We’ve got a new resident at CornDodgers Farm, Maizie the Frog!
Owing to the HUGE response to our Facebook post of certain recycled tire frog, she has now come to live at the end of our sunflower path! Now there are several tutorials out there for those who want to bring a Maizie (at least that’s what we call her) to their backyards, but we thought you might like a little peek at how we got her to come live with us. Almost all of the materials were recycled, so the entire structure cost us maybe $30, the largest expense being paint.
So here’s how Maizie came to live at CornDodgers Farm…
3 medium or large recycled tires (ask your local tire dealer, he may be more than willing to unload a few)
2 smaller recycled tires (for the eyes)
2 plastic bowls that will fit on the smaller tires (I got these at a dollar store for $0.75)
Old hose pipe (for the arms)
Rubber bath mat (bought at a dollar store for $2)
Spray Paint (green, ours took 3 full cans and we bought an extra for touch ups)
Craft or latex paint
Glue (I used E6000 crafters glue, after 72 hours it will hold almost anything)
Bolts, washers, and nuts (we used 3 1/2 inch bolts)
The first thing we did was clean the tires. This will help make sure your paint adheres well. We then stacked the tires in the shape we wanted to make sure everything fit like we liked. We then began connecting the tires. This is definitely a two person job. We drilled through the tires then slid the bolt through and tightened. This was probably the hardest part of the entire assembly. We ran two bolts through each contact point. We used recycled SUV and go kart tires, but you can use any size you want.
Now you are ready to start getting your decorations ready. For the eyes, I used inexpensive plastic bowls. You can spray paint these or paint them with craft paint and apply a spray sealer. Be warned though, that craft paint does not always do well on top of spray paint. It will crack and not adhere well. So go with one or the other. I find the craft paint easier since I added detail to the eyes. If you don’t want to do that, spray away. It will still look great. Go ahead and cut the feet out of your rubber mat too. They do not have to be perfect. I cut one and used it as a template for the other three. I then sprayed them the same color as the frog tires. Estimate how long you want your legs and cut and spray them as well. I cut mine a little long and shortened them up later. You can always take away, but adding’s a bit more difficult. Spray them whatever color you desire. We used a darker green simply because, well, we had the paint. The feet and legs took the longest to dry, so get that going before you proceed unless you like watching paint dry. In that case, wait it out. We used an old tire inner tube to make eyelashes. Slice them open across the top, trim them down a bit, and make v-shaped cuts to form lashes. We sprayed ours with some black paint since they looked a little rough.
Now you are ready to start painting tires. We did not want to waste any paint, so we only painted the visible parts. The bottom remained black (you won’t see it anyway). We chose a bright lime green, but feel free to choose whatever color you want, even if it’s not green. Purple polka dots for a little girl’s garden anyone? Be sure to cover the area with an old tarp and make sure it is well ventilated. We painted outside on a sunny day with a light wind to avoid fumes. This was our son’s first time helping with a project like this and he did great. Don’t be afraid to get the kiddos involved with the non-power tool related parts, just take any necessary precautions.
Now here comes the fun part, putting it all together. By now, you have painted the body of your frog and all the pieces and let them dry. I used E6000 glue to attach the eyes to the top tires. This is strong stuff once dry, definitely don’t want the kiddos getting hold of it. It cures in 72 hours, and after that, I’m pretty sure it could hold the Earth in orbit should a meteor try to knock it out. I also used it to attach the feet to the bottom of the tires and the hose for the legs. Apply glue to the painted hose and have your handy helper (in this case, my dear husband) lift the center large tire slightly and slide the hose in. For the eyelashes, you guessed it, more E6000 to hold those pretty babies in place. They looked a little wonky to start with, but once we moved Maizie to her final home and arranged them a bit, they were back to cute. I’m sure there are other adhesives that will work just as well, or even better, but E6000 is the one I have had the most experience with in my craft shop. Paint the mouth.
We had to leave Maizie under the barn for a couple days to let the paint and glue cure, then she was ready to head to the sunflower path! Once there, we filled the tires with what we call “gin trash.” (When I say recycled, I mean recycled.) We live near a cotton gin and “gin trash” is the nutrient rich soil left after the cotton is ginned (removed from the boll and processed). It is great for growing plants and flowers. If you don’t happen live down the street from a cotton gin, your choice of mushroom compost, potting soil, or area dirt is just fine. You will notice pretty quickly, that there are gaps in the bottom of the top tire. You can plug these several ways. We actually used a couple garbage bags, but you can use an old bucket lid, or cut the shape out of an old plastic tote lid. Whatever you use, be sure there is a way for water to drain out or you will drown your plants. Depending on where you place your frog, you may want to secure the legs with 3 inch nails hammered into the ground. Now you are ready to plant whatever your heart desires. We planted wildflower seed to complement the sunflowers already planted and waiting to come up.
Now you know how Maizie got to CornDodgers Farm! Have fun and make it your own. Be sure to come visit Maizie yourself beginning September 27, 2014!