Are you looking to add clay hide to your reptile’s cage?
Want to give your lizard or snake a place to hang out?
Looking to do this for a low-cost or potentially free?
You may want to look at how to make a reptile hide out of clay!
Buying a hide at the pet store will cost you anywhere between 13 to 30 dollars.
Plus, you do not always know the quality of the material you are exposing your reptile to.
Making your own hide is a cheaper way to ensure you create a quality product for your pet!
Below you will find the instructions on how to make a reptile hide easily out of clay.
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need
Before making your hide, gather all of your materials:
- A batch of clay (air-dry molding clay or a batch of homemade clay. The directions for homemade clay are below)
- Bowl or container for the shape of your hide
- Paint (Acrylic or Spray on texture paint)
- Waterproof finishing or sealant
If possible, I recommend using homemade clay.
Homemade clay is simple and another way to cut down on costs.
All the ingredients are everyday kitchen staples you already have in the panty!
You will need the following:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 cup of water
- 1 ½ tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
First, mix the flour and salt in the mixing bowl.
Then, slowly stir in the water.
Finally, slowly add the oil while you continue to mix.
You will continue to stir until the clay reaches a smooth consistency.
When handling homemade clay, I like to use wax paper to prevent it from sticking to my hand.
If you decide to buy clay, I suggest an air drying clay such as this one found on Amazon.
This type of clay is easy to handle and quickly absorbs paint.
For the paint, you have a couple of options.
You may use acrylic or textured paint depending on what you have available or what look you are going for with your hide.
Acrylic paints will give it a simple look in whatever color you like.
Although, using multiple colors gives your hide a cool pattern!
You also can use textured paint, such as Krylon Coarse Stone, available on Amazon.
This easily makes your hide look stone-like with little effort.
With textured paints, they often come in spray-cans and do not require brushes.
These are all materials you may have lying around the house or in the garage!
Making Reptile Hide From Clay Step-by-Step
To make the hide from clay, carefully read the directions below before you begin.
I also suggest you keep the instructions out for reference while you make the hide.
Mold Clay Into The Shape Of The Hide
To ensure the clay does not stick, brush a thin layer of vegetable or olive oil over the container.
If you are using homemade clay, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to about ½ inch in thickness.
As you mold the clay over the container, try to maintain an even thickness all around.
If you do not want to use an object to mold your hide, you also have the option of molding it free-handed.
Simply take your clay and mold it into the shape of a small hide.
You need to make sure to have a solid base if you go this route.
However, I find it is a lot easier to use a bowl or container to give the hide a solid shape.
Make sure to leave space for an entrance!
Simply pull out a piece of clay and smooth the edges with your finger.
Pro tip: Make sure the hide is big enough by placing your bowl/container next to or over your reptile as a reference!
Create Texture In Wet Clay
Using an aquarium or other rough rock, gently roll the rock over the wet clay to create edges and a more realistic stone look.
This will be especially useful if you are using Acrylic paint, not textured paint.
Let Clay Dry
If you used air drying clay, set the hide on wax paper in a safe place to air dry.
Depending on the type of clay you used, this may take anywhere from 2-3 days.
Be patient! You do not want to move on to the next step until it is completely dry.
If you created your hide with homemade clay, you would need first to bake it.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and set your hide on top of it.
Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes at 250° degrees Fahrenheit (121° C).
Remove from the cookie sheet to let the hide cool completely.
Do not try putting your clay hide in the freezer or refrigerator to cool.
This will cause your clay to crack.
Once your clay is dry, remove it carefully from the mold by turning the hide upside down.
Pro tip: If you find that your homemade clay still has soft spots after removing the mold, place the upside-down hide back into the oven and bake for an additional 10-20 minutes.
The top of your hide may flatten slightly with this, but it is okay.
Brush Off Any Loose Bits
Take a paintbrush and brush off any loose or flakey pieces of clay.
You want to do this to make sure your reptile does not accidentally ingest any pieces.
Take all the loose clay bits and throw away.
Paint Your Hide
Now for the fun part!
Use your acrylic paint and paintbrush or your textured paint spray to paint your hide.
If you use acrylic paint, I suggest you mix a little bit of water with the paint.
This will make it runnier and more likely to fill in every crack.
Also, to give it a solid color, I suggest two coats of paint.
Let the paint dry between coats.
Use multiple colors if you want.
Be creative and have fun with it.
Remember, you need to paint the outside and the inside of the hide thoroughly.
Let the paint dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Apply Waterproof Finishing
Once it is completely dry, apply the waterproof finishing or sealant.
I suggest using a Krylon Matt Finishing spray available on Amazon.
This is especially important if you used homemade clay.
Because it was made with flour and salt, homemade clay is more likely to soften once exposed to water.
This is not something you want to happen once the hide is in your reptile’s habitat.
Let the hide air dry completely for 36 hours before placing it into any animal’s home.
Again, be patient!
You want to make sure all the chemicals are dry.
Finally, place the finished hide in your reptile’s home and let them enjoy it!
Do I need a hide for my reptile?
It is strongly encouraged you provide your reptile with some type of hide!
Hiding is a natural protective instinct for most animals, including reptiles.
While your pet lizard or snake is not a risk for being attacked by a predator, reptiles who lack a place a hide become stressed from always being on alert for danger.
The safety and security of a hide are beneficial to your reptile’s health.
Is there anything else besides paint to decorate with?
Paint is the easiest way to decorate your clay hide, but there are other options.
If you do not have paint or want to go for a different look, you may also hot glue moss onto the outside of your clay hide.
Lining the inside of the moss will help hold in humidity, which may be something your specific reptile requires.
Do I have to use clay?
I recommend clay because it holds up the best and is easy to mold and paint.
However, it is possible to make a hide out of other materials such as Styrofoam.
You will need to research specific instructions for using different materials before building one.
Did you enjoy this tutorial? I hope so!
Now you know how to make a homemade reptile hide out of clay!
Using this method potentially saves you money and allows you the ability to customize your hide with different shapes or colors.
Plus, you are providing enrichment to your animal’s habitat!