Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sweet Valentines Topiary

*** This is a loooooooong tutorial, seems I was a little chatty this morning so I have made each step BOLD so if you are wanting just the basic instructions they will show up better without all the chatter!

One of the funny things about crafting is that sometimes a project turns out way better than what you are expecting, as the case was with my glittered wood hearts. Other times it seems that a project looks easy and amazing in your head and then reality hits you upside the head with a big thud. Sigh.....this was one of THOSE projects. But, I have good news. I have got it all worked out so if YOU choose to recreate this project it should be easy breezy. But first a shot of the finished project.
(Oh my I love this topiary and no it is not leaning it is just my un-awesome photography skills!)

A couple of notes about this topiary are that the hearts are made out of salt dough so they are practically free! And the stem is made from wooden bamboo skewers so totally cheap there as well. So here is the rundown along with lots of pictures of my fabulous (now that it is completed) topiary!

Gather Your Supplies:
Heart Shaped Small Cookie Cutter (mine was slightly larger than a quarter)
5" Styrofoam Ball
Green Spray Paint (optional)
Wooden Dowel or Wooden Skewers
A Base for your topiary
Green Fabric (approximately 1/3 yard)
Red Acrylic Paint ( I used Deep Burgandy by Americana)
Hot Glue Gun
Brown Spray Paint
White Marker Pen

First step is to roll out your salt dough and cut out your hearts. I used 34 hearts. Exactly. I know because that is how many I cut out originally thinking it would be plenty. And that I could always make some more if I ran out. Well I started glueing them on randomly and got about 1/3 of the way done. No big deal I will just cut some more out. Oh but it was a big deal, a very big deal. Because somewhere along the way Mischievious Mike decided that he wanted to play with and LOSE my cookie cutter. I searched high, I searched low, I bribed the older boys to find it. Still no cookie cutter and to this day it is still lost. Ugh... Soo I peeled all of those hearts off of my topiary and decided that they would just not  be as close together, but I wasn't giving up. So 34 hearts it is!

After they are baked and cooled, paint the hearts red. Spray paint your styrofoam ball green. I learned a little lesson here. Acrylic paint, which I use all the time, does not dry well on styrofoam! It takes f o r e v e r. So use spray paint on styrofoam. Now it is time to start gluing your hearts to your styrofoam ball. The first time around I just went with it and glued them on. But then, when I only had so many hearts to work with I decided to be more systematic about it. So I divided my styrofoam ball using a marker. Like so....

So now I have 8 sections, 4 hearts per section plus 2 extra. Okay. Glue those hearts down. I used hot glue and I put the glue on the heart and then the heart on the strofoam ball. Soon your ball will look like this.

Cut your green fabric into squares 1 1/2" by 1 1/2". I used a little less than 1/3 of a yard of fabric. So you might want to cut as you go. Cutting all your fabric will most likely result in too many squares.

Now you will fill in all the bare spots with your fabric. I dabbed a little hotglue on the styrofoam ball and then layed down a square of green fabric, taking a stylus I poked at the fabric till it was stuck in the styrofoam ball and scrunchy. My pictures of this stuff stink but here they are.

(See how the fabric is laying flat)

(And how I scrunch it up)

Time to paint the stem and base of your topiary. Now if you are normal you will NOT be doing this in your laundry room at 2:00 am. But heres a tip, Magic Erasers are great for getting spraypaint overspray off the wallpaper! At first these wooden skewers were giving me a hard time to paint them. But I showed them. I stuck them into a paper bowl and then I was able to paint all sides.

Give them a couple of good coats letting them dry the full amount of drying time (or 5 minutes like I do). Now is when you want to take your paint marker and write on your base if you want to. I wrote "Grow Love" on mine.  Once dry you can take the sharp end of the skewers and poke them into your finished styrofoam ball. Now you can use floral foam for the base. But I used left over salt dough. I filled the base completely full of it. Here is the benefits, for one it is free and it also makes the base quite heavy which is a good thing to counterbalance the weight of the topiary top. It takes a while to dry which is a drawback but it is what I used and I am glad I did. Almost finished. Stick the other ends of the stem/dowel/skewers into the base and let dry (this does take at least overnight). To finish I added some more squares of green fabric to the base and tied a little bow around the stem.

I am so in love with this project that once V-Day is over I am moving it to my bedroom. Seems appropriate right?


  1. What a neat idea! I love you're "grow love" saying, very appropriate. And yes, the bedroom would be a perfect place for this after Valentine's Day ;)
    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

  2. that is so cute!
    stopping by from Sits Saturday Sharefest

  3. This is a really neat project, I love it!

    Stopping by from SITS :)

  4. What a cute blog! I LOVE doing crafts with my little girls!
    You should stop by!

  5. I have always loved topiary's and yours is just too cute! Thanks for stopping by my recipe blog and a very Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest! :D

  6. Hi, I really like your topiary and all of your tips. I have not tried painting styrofoam yet so I appreciate knowing to use spray paint. Finesse Your Nest has a Sunday Linky party for making things you already have around your house. I'm having Linky parties next month for basket projects which your crayon basket would be perfect for. Looking forward to seeing your other projects.

  7. cute project! Thought I'd help you get to your 10 followers!


  8. OH now I just can't decide Which I like the best the hearts or the topiary. Now I think the topiary is winning.

  9. That's very cute. I was a salt dough freak as a kid--made everything out of it. Thanks for sharing!