Wednesday, September 29, 2010

wonderfully handmade

these topiary centerpieces are fun and easy to make and make a dramatic impact. they will bring out your inner Michelangelo for sure. the materials are inexpensive. all you need is some floral foam, some moss and some spray adhesive. everything else you can find in your own home and your backyard. use your old terra cotta pots or swing by your local salvation army store where you are sure to find lots of beautifully mismatched vintage vessels. adorn them with butterflies and glittered birds and you are on your way to having a magical garden party. once you master the simple bird you can try to make other fun animal shapes like snails and even squirrels.


1 package natural sheet moss
1 can of spray foam adhesive
5 floral foam blocks
1 sturdy branch (the straighter the better)
spanish moss
some small twigs
serrated knife for carving


* these directions are for a large bird topiary about 12 inches from wide. for smaller birds or other animals you might have to use a different amount of foam blocks.

1. take 4 floral foam blocks and glue them together to form 1 large block per the directions on the adhesive can. let the block dry for a few minutes before carving.
2. once the block is dry and ready to carve, draw the simple form of the bird on each side of the block to help you imagine the form of the bird inside and guide you in carving.

sides front/back

3. carve with serrated knife little by little and watch the shape reveal. the carving does not have to be perfect since the entire shape will be later covered by moss.

4. once you finish carving the bird, it is ready to be covered by moss. spray the bird with adhesive and allow it to become tacky. take as much moss as you need to cover the entire surface of the bird and spray the back of the moss with the adhesive as well. allow the moss to become tacky. you will probably have to cover the bird in parts since the moss is usually in pieces when you buy it. apply the thinnest pieces of moss to the top and sides of the bird. if there are really thick pieces, try to trim some of the dirt from the dirt side of the moss to make it thinner. reserve the less attractive pieces of the moss for the bottom of the bird.

5. when the bird is covered, insert the stick into the bottom to make the stem. add a couple of twigs to the bird's tail end to make a twig tail.
6. cut a piece of foam block to tightly fit into your planter of choice. the tighter the foam fits, the more stable the topiary will be.

6. stick the stem into the center of the foam block and glue spanish moss to cover the foam base.
7. adorn as you wish. glittered butterflies, birds, ribbon bows make beautiful additions.

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