Garden Toad House How-To

Make a little clay home for these garden helpers.

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 Most people don’t think of toads as beneficial creatures in the garden. So much press is given to the necessity of bees, butterflies and ladybugs for a healthy garden. But the lumpy, bumpy (perhaps even a bit ugly) toad is incredibly valuable in the garden. They are voracious carnivores that eat many of the pests that wreak havoc on plants.  They love slugs, flies and pretty much anything they can fit in thier mouth. An adult toad can eat up to 1,000 insects each night! How should you reward the unsung amphibious garden hero? Build it a house!

Toad House Beauty

Toad House Beauty

Little toads will love a permanent home in your garden.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Supplies

Toad House

Toad House

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

  • air dry terracotta clay 
  • artificial leaf (or real)
  • mini rolling pin
  • clay needle tool
  • paint brush
  • craft paints
  • polyurethane
Toad House

Toad House

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Cut a hunk of clay about the size of a softball. It will be stiff right out of the package. You will need to “wedge” it to help soften it up and get the air bubbles out. You do this by slapping the piece of clay down onto a hard surface. Then, compress the clay down and pick it up and do it again. Do not knead the clay. Repeat the slapping/compressing steps a few times. You will feel the clay soften up to become the right consistency.

Toad House

Toad House

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Roll out the piece of clay. If you want the clay to be an even thickness, use a rolling pin and 1/4 inch slats. This will ensure the clay to be a uniform 1/4 inch thickness.

Lay the leaf onto the clay. Use a smaller roller to gently press the leaf onto the surface.

Toad House

Toad House

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Once you have the leaf impression, use a needle tool to carefully cut around the impression.

Toad House

Toad House

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Gently remove the excess clay from the leaf (or leaves). Place cut-out leaf form onto a small curved surface like a small upturned bowl or, in this case, a shell, to help them dry with a small opening for the toads. Cover with a plastic bag and let the leaf dry for 24-48 hours. The key is to let it dry slowly. If it dries too quickly, it can crack.

Toad House

Toad House

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Once the leaf is dry, use craft paint to give it some color.

Toad House

Toad House

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

If your leaf toad house will be in an area exposed to weather, add a protective coat of polyurethane.

Toad House Beauty2

Toad House Beauty2

Toads will love to hang out in your garden under this cute little leaf.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Place the little leaf house in your garden and enjoy a pest-free growing season.

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