I really wish I had a photo of the vintage wedding bouquet that I used to make this floral topiary a few years ago, but back then who knew I'd have a blog now, in fact I didn't even know what a blog was! Suffice it to say the bouquet was somewhat comical, and I bought it for almost nothing at a thrift store thinking my daughter might use it some time for a bride costume. I certainly never dreamed that it could be transformed into this!
One day the idea of a floral topiary popped into my head and I thought of the smashed bridal bouquet hiding in a costume box somewhere. As it turned out, once disassembled, the bouquet elements themselves were quite lovely, and there were just barely enough of them to cover my foam ball. The filler for the bouquet was made of loops of crinoline bound to wire with floral tape, and I used those to cover all the empty spaces.
I have to say I was really quite fond of the results of this project, and you can certainly create something similar by assembling an assortment of bouquet elements that you happen upon. I think the success of this topiary was due to the muted and elegant color palette, and the variety of elements. If your elements aren't quite muted enough to achieve this look, try sponging on some watery creme paint, that is in fact what I did to the leaves on the underside of the ball.
- a foam ball, I used one with a diameter of roughly 8"
- a pot or base container of some sort, whose size is in proportion to your foam ball
- floral and bridal elements to cover your ball
- a wooden dowel and small sticks to cover the dowel
- plaster of paris (recommend for professional results, not mandatory) and 4 or 5 long rectangular pieces of foam roughly the height of the pot
- stones or something to weight the pot if not using plaster of paris
- if not using plaster of paris, a piece of foam the size of the opening of the pot, could be 1/2 of a foam ball
- small stones or moss to cover base
- gold paint
- a ribbon, if desired
- a glue gun (mandatory!)
- an adventurous spirit, this is one of those projects that will take shape as you go!
- Determine height of dowel. Standard topiary proportions are 2:1:1, the ratio of head height to visual stem height to container height. Assuming that your dowel will sit at the bottom of the pot, and pierce the foam ball almost to the top, your dowel height should be (height of pot x2) + height of ball. If this is confusing, so just eyeball it!
- Cut dowel to the proper length and spray paint gold.
- Place a few small pieces of foam at bottom or container, and then rectangular foam pieces standing up and placed at even intervals around edge of pot. (These foam wedges act as a cushion to prevent the container from cracking as the plaster of paris hardens)
- Prepare plaster of paris according to package directions, and fill the container with the wet plaster to about 1/2" (1.3cm) below the rim.
- Insert the cut dowel into the center of the wet plaster, making sure that the dowel is straight when viewed from all angles.
- Hold the dowel in place until it is secure, about 3-4 minutes. Allow plaster to continue to harden for at least an hour.
- Impale the foam ball on the dowel, pushing with even pressure until the top of the sphere just meets the top of the dowel.
- Using a glue gun decorate ball with floral elements.
- Partially conceal dowel with small twigs (see photo) and cover plaster with moss or small stones.
- Tie a bow around the pot if desired, and enjoy!
- Note: if you decide not to use plaster of paris make sure your pot is weighted and that the dowel is very securely glued into base. If your topiary head will be heavy I highly recommend using the plaster of paris, I have tried to skip this step and ended up with wobly topiaries, a centerpiece designer's worst nightmare!
- Enjoy and please share with me anything you create using this tutorial!