Student handout

Wattle You Build Next?

Wattle and daub huts were constructed from a framework of flexible branches covered with a mud mixture to form the walls. Branches were woven into the sides of the house before it was covered with mud. The mud would have insulated the house and kept the people living there warm during the winter. The word "wattle" refers to the woven branches and the word "daub" means the mud plastered around the wattle. Think of the dirt dauber, a familiar insect which builds its home from mud.

A model of a wattle and daub hut can be constructed using a wire flower basket, thin grapevine, mud or clay, and green paper. Follow these directions to see "wattle" you build!

Wire basket from the garden center
4 inch grapevine wreath to be taken apart
8 inch square of foam board or thick cardboard for a base
Mud or clay
4 inch squares of green printer paper or construction paper
Craft glue
Wire cutters


1. Ask an adult to use wire cutters to cut a doorway for your hut.

2. Turn the wire basket upside down. Push the wires into the foam board or cardboard so that it will not move.

3. Unravel the grapevine wreath. Use the thin vines from the wreath to weave between the vertical wires on the basket frame. Use a simple over and under weave to cover the empty spaces between the uprights.

4. Cover the sides of the hut with mud or clay. This will keep the hut warm and block out cold breezes.

5. Make paper palmetto leaves to go on your roof. First, cut out a square of green paper about four inches on each side. Fold the paper accordion style like a paper fan. Use little folds. Staple the fan at the top. Leave the paper folded for now. Now take your scissors and cut diagonally across the bottom from one side to the other. When you open the fan, you should have a palmetto leaf. Make lots of these for your roof.

6. Use craft glue to attach the paper palmetto leaves to the roof of the hut. These need to overlap so that the rain won't come in. Overlap the sides of the palmetto leaves and overlap each top layer over the bottom ones.

7. The roof of the hut could also be made out of woven grass mats. Try these instead if you like and then write directions to show a friend!