Topiaries, by Jane Sanem

What you’ll need:
  • Styrofoam Balls – 1.4 inches (approximate size)
  • Styrofoam Balls – 0.9 inches (optional additional smaller size)
  • Wooden skewers for kabobs
  • Green floral tape
  • Coarse Turf by Woodland Scenics (can be found at Railroad and Hobby stores)
  • Mini Flowers by ArtMinds (shredded colored foam)
  • A bit of coffee grounds or foliage
  • A bit of moss
  • A pot for your topiary (either purchased or made by you)


Make Your Own Pot

Michael’s or other craft stores sell plain wooden flower pots in various sizes. These can be painted or covered in colored tissue paper that has a pattern or a variety of colors/shades. Tissue paper can be layered on the wooden flower with watered down glue. Once the paint or tissue paper is dry, dip in or paint on a product called Triple Thick by DecoArt. It’s sold at Michael’s and gives your pot a glazed finish.  


Design Your Topiary

Here’s where your design comes in! Do you want a single round topiary? Do you want a double topiary with a smaller and larger ball? Which skewer to use – thick or thin? How tall? Make sure that your hand crafted or purchased pot is large enough to support your topiary. 

If you feel your Styrofoam ball is too big, roll it around in your hands to compress it.

Let’s Get Started

Spear the Styrofoam ball with the skewer.  Don’t pierce the top ball.

Coat the ball thickly with glue. I find it easier to keep the ball on the skewer to coat the glue on. Pull apart the Coarse Turf into small pieces and spread out on a paper plate. I combine the green Coarse Turf with a smaller amount of another color or two of landscaping foam. The colors will represent flowers. Keeping the glued ball on the skewer, I roll and pat on the mixture of greenery and colors. 

Instead of landscaping foam, punched small flowers can also add color to your topiary.  The middle topiary in the first picture has punched flowers

When you’ve finished adding greenery and “flowers”, keep the ball on the skewer and prop in a glass to dry.

Cut your skewers down to a good height for your pots. The pointed end of the skewer should go down into the pots. Wrap the skewer, diagonally, with green florist tape.

Position your ball on the green wrapped skewer. Use a dab of glue on the skewer before your final position.

Position a piece of Styrofoam in your pot. Darken the top of the Styrofoam with a black marker. Glue the piece of Styrofoam in your pot. Spread glue on the darkened top and sprinkle soil (tea and coffee grounds) on the top.

Once dry, poke a hole in the Styrofoam that’s in your pot. I used the end of a paint brush that’s smaller than my wrapped skewer. Glue the skewer in the pot.  You can glue on a bit of moss on top of your dirt, if you wish.

You can add a bird or some butterflies to your topiary.

Make your own butterflies! Google “free printable butterflies” for a variety of butterflies. Smaller butterflies can be trimmed and used. I used a butterfly punch from Michael’s. I used a large googled butterfly and punched small butterflies from it. Glue two butterflies of the same color together. I used a compatible marker to color white edges. A black marker is great to highlight the body and antenna on both sides. I bent the butterfly on either side of the body to make it flutter.


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