DIY Toad Abode

6 Materials
4 Days

A diy toad house for the garden, using a recycled container, foil, air dry clay, acrylic paint, with polymer clay embellishments.

Making your abode

In an attempt to bring toads to my garden for pest control, I decided to DIY a toad house using things I had on hand. Since toads absorb things through their skin, I wanted this to be as non-toxic as possible.

I started with an empty sour cream container and some foil to achieve my shape.

Once I had the general shape, I used an air dry clay recipe found on Pinterest to achieve the look of a tree stump. I then used a pointed tool and "scratched" it up to make it look like tree bark. I think there might have been some user error on my part when making the clay because as it dried it ended up cracking. But it added to the whole look of the tree stump so I was actually rather happy with how it turned out! 😏

Air dry clay

  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • Nonstick pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Damp tea towel

How to make it:

  • Pour all ingredients into pot and mix until smooth
  • Cook on low-med heat until mixture starts to have the consistency of mashed potatoes
  • Remove mixture from heat and let cool in large bowl. Cover with damp towel to preserve moisture.
  • Once the mix is cool enough, use it to shape your piece.

It took a few days for me to complete this project because I wanted to make sure everything dried really well since it is an air dry clay recipe. I also had to keep touching up the paint so it looked the way I wanted.

Painting your abode

Next step after the clay has dried is to start painting it. I wanted lots of dimension, so I started with black paint to get into all the crevices where it cracked. At this stage, it looks like it could be a Halloween decoration.

Start layering on your other colors until you achieve the look you want.

I used a couple different brown paint colors and started painting the stump. There is no "right" way to do this, so just keep at it until you get the look you want.

It took several coats of paint to achieve the look I wanted, making sure to get into all the crevices with the darker colors. I wound up going over the whole thing with black paint again and wiping off any of the paint that wasn't in the cracks. This gave it a lot of dimension.

I used a cream color for the top to give it the look of a cut stump, and used a darker brown for the rings of the tree.

Making embellishments

I made some toad stools, flowers, and a little sign out of polymer clay and attached them all using E6000 adhesive.

The final step will be to coat it with clear coat so it will hold up outside in the garden.

Add your embellishments

I absolutely love how this turned out. 💜

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Linda W
    on Aug 24, 2020

    That is absolutely adorable! Has it attracted any toads to your garden?

    • Johanne Palange
      on Aug 28, 2020

      If you google Lee Valley catalogs you will see that a toad house is quite expensive. Nice idea to make one and it's very cute. However, the store bought one features a front entrance and a back entrance so the toad can escape easily if a predator shows up. And they will. Any marauding cat will want to capture the new toy.

  • Ilv
    on Aug 27, 2020

    I love this, but think I will try to make different pieces for my Great Grand daughter's fairy garden. Maybe add some actual tree bark and moss for embellishment. Is it fragile?

    • Jennie Stevens
      on Aug 27, 2020

      The air-dry clay does flake off a bit, and it's also been brought to my attention that the air-dry clay is meant for indoor use and may not hold up outside. I will be putting my abode outside after one more coat of polyurethane and will be sure to update if it doesn't hold up. You can always use another type of clay as long as it's non-toxic.

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