Paper Topiary Tutorial

April 22, 2009 in Crafts, Home Decor, Tutorials - 4 Comments
I have had a handful of people request a tutorial on how to make the topiaries that I made for a baby shower. I made another one and took pictures of each step, so I am happy to share the idea with you. This craft may look daunting but it is actually very easy. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me.
You’ll need:
  • 4 sheets of coordinating, 12×12 double-sided cardstock (this is enough paper to make 2-3 topiaries)
  • 1-2 sheets of green cardstock (either 12×12 or 8.5×11 will work)
  • Green craft paint that matches the green cardstock
  • Brown craft paint
  • 4″ Styrofoam ball
  • 4″ clay pot
  • Dry floral foam (any size, you can cut it to fit inside the pot)
  • Approximately 100 white ball pins (It takes about 100 pins per ball, so you will need more if you are making more than one. You can also use colored ball pins, but they are not hidden as well)
  • A 3/8″ x 36″ dowel (this is long enough for 3 topiaries)
  • 1/2 yard coordinating ribbon
  • Tools: scissors, paint brush, paper cutter, hot glue, pencil, tape runner (or other adhesive), saw (I used a mini-saw)
Divide your dowel into three 12″ sections and use a saw to cut the dowel along the lines (I enlisted my husband to do the sawing)
It may take 3-4 coats of brown paint to cover your clay pot. Paint about an inch or two of the inside in addition to the entire outside of the pot. Allow drying between each coat of paint.
Poke your dowel into a piece of dry floral foam for easier painting and drying.
Use your paper cutter to cut approximately 100 1/2 inch by 3 inch strips of cardstock. Since you have four sheets of double-sided paper, you will actually end up with 8 different prints that you can alternate around your Styrofoam ball.
Instead of rolling the paper and holding the ends while trying to pin each strip into place, I found it easier to use a small amount of adhesive on each strip before pinning.
It takes a little bit of time to roll and adhere each strip, but this makes the strips much easier to hold in place for pinning.
Poke each pin through the spot where you adhered the two strip ends together. Use alternating papers and rotate the strips in various directions. Place the strips close together and cover the entire Styrofoam ball.
Remember to leave space for the dowel to be poked into the Styrofoam ball.
Cut a piece of dry floral foam to fit snug into the clay pot. Poke a hole with the dowel about half way to the bottom of the foam (you may have already poked a hole when you painted the dowel).
Turn the pot upside down to trace a circle onto the green paper. This circle will cover up the inside of the pot.
Cut around the circle about a half inch from the line. Your cutting does not need to be perfect; the circle is just to hide what is underneath and provide a shelf for the grass.
The circle should rest on top of the dry floral foam; just below the bottom of the rim. Make an indent with the dowel on the center of the circle, lined up with the hole in dry floral foam that is underneath.
Use the edge of your scissors to make an “x” slit on the indent of your circle. Then, poke the dowel through the slit into the dry floral foam.
To make grass: Cut 1/8″ strips of green cardstock. I cut some long strips and some short strips to add texture. They don’t have to be any particular length, which is why it doesn’t matter if you use 12×12 or 8.5×11 cardstock.
Roll each strip tightly around a pencil. They will unravel slightly when you release your grip on the paper. Place the grass on top of the green circle in the clay pot, and use as much grass as you would like.
To spice up the rim of the clay pot, cut two 3/4 inch by 12 inch strips of cardstock with your leftover paper.
One 12 inch strip isn’t quite long enough to wrap around the rim, so you will need to hot glue the two strips together.
Hot glue the strip onto the rim, cutting off the excess paper. Make sure you overlap the ends before cutting off the excess.
Add a bow with your ribbon, and voila!
You could use different papers for spring décor, fall décor, table centerpieces for a wedding, baptism, luncheon, or shower, Christmas, Halloween…the possibilities are endless.


  • Julie April 23, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Two claps for Lindsey! Great job on the tutorial–I’m sure lots of people will be able to follow your complete and well explained directions! They are so cute (not as cute as Blake)!

  • Liz April 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    that’s so fun! i’m excited to try it!

  • April 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Hey Lindsey! I just saw your comment on my blog…I don’t know why I didn’t see it before but I’m so happy to get in touch with you! What is your blog address? Well hope all is wonderful! Lets stay in touch now! Love, Lara p.s. Your family is beautiful!

  • Liz April 24, 2009 at 4:09 am

    I think we might do this for May’s craft group! Thanks for the great idea/tutorial!

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