Homemade Slug Control for Your Garden (D.I.Y.)

How to make simple slug-defense contraptions.

It is possible to recycle things that would otherwise end up in the trash, and use them as a means of slug control.

For example, bottles or cups can be redesigned in a few simple steps to protect vulnerable plants from slugs and snails.

The idea is not only to recycle, but to upcycle: to make something better out of trash or old unused stuff around your property.

This is an efficient way of minimizing waste and your consumption demands. The environment and the wallet will be happy.

So instead of buying new stuff, take the time to create peaceful slug control measures for the garden.

Any of the following solutions can be fun with children. In addition, they will make an excellent gift idea for those who are regularly afflicted by slugs and snails.

Why buy something expensive if it is possible to build it yourself?

Homemade Slug Barriers: DIY

Offer a small gift to nature by making your vegetables and flowers happy through recycling or upcycling.

Transforming old drinking cups and yogurt pots into snail collars does not require a lot of prior manual knowledge.

Likewise, old bottles can become plant protection hats, and rain gutters or metal sheets can be redesigned as slug fences.

Make these slug barriers yourself

Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Slug Repellent Copper TapePlant Protection Cover | Set
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Sheep Wool PelletsSlug Collars | Set
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How to Make Slug Collars

Small collars, to protect against slugs and snails, can easily be made from old plastic cups. Likewise, bigger collars can be made from buckets.

Particularly suitable for this purpose are cups with a wide edge/rim, which, like the original snail collar, extend far with a sharp point around the corner.

The broader and sharper the edge, the better it is for slug control.

Even buckets or similar packaging containers made of hard plastic – preferably food grade – can be used.

Furthermore, it is advantageous if they are transparent and have a lid.

Larger vessels are better because they can accommodate more plants.

If the surrounding container is transparent, light will penetrate and help the plant grow.

To transform cups and buckets into slug collars, the only thing one needs to do is to cut their bottoms off carefully. After this, put the collars over the plants to protect them.

Large transparent cups (volume 12oz / 0,5 liter) are well suited for young plants in their early stages.

Buckets (volume ~1 gal. / 3 to 5 liters) are well suited for protecting bigger salads, cabbages, or bean plants.

Selfmade Slug Collar Control
Especially useful: snail and slug collars with lid.

If the edge does not stop all slugs and snails as desired, one can put a lid on the collar/ bucket at night when slugs are particularly active.

It is also possible to make a lid by cutting a piece of wood, cardboard, or plastic that fits on or in the opening.

Furthermore, it is advantageous if one uses yogurt cups, to not completely tear off their closure, so they can be closed again if necessary.

In general, cups and buckets with an extra lid are perfect, especially if they are transparent.

One can then pierce some holes in the lid, and the snail guards provide perfect protection.

At the same time, a small greenhouse for the young plants is created, and they will benefit a lot from their modified protected microclimate.

Transparent cups for iced coffee that are already equipped with a sturdy dome lid work well. They are transparent and a bit larger than regular cups.

Reusable Compostable Biodegradable Bio Plastic Cups

Click on the image leads to an offer on Amazon

Nevertheless, simple, transparent fast-food cups, smoothie cups or dessert cups work just as well.

With opaque materials, the problem is that the plants are often in the shade, which is not good for their growth.

In this case, one can consider removing nontransparent collars on sunny, dry days and only use them at night.

The self-made snail collars are well suited to protect plants that are still small and particularly vulnerable.

It, therefore, makes sense not to put the cups in the bed when the plants have already grown to their capacity, but to sow the seeds already in the planted collars.

Video: Homemade Slug Collars

More information here: snail and slug collars.

In addition, you can improve this slug control measure with copper against slugs, slug repellent paint, mosquito nets or even bird protection nets – as in the following video.

Video: Use a bird protection net and a transparent bucket to build slug protection

From old bottles, you can make plant protection “hats.”

It is relatively easy to make your own plant hats.

For this task, you need, for example, big old jars or large plastic/glass bottles. The bigger, the better.

32oz (~1.5–2 liters) plastic bottles are a good fit for larger plants, while 16oz (~1 liter) bottles are enough for small plants.

The bigger the bottle, the longer it can offer protection before becoming too little for the plants to grow inside.

One can remove the bottom of the bottles and glasses, as described for the cups.

To remove the bottom of plastic bottles, one can use secateurs. It is easy to injure, be careful and mindful.

With the glass bottles, it is a little more difficult to remove the bottom. This can be done either with a glass cutter or a cotton thread that is ignited. See here:

Video: How to remove the bottom of a glass bottle

After the bottom is removed, you could defuse the new sharp edge with coarse sandpaper to finish the plant protector.

If the bottle has a lid that you want to use, you can drill or pierce small air holes in it, so that fresh air can reach the plants.

To be able to use old glass jars, one can either remove the bottom and then use their lid or turn the jar on its head and drill holes into the bottom with a diamond drill. See here:

Video: How to drill a hole in a glass bottle

If the bottle/jar does not have a lid, it is possible to close the opening with a piece of mosquito net.

In this way, the plants can still breathe, but slugs and snails will be kept outside.

More information here: Plant protection hat as snail control

Make a garden bell/greenhouse bucket yourself

Garden bells/cloches or greenhouse buckets differ from plant protection hats only in size.

They are taller, larger and can even be configured into a row or small tunnel.

Occasionally, they are also called Victorian bells.

Pails, drums, buckets, barrels, boxes, or the like are used to make these bells or buckets.

old make new

There is basically no difference between a big snail collar with a lid and a garden bell.

Usually, snail collars are smaller, but if you make them yourself, you can make them larger.

Regarding garden bells, on the other hand, the edge is not relevant because they normally stay closed.

It’s best to use old transparent storage containers. Again, the bottom of the vessels is carefully removed, and this allows you to slip them over the garden plants.

Then drill or pierce holes in the lid, so that fresh air, rain, and irrigation water can get inside.

An advantage of these self-made garden bells is that their lid is removable when the inside conditions become too warm for the plants.

In addition, when the plants outgrow the inside, it is possible to expand the space upwards with a mosquito net or a bed protection blanket.

Just place a few wooden or bamboo sticks in the corners or over the middle of the rim, and a mosquito net can be draped over the modified frame. In this simple way, a small slug proof shelter is created, which can be adjusted in height.

One can adjust slug collars similarly.

slug fence dermbach

Build a D.I.Y. Slug Fence

The dream of any snail-colonized garden is a snail-proof fence that can effectively keep the pests out of the beds so that the vulnerable plants are safe.

But the metal fences are relatively expensive and not affordable for some gardeners. Plastic fences, on the other hand, are often not effective enough.

Yet, there are some options worth considering on how to construct a DIY slug fence.

Slug & Snail Fence | Protective Barrier

Click on the image leads to an offer on Amazon.

Offers on Etsy.

If one does not have a bed enclosure border, it needs to be built together with the slug fence. Possible materials are metal sheets, wooden planks or bricks.

The challenge of upcycling is to use things that otherwise would be thrown away.

This means that one must improvise and come up with entirely new ideas.


Here are a few suggestions on how a DIY slug fence could work:

Upgrade an existing bed enclosure

If you already have a bedding border or high lawn edges, you can include some of the following slug repelling materials:

1. Copper tape.

2. Slug repellent paint.

3. Slug collar.

4. Electric slug fence.

Slug fence with copper

Since most snails and slugs dislike crawling over copper, one can protect a garden bed with special copper tape.

To achieve this, tack or glue the copper tape around the bed enclosure without leaving any gaps.

Copper is also suitable for protecting raised beds.

One must make sure that the material of the bed enclosure border is appropriate for the copper tape to be attached.

In the marketplace, there are products with copper wire mesh. Their effectiveness seems to depend also on the type of slug or snail you are dealing with.

Also, suitable is self-adhesive copper tape, which should be at least two inches (five centimeters) wide. Narrow copper strips can too easily be overcome by persistent slugs.

More information here: Copper against snails in the test.

Slug Control with copper for raised beds, planters & pots:

Slug Repellent Copper TapeCopper Mesh Fence
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Snail fence with slug repellent paint

The new slug deterrent paint “Schnexagon” can also be used to create a slug-proof fence.

The repellent paint is applied to the bed enclosure about 4 inches wide (10 centimeters).

It is best if one can paint Schnexagon under a small overhang because the paint will be better protected against wind and weathering, and will, therefore, last longer.

After rainy periods, the paint slowly loses its deterring effect and has to be renewed.

U- or J-channels and L- or V-shaped plastic or metal bars, which could be attached to the existing bed enclosure borders are handy for this purpose.

Schnexagon slug repellant paint test

More information here: Application of Schnexagon.

Slug fence with collar/edge

The original slug fence is effective because it has a special double-folded edge that irritates the slugs, preventing their passage.

When trying to crawl around the edge, they fail to do so or fall down. Therefore, one can attempt to recreate a similar sharp edge.

For example, if one has a wooden bed frame, it is possible to attach a thin metal bar or a flat iron to it.

homemade slug fence
Homemade slug fence (https://commons.wikimedia.org/ – Author: The RedBurn – License: CC BY-SA 3.0 – translated).

If, like the snail collar, it points downwards at about 45 degrees, many slugs will be repelled.

These edges are difficult to overcome for slugs, as they are too sharp for the animals to climb around the corner.

Therefore, it is essential that the used sheet metal or angled iron that is as thin as possible. An edge made of wood is not suitable in most cases.

This method is worthwhile only if one has already matching metal or iron.

If not, it will probably be cheaper to buy the original metal slug fence.

More information here: slug barriers

electric slug fence connection
DIY electric slug fence

Electric slug fence

Another way is to construct an electric slug fence.

In this case, two parallel lines of copper or galvanized metal are attached to the border of the bed enclosures.

Each line is connected to a pole of a rechargeable battery, and the battery is hidden in a waterproof case.

It is also possible to use a solar panel to recharge the battery.

More information here: electric slug fences.

Electric Fence | Against Slugs/Snails

Click on the image leads to an offer on Amazon.co.uk.

Slug Fence from Gutter

Since land snails and slugs cannot swim and drown underwater, one can use gutters to create a trench around the beds.

Of course, old gutters made of copper are also suitable without water as a form of protection against the slugs.

Rain gutters are already good protection in themselves if they have a sharp edge, which will be a problem for the slugs to pass.

If one connects a series of gutters to make a continuous ditch that is subsequently filled with water, the plants will be secure.

So, before dumping old gutters, one can use them in the garden.

Matching corners are usually needed for this to work, and these can be bought from any hardware store or ordered online.

In this situation, one should carefully calculate whether the purchase of an original slug fence would be cheaper or pricier than guttering.

what do slugs like to eat

Additional protection against snails

The self-made slug collars, plant hats and garden bells can have extra protection with Schnexagon or copper tape.

These two agents are versatile in their use against snails and can easily be connected with other ideas.

It is especially worthwhile to use copper or slug deterrent paint with cups, pots, and jars which have no safe edge or lid. I hope these ideas can be used to help you create slug-proof beds and to protect any vulnerable vegetables and flowers.

If you’ve tried something, please post a comment with a picture to share with the community.

Thank you very much and enjoy slug control crafting!

Further methods to control slugs and snails

Promote biodiversity and natural enemies of slugs

slug resistant flowers

slug resistant vegetables

Add on: Build a mini greenhouse

I have found a DIY-guide on how to construct a slug-safe mini greenhouse with a simple means of production.

Again a great video of the “Landei”, which I would like to share here because the idea is simple and great:

(Audio in German)

Peaceful Slug Control & Plant Protection

Snail & Slug Repellent Copper Tape | AdhesiveAnti-Slug Fence | Protective Barrier
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Sheep Wool Pellets | Natural Snail RepellentAnti-Slug Collars | For Single Plants | Multipack
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6 thoughts on “Homemade Slug Control for Your Garden (D.I.Y.)”

  1. All this information has kept me glued to the page for longer than i wanted! it’s great I had to bookmark it for future reference, I would have liked to see short video of how to actually apply or make the simple guards too, but maybe that is asking too much. I will keep this bookmark for any future reference though and also check if there is anything else that would be helpful. Thank you very much for it!

  2. You failed to mention that not only the TEXT of the greenhouse video is in German…..the AUDIO is, too.
    Make it a little rough on your North American audience.
    LOOKS fun, though.

  3. ‘makes’

    P.S. Agree with your other commenter: it would have been great if there could be some visuals on the barrier building.
    e.g. I’D be intrigued to see if some of that inexpensive landscape edging (25 ft for $5) combined with one of the many self-adhesive copper tape products might be a VERY cheap, effective solution.

    • Thank you for your comments!
      Sure, you can combine copper tape with landscape edging.
      And yes, some visuals are needed.
      If you have some please share them with me.
      May you enjoy your garden!

  4. I wondered about the live trap design you show as a drawing on your site. It’s supposed to link to amazon but it doesn’t. Is it no longer available on Amazon? How do you make one?
    The slugs are eating hosta, ajuga/bugleweed, and lamium/dead nettle around the (sloped) base of an older maple tree for the first time in 25 years!
    Thank you, and I found your site very informative, detailed, and enlightening.

    • Hey Diane,
      thank you for your comment! Hosta is not the best choice for a garden with many slugs/snails. Here you find some info about alternatives: slug resistant flowers.

      You are right the live trap is no longer available on Amazon. Maybe this will change again.
      Anyway, it is easy to catch slugs. You can find some info here: How to install slug live traps.

      May you have a beautiful day in your garden!

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