Homemade from the Heart: Topiary Transformation

| October/November 2003

If you love creating and decorating, this is a fun way to grace a friend’s home with herbs. While it takes a bit of time, your labors will be rewarded by your loved ones’ delight at this great-looking, deliciously-scented gift.

  • ½-inch wood dowel (cut to 20 inches in length)
  • Green floral tape
  • 6-inch craft foam ball
  • Fast-drying modeling clay (about 1 pound)
  • 6- to 8-inch terra cotta pot
  • Cool-melt glue
  • Floral wire, optional
  • Dried herbs, such as rosebuds, bay, sage, yarrow, rosemary, lavender, star anise, cinnamon sticks or lamb’s-ears
  • Moss
  • Ribbon, optional
  1. Begin by wrapping the dowel with floral tape at a slight angle. Don’t worry about wood showing a bit on the ends, as this will be hidden. Next, center the foam ball on the end of the dowel and gently press the dowel into the ball about 1 to 2 inches deep. Then press the modeling clay into the bottom of the pot. Place the end of the dowel opposite the foam ball into the clay in the pot until it reaches the bottom. Make sure the dowel is centered and straight and that the foam ball is balanced just right above the pot.
  2. Remove the dowel from the pot, careful to keep the hole you’ve created in the clay intact. Apply cool-melt glue to the end of the dowel, place it back into the hole in the clay and hold firmly while pressing clay tightly around the dowel until it’s sturdy. Remove the foam ball, apply glue to the top end of the dowel, replace the foam ball and hold firmly until the glue has cooled and hardened. Set aside until modeling clay has dried (about 6 hours or overnight).
  3. Now it’s time to decorate. We found three different ways of attaching the herbs, depending on the type and strength of stem: 1) gently press stems into the foam; 2) use cool-melt glue to hold flowers or leaves in place; or 3) snip off a 1-inch piece of floral wire, fold it in half and press it through a leaf or around the stem and into the foam. Fasten larger items first and overlap with smaller pieces as you go. Attach the herbs you’ve selected around the ball until it’s covered.
  4. Complete the finishing touches on your topiary by placing florists’ or modeling moss (found at craft stores) around the dowel on top of the clay so it’s no longer revealed. Tie a festive ribbon around the topiary’s dowel stem or around the pot.

Click here for the original article, Homemade from the Heart.



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