Sunday 23 June 2013

Our Groovebulb Upcycling Challenge – A Masonry Bee House

Regular readers may remember that a few weeks ago I was approached by the lovely people at Groovebulb to see if I’d be interested in an upcycling challenge using the packaging from one of their Groovebulbs. I excitedly agreed and we took up the challenge. After much thought we decided that the packaging would lend itself really well to a masonry bee house, so we set about making one and below is how we got on.

If you’d like to read the original post as featured on Groovebulb’s blog then pop across to their site for a read.

Groovebulb Upcycling Challenge – Masonry Bee House

Looking after our bees is becoming more and more important particularly as bee numbers are under threat and declining due to over use of dangerous pesticides. As a family we thought it would be a great idea to use our Groovebulb packaging to make a masonry bee house and the girls were very excited by this idea and keen to help as much as possible. So how did we do it?
  • Firstly, you will need to get some garden bamboo canes which you may have lying around your garden or you can purchase some from your local garden centre.
  • Cut each bamboo cane to the right length so they fit inside the main section of the Groovebulb container. Pack as many of the canes as you can into the container making a nice tight fit.
  • You will find that each cane will vary in size and some will have bigger inner holes than others. If some appear to have no hole then you can start one by gently pushing a nail inside the cane. Don’t make the holes too big though. The bees will come along choose a cane they like and do the rest of the work themselves.
  • Once the container is packed with the canes, place the Groovebulb top onto the bottom of the container. The top is the bit which will fix onto the fence you are securing the bee house onto once finished.
  • Once you have put the top onto the bottom of the container, take a marker pen and drawer around where the container and the top meet. This line will show you where to papier maché up to on the main container so that the top still fits onto the bottom when finished (see pictures for guidance).
  • Now take an old newspaper and rip it up into small pieces. Place into a bucket and add water. Allow the paper to absorb the water making a nice paper mush. Squeeze out any excess water and then add some PVA glue. Mix together and start applying your mixture to the main part of the container up to the line you drew earlier. Cover the container top with the papier maché mixture too.
  • Once dry, you need to paint your container and top the colour of your choice. We used poster paints for ours. My eldest daughter wanted to paint it yellow and black but we explained that perhaps the bees may see this as a warning rather than a nice place they’d like to live ! We finally decided upon brown and painted our container and top accordingly.
  • Once dry, apply a covering of PVA glue over the painted areas to give a more waterproof covering. We were going to make our bee house a little plastic domed roof from part of a plastic bottle, but ran out of time to make this. However it would make the bee house more weather proof in the long term.
  • Once the glue has dried you are ready to assemble your bee house in the garden.
  • Choose your spot and screw the top section to the fence where you are putting your bee house. Now fix the main section onto the top and hey presto, one bee house !

With time you will hopefully encourage some fabulous masonry bees into your garden to pollinate all those lovely flowers.

We have sent away for some bee friendly seeds to plant in our garden, which we are waiting to arrive. If you would like more information on the “How to keep Britain Buzzing” campaign by the Soil Association, then you can find out more information here

The other day the girls came running in to tell me they’d seen some bees coming out of the bee house. I’ve yet to see them with my own eyes but if this is the case then I’m chuffed to bits. Our bee friendly seeds have also arrived so we will be planting them in the garden to encourage some more bees in. The bee house has endured the rain and wind which is fab news. I was a little worried it may have disintegrated but it’s still intact. Hooray !


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  1. I love this! i would so love to do this in our garden however ollie would never be seen in the garden!!

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic idea with #PoCoLo x

    1. Hi Jaime xx We had SO much fun making this. The girls loved being involved and they are really proud of their creation. Sophia thinks we may have a bee or two living in some of the cane tubes, but we're not 100% sure. Thanks for stopping by xx

  2. That is such a great idea. I'm going to try this in my garden, thanks for the inspiration! :-)

    1. Glad I've inspired you ! We had so much fun making it too. Great kiddie activity which wasn't too difficult. You should check our the other Upcycling Projects that others did with the Groovebulb packaging - some great ideas xx


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