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How to build a bug hotel using a pallet {Part 1}

Now the weather is warmer we have been thinking about our little garden. Our cat died recently and overnight we noticed more birds appearing in our garden. The children really wanted to encourage them and learn more about them. Our garden is small but child-friendly and we want the children to enjoy being outside, especially at this time of year.

As well as making lots of handmade bird feeders we started to plan a bug hotel. We have been wanting to build one ever since we saw an amazing bug hotel at Hughenden Manor, a local National Trust properly. Here’s a picture of it from a few years ago.

bug hotel at Hughenden Manor

You may well ask what is a bug hotel? Also known as an insect hotel, wildlife hotel or stack, it’s basically a manmade structure which gives shelter to insects.

How to build a bug hotel from a pallet

I knew this would be a fun project as you can adapt it to any space you have. We found a nice, quiet corner in the garden and started collecting pieces. We wanted to use recycled material where possible so found an old wooden pallet, plant pots, bamboo sticks, cardboard tubes and corrugated cardboard.

To give our bug hotel more structure we decided to get some bricks. We couldn’t find any unwanted bricks so this was the only thing we needed to buy and we chose a selection of different shapes and size of bricks. The children love visiting our local Wickes store, it’s the perfect place to pick up a small quantity of items, and they had a great time choosing bricks and loading up the trolley.

How to build a bug hotel from a pallet

The next step was to prepare our materials and we did the noisy things first. The children put on their ear defenders whilst my husband put on his heavy duty gloves and safety goggles so we could de-construct the wooden pallet. When we were looking for suitable personal protection I came across a site called Engelbert Strauss, where I found workwear which was perfect for this project.

I love using old pallets but they can be hard to take apart without breaking any of the wooden slats. We used a crow bar and hammer to remove them, grinding down the rusty old nails with an angle grinder. We also set aside some of the wooden blocks from the pallet, to give our bug hotel some height.

How to build a bug hotel from a pallet

The last thing we did was to cut some old plant pots in half, again using the angle grinder. We wanted to make sure there were plenty of spaces for insects to make a home in our bug hotel so used as many different materials as we could.

It took all morning to get to this stage, but finally we were ready to build our bug hotel. In the next instalment I’ll share how we put it all together!

Disclosure – this is a collaborative post


  • Reply
    May 11, 2017 at 11:07 am

    what a fun and great activity for kids, come out really well too!

  • Reply
    Jess Howliston
    May 11, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    Love this idea! My kids love looking at different bugs/insects and are always fascinated by the bug hotels we find on our travels! Our garden is only small but I may have to see if I can put together a small one for our garden! Thanks for sharing, will definitely be reading part 2! x

  • Reply
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    May 11, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    […] things to keep the kids busy. They love our homemade mud kitchen, the playhouse, trampoline and our new bug hotel. We can watch the birds at the bird feeders, go on a bug hunt or on a nature scavenger hunt, […]

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    May 12, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    This looks fantastic. I may have to attempt this with my nanny children 🙂

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    May 18, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    […] recently used another wooden pallet to build a bug hotel. Creating in the garden seems a natural extension to how we create indoors during the colder […]

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    How to build a bug hotel {Part 2} -
    June 3, 2017 at 11:34 pm

    […] few weeks ago I mentioned how we started work building our own bug hotel. The kids love learning about all the different animals they see in the garden so we thought a bug […]

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