Wednesday, June 13, 2012

DIY Topiaries Tutorial

Last week I gave you a peek at how I finished off the dresser area with DIY faux metal industrial looking letters and DIY topiaries.  I shared the tutorial for the letters earlier this week (that post can be seen {here}) and now, as promised, is the tutorial for the topiaries.

I purchased two of these forms from Hobby Lobby.  I think regularly they're $11.99, but of course, I used my 40% off coupon on them.  I briefly considered making my own forms figuring it'd probably be cheaper that way, but the truth of the matter was...I just didn't feel like it.  I didn't feel like hunting for all the right pieces in just the right sizes and then having to glue it all together.  I went the easy route and just bought the pre-made ones.

However, I didn't care for the fake looking dowel rods holding them together.  I wanted something more realistic looking, something that looked like a real stick, with bark and texture.

I've been seeing those projects on Pinterest where they've used hot glue to write a word on a glass jar and then they paint over it for a raised lettering look.  I used that same idea and added knot holes, gouges, etc. with the hot glue to give it texture.

Then I painted the whole thing a solid brown.

Once that was dry I used tan and black paint and lightly brushed, and dabbed, and swirled until I got the realistic look I was after.  I left the knot hole areas a lighter tan color to give the appearance that a branch had been cut off there.

I also purchased these bags of moss from Hobby Lobby - $5.99 each, but again I used 40% off coupons.  They can be found right next to the topiary forms in the store.  It took 3 bags for sure and maybe would have needed a 4th bag except that I discovered some off the exact same moss in a recent makeover project that I purchased.  

Been-there-done-that Tip - If at all possible, purchase all of your bags of moss at the same time.  Take your kids in the store with you to be able to use more coupons, or whatever you gotta do.  I purchased my 3rd bag separately from the other two, about a week or so later I think, and it was a different shade of green!!  I ended up having to pull portions of it apart and sort of mix in the new, lighter, shade of green so that one topiary didn't look completely different from the other.)

I took the moss out of the bag and sort of separated it into big chunks and little chunks, then I flipped the form over and started from the bottom just piecing chunks together like a puzzle.  I used a hot glue gun to attach them.  I didn't have a plan, it was just random and willy-nilly.

Once I got the bottom sections filled in around the dowel rod on both balls, I then flipped it back over right side up and finished it off.  It wasn't hard to do at all, just a little time consuming...and messy.  Be prepared to vacuum after this.  But I think it might have taken me an hour to complete one topiary maybe.

Once they were all finished they looked like this.  The cute little wash tubs also came from Hobby Lobby.  They had just the touch of rustic farmhouse I was wanting and bonus - the forms fit perfectly down in them!  Normal price on those $6.99 each.

Below, you can see more of the added texture on the wood.

So, this was somewhere around 2 hours of work, and after using 40% off coupons on all the supplies they cost me around $17 each to make.  Not bad when similar ones cost anywhere from $50 - $100 new/pre-made.

Oh, here's another little tip.  This moss is quite....ummmm....fragrant, so if you use it plan on it taking several days for the smell to wear down.

My only qualm with these is how in the world am I supposed to dust them?!?  I pondered this question the entire time I was making them.  Left brain was thinking, "These are going to be a pain in the tuckus to dust."  Right brain was countering with, "Yes, but they'll be so pretty it'll be worth it."  Right brain gets a little ambitious in the heat of the moment.  Because anyone who knows me well knows that I hate dusting.  I only do it when I know company is coming over.  Or if the neighbors start to complain of a smog-like atmosphere.  I despise it.  Did you know that they once tried to determine the age of the moon based on how much dust had accumulated on it's surface?  I wonder what century NASA would place my house in?

Ah well, I figure when the dust bunnies start shaping them into carrot shaped trees I'll just make new ones.  

For now, I'm off to prop my feet up and watch the dust collect.


Linking up to:


  1., thanks to you (see my note on the prize winner post) I have the supplies AND the knowlege to make my topiaries!! I think I am going to do the ones that you told me about earlier...that look a bit like rosemary topiaries. I am going to file these directions though for future reference!
    Many thanks for your time to fully describe each move.
    Blessings to you, and happy Flag Day!!

  2. Thanks for the tut! and I love how you textured the wood, very creative!

  3. Love this! I never knew they made ready made forms. What a time saver. I'm thinking you could spruce them up with some light sprays of green spray paint when the dust gets too drab. Thanks for the tute. I'm visiting from Funky Junk.


  4. Your topiaries look really good!! I've got this linked to my topiaries DIY post too today, well done!

  5. You can use spray air in a can to blow dust off.{Like the type for keyboards}. It works great!


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