How To DIY Topiaries (Paper Mache) | Days of Chalk and Chocolate

How To DIY Topiaries (Paper Mache)

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Last week was the worst!  I had a nasty stomach bug that lasted for days and days. I only just now started to feel like myself again and since I promised you a topiary tutorial I figured I better get my butt in the chair and get to it!   Thank you so much for all your sweet comments and emails about my DIY topiaries I shared with you last week. They were fun to make and, while it took a couple of days to complete the steps, the process was pretty easy.

Glue gun
planters (AC Moore for $6 a piece)
sticks (backyard)
moss (Dollar Tree)  (I used approximately 10 bags and I'll explain why later)
floral foam (Dollar Tree)
Ribbon (optional)

Step 1: Make your spheres
I am so cheap I refused to buy Styrofoam balls so I used paper mache to make my own.  Prepare the paper mache medium. I used a cooked method.  
Bring 4 parts water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Meanwhile, whisk together 1 part flour to 1 part water to create a slurry. I am pretty sure I used this ratio: 1 c = 1part. Combine your smooth slurry with the boiling water and whisk your heart out.  Cook it a few minutes. It should be thick like glue. Let it cool and place it in a container for dipping your newspaper.

Blow up 2 balloons and find a bowl or something to set them on so they don't roll away.

Tear strips of newspaper (6 in  x 2 in were my measurements). Dip in the flour/water mixture and run the strip through your fingers to remove excess. Lay across the balloon, and continue to coat balloon in coated strips of paper in an even layer. Then do another layer of strips but do it going across the first layer to make it strong. Know what I mean?  I had two fairly thick layers. I would do 3 next time. Keep a very small opening at the neck of the balloon! Hang your balloons to dry completely (overnight). 
Oh and Molly started doing it with me but left because the paste "feels like throw up." My paste was lumpy as is my gravy usually so it was no big surprise to me. It still worked fine.

Step 2: Paint your balls (heh heh) with green spray paint.

 Step 3:
Moss up your balls!

The bags from Dollar Tree had 4 different mosses. I used two kinds. That's why I needed so many bags. But I knew how I wanted it to look so I got what I needed. I used the flat moss for the balls and the green curly for the base.

Then it was just a matter of hot gluing the moss to the balls. It is messy!!  And you will go through a million glue sticks. I just kept squeezing glue under the moss to get all places covered and the moss secure. 


When your spheres are completely covered, give them a good coating of a clear spray of some kind just to make them shed less.

Step 4: Make  your bases.  
Stick the floral foam in the planters. I had to cut mine to get it to fit but it's fine since you're going to cover it up.  
Insert your sticks into the foam. 
Then  hot glue on the green curly mossy stuff.

Step 5: Bring it all together!
 Place your mossy sphere on top of the stick through the little hole you left for the neck of the balloon.  I had to maneuver them around a bit to keep them in place.  Tie a large ribbon right underneath if you want to keep it from slipping or sliding around the stick.

HINDSIGHT NOTE:  So when I was doing this, I realized it may have been easier to put the stick into sphere BEFORE putting the stick in the base. That way you can turn the sphere upside down and apply some hot glue around the opening to keep the sphere in place on the stick.

I hope you try your hand at making these!  At approximately $12 each it was completely worth the few days of effort. They look so pretty in my dining room!

Oh two more tidbits: I know there are uncooked versions of paper mache but I read that the cooked is stronger. Not sure. And I actually did not use newspaper. I used the paper Home Goods wraps breakables in when you purchase them. Perfection.  So many reasons to love HG.


  1. Love 'em! I'm sure they look wonderful!

  2. Glad you are feeling better and thanks for a great tute!

  3. They are so pretty and I think it is so smart to make the spheres with paper mache! Never thought of that, but it sure would save money. They look fantastic!
    I would love if you would share this at my link party.
    Take care,

  4. These are so pretty! How creative to use paper mache! You must be an elementary school teacher:) (I teach K/1)
    Krista @thehappyhousie

  5. Love your topiaries. You certainly did a complete job on your tutorial!

  6. Great job! I love that you didn't use styrofoam - I think they are ridiculously expensive too. :)

    I'd love to have you share these at my Show & Tell party this week.

  7. I can see myself making a huge mess with this project!
    But I think it would be totally worth it. They look great! I love the addition of the ribbon.

  8. These are great because you can make them any size you want. I've been looking for a fairly good sized topiary but have only seen really small ones. I'm going to try this (project number 38 on my list)! Thanks for sharing and blessings to you, Patti

  9. The paper mache is a great idea! I'm co-hosting a blog hop today. I would love for you to join us. Callies's Crafts

  10. Awe Jenny, Everything you do turns out beautiful :) Thanks for sharing it at Monday FUnday!

  11. Thanks so much for linking to Make the Scene Monday @ Alderberry Hill. You are being featured later today!
    I hope you enjoy your weekend, and join me Sunday evening for Make the Scene Monday #71!
    And don't forget to enter the Cannon Rebel T3 Camera Giveaway!


Thanks for your comments!