Toadstools are one of the first types of garden art I remember seeing as a child. These ones are really easy to make and a suitable project to do with kids. Once you’ve got a few toadstools to set the scene, an entire gnome or fairy world can begin. I’ll show you how I made these ones from wooden salad bowls plus share the funny story of how I came to own the gnome that started it all. Creating items like toadstools, fairy homes, and miniature gardens can be a great way to encourage kids to spend more time in the garden as they play in new imaginative worlds outdoors.
If you would like to make a tiny garden, see How to Create a Fairy Garden here.
How To Make Garden Art Toadstools
Everyone has their own garden kitsch-ometer and garden gnomes have long set mine off. But one day a few years ago everything changed when the garden gnome you see here came looking for me.
I was walking my daughter home from school in a wind storm. We could barely see where we were going with so much dust blowing everywhere. All of a sudden I hear this clunky-clunk sound and I see this little thing quickly rolling down the street toward us.
The garden gnome lands right at my feet.
We’re in an area with no houses around. I had no idea where he came from. But at this point we were anxious to get out of the storm. I picked up the gnome and off we ran to the safety of home.
And that’s how this kitschy little man became my garden mascot.
I love a project like this one because it repurposes household items, requires no special equipment or tools, and kids can definitely help.
I’ve gone for the classic red and white look, but really you could create them in any color or style you like.
- Wooden bowl for top of toadstool.
- Wood branch for stem.
- Sandpaper to sand bowl.
- Primer to prime the wooden bowl.
- Red paint (acrylic or spray paint) and white paint (I used primer instead of white paint).
- Weather protection such as polyurethane to seal the paint.
- Wood screw to attach top to branch.
- Electric drill and bit (optional) for drilling pilot hole in bowl and branch.
- Small wood saw to cut stem branch to desired length.
- Sand the wooden bowl to remove any finishes.
- Prime the bowl. Allow to dry according to directions on can.
- Cut stem branch to desired length. Allow extra to bury in ground to secure toadstool in place.
- Paint wooden bowl red. Allow to dry.
- Add details with white paint. I used the end of a rolled up rag dipped in primer, dabbing it onto the red bowl. You could also use a polka dot stencil.
- Drill a pilot hole through the middle of the bowl and the top of the branch.
- Attach top and stem together with a wood screw. Done!
- Bury the base of the toadstool stem in the ground to hold it securely in place.
- Add gnomes, toad, and fairy folk as desired.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛