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How to Make a Christmas Topiary: 5 DIY Projects

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I love decorating for the holidays, but not when it costs a bundle. DIY projects help me stay festive without breaking the bank.

A peacock feather topiary adds a festive touch.

A peacock feather topiary adds a festive touch.

Make Your Own Christmas Topiaries

Topiaries used as Christmas decorations add eloquence to the home during the holidays. They are an excellent way to decorate a fireplace, mantle, or entryway. Typical retail prices for a standard topiary start at $45.00, making them an expensive investment during an already financially taxing holiday season.

With a few tools, some floral foam, a base, and some creativity, topiaries can be custom decorated by you for just a few dollars. Each is simple to make regardless of skill level. Topiaries are an excellent indoor or outdoor Christmas decoration.

1. Grapevine Topiary

A grapevine topiary is a beautiful accent that adds country Christmas charm to home. To make this craft easier, you can purchase a pre-assembled grapevine topiary at a craft store. They come in many sizes.

For an authentic handmade look, a grapevine topiary can be made with a wire tomato cage.

Supplies for One Grapevine Topiary:

  • One wire tomato cage in the size of your choice
  • Wire cutters and pliers
  • Brown floral wire
  • One large spiral of grapevine.
  • Your favorite lights, berry picks and decorations

Instructions:

  1. Turn the wire tomato cage upside down with the narrow end at the top. Gather the three wire ends and secure them with brown floral wire and pliers.
  2. Start weaving grapevine at the base of the cage around the bottom section. Be sure to cover wire. Every three inches, secure the grapevine to the cage with a piece of floral wire.
  3. Continue to wrap the grapevine around the cage going up. When one round is complete around the cage, push it down to avoid gaps and secure it to the level below it with brown floral wire. Continue until you get to the top of the cage.
  4. When you get to the top, secure the last piece of grapevine securely with the brown floral wire.

Decorate your tree with lights, berry picks, and your favorite ornaments. Can be used indoors or outdoors.

2. Feather Topiary

Of all the topiaries to make by hand, the feather topiary is the simplest and least expensive of all. Basic topiaries can be made for just the cost of the floral cone and feather picks. This type of topiary can be set on a shelf as is when finished, or you can place it in a festive Christmas planter. These also work well with year-round décor in your favorite colors and styles.

Supplies for One Feather Topiary:

  • One Styrofoam floral cone
  • A pack of 50 feather plume picks in your favorite color and style
  • Floral wire cutters
  • Spray snow or glitter if desired
  • Feather water proofing spray (if being used outdoors)
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Instructions:

  1. Set up the floral cone on your workspace.
  2. Start at the bottom of the cone and insert the flower picks into the foam at an upward angle.
  3. Keep them close together so they are touching to avoid bare spots.
  4. Work to the top of the cone adding even layers of feathers at an upward angle. When you get to 3/4ths of the way to the top, trim the feather plume picks with the floral cutters. Shorten the stems by 1/4th to 1/2" until you reach the top.
  5. When finished, you can spray your feather topiary tree with decorative snow or glitter. If this topiary will be used outside or exposed to the elements, spray the feathers with waterproofing spray.

3. Christmas Ball Topiary

For a topiary with more color, try one made with Christmas balls in your favorite color or that can be customized to match your holiday theme.

Supplies:

  • A decorator pot in your favorite color and style. Consider decorating a planter with paint or Christmas paper for a festive topiary.
  • One floral block to fit the base of the planter you choose
  • One large floral craft stem to make the topiary trunk
  • One extra large floral ball for the top of the trunk
  • Ribbon to make a large bow for the trunk
  • Christmas balls in your favorite colors. Assorted sizes add interest. If you mix sizes you will need about 84. If using all large ornaments, you will need 70.
  • Craft Glue
  • Craft moss to cover the base of the floral foam in container

Instructions:

  1. Attach the floral ball to the top of the stem.
  2. Attach the base floral foam to the bottom of the stick.
  3. Insert the foam construction into the planter. The foam at the base can be shaved down with a knife if it is too big for the planter. If this will be placed outdoors, add rocks before adding the floral foam. This will keep the topiary from blowing over.
  4. Cover the foam in the planter with decorative moss to hide the floral foam. If using a natural stem, it can be left bare. Otherwise, it can be covered with decorative material such as decorative duct tape. For a festive look, use red and white tape to create a candy cane pattern.
  5. Attach the Christmas balls to the round foam ball. Start at the top and work down, adding a touch of craft glue to each ball and pushing the hanging portion of the ball into the foam.
  6. When balls are secured to the floral foam ball, attach a festive bow to the top of the trunk. You are ready to enjoy your topiary.

4. How to Make a Spiral Christmas Topiary

A spiral topiary may look intimidating, but it is an easy project. You can make one from a real miniature evergreen tree such as Alberta Spruce or even a Blue Spruce. This topiary can also be made with artificial evergreen foliage.

Supplies for One Spiral Christmas Topiary:

  • One cone-shaped evergreen miniature tree (it can remain in the container it comes in, or you can transfer it to a more festive, decorative container.)
  • Freezer tape
  • Pruning shears
  • Decorative Planter for indoors or out
  • Festive foil and bows to decorate the pot
  • Christmas lights if you want a lighted topiary

Instructions:

  1. Working outdoors, wind the tape around the tree starting at the top. Continue to the bottom and make a spiral shape in the branches.
  2. Next, prune the branches of the tree to match the spiral shape of the tree. Don't over snip.
  3. Remove the tape and make sure your spiral design is the way you want it. Touch up any necessary areas.
  4. As long as you keep the evergreen alive it will continue to grow. Try placing it in a bigger pot or transplanting it into the ground.

Your spiral is ready for decoration.

5. Christmas Berry Topiary

A berry topiary is a natural and festive way to create your own outdoor Christmas décor.

Supplies for One Christmas Berry Topiary:

  • One styrofoam cone (sold at most craft stores)
  • 10–12 sprigs of dried or artificial red berries (for a medium tree)
  • One festive decorative planter in the size of your styrofoam cone

Instructions:

  1. Set the styrofoam cone inside the planter. Trim it and push into the planter to make sure it fits tightly.
  2. Glue sprigs of dried or artificial red canella berries to a cone-shaped styrofoam tree with white glue. Start from the bottom and work up in sections, allowing some of the sprigs to hang over the planter for a natural look.
  3. If you are setting this topiary outdoors, you will need to anchor it to prevent it from blowing away. Craft rocks can be added to the bottom of the planter before adding the cone to it.

© 2012 Tammy

Comments

C E Clark from North Texas on June 24, 2013:

I just love the craft projects you publish. This one makes putting a topiary together look so easy and they all look beautiful. I'm thinking these instructions would be good for any holiday or even a seasonal topiary. Voting you up and beautiful, and will pin you to my "Crafts Board."

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on December 14, 2012:

Beautiful stuff, Tammy! I'm seeing the feather topiaries all over the place this year. How timely! :)

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on December 09, 2012:

Thanks so much for commenting seanorjohn. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on December 09, 2012:

Thanks so much Sherry. These are a better alternative to the expensive ones you can buy in stores.

seanorjohn on December 09, 2012:

The Berry topiary not only looks stunning I am surprised to realise I could make that one.( Thanks to your instructions.) Christmas will be fun this year. Voted up and beautiful.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on December 09, 2012:

Those are beautiful. I've never tried a topiary, but it looks like fun. Voted up and shared.

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on December 01, 2012: