes or reeds that you’ve sawn to length in the spaces in between. By all means be creative, but make sure you use eco-friendly glue (Image 4).

Step 7 7

Attaching anti-bird protection

A masonry cord is being stretched around the screws protruding from an aluminium sheet drum.
Protective film is being removed from an aluminium sheet drum.

You need: Masonry cord

You’re nearly done! In this last step, you’re going to make sure the insect hotel is safe from birds.
To do this, stretch the masonry cord crossways over the two open ends of the drum. Use the screws that are sticking out as hooks (Image 1).  

Finally, peel the protective film off the drum (Image 2) and your insect hotel can be placed in the perfect spot in your garden.