Do It Yourself Wedding Centerpieces: How To Make Your Own Fake Topiaries

Add style and elegance to your wedding tables by using topiary centerpieces. They are simple to make at home if you follow these instructions.

The typical bride would love to have a large number of exquisite floral arrangements at her wedding, but the cost of flowers can be prohibitive.Making floral arrangements at home can be a daunting task if you have no experience in floral arranging, but there are some types of centerpieces that can be easily made by almost anyone.Topiaries, which are lovely additions to the wedding table, are simple to make and can be made many months in advance, leaving time for other details closer to the wedding date.Follow these instructions to make topiaries for your wedding centerpieces.

Supplies you will need include a container, either plaster of Paris or floral clay, moss, a dowel or tree branch, spray paint, a styrofoam ball, white craft glue, tulle, floral picks, a glue gun, glue sticks, and ribbon.These supplies can be found in craft stores. You can adapt the topiary design to include the wedding colors, other types of flowers and charms, and you can make topiaries in different sizes, from teacup to basketball sizes.Topiaries make lovely table centerpieces and can even be given as gifts at the end of the wedding reception.You can group several small topiaries together on a single table, and you can use large arrangements as focal points on a gift table, head table, etc.Topiaries can be personalized to fit your wedding needs; just remember to leave plenty of time to make them.

The first step in making a topiary is to choose a container to serve as a base.Suitable containers could be clay flower pots, galvanized tubs, ceramic bowls, teacups, or theme-related containers such as cowboy boots or heart-shaped vases.A requirement for the container is that it must be sturdy enough to hold the weight of the finished topiary ball; for instance, you couldn't use a teacup to hold a ball 8 inches in diameter.The base will need to be fairly heavy to prevent toppling, so plaster of Paris or floral clay will need to be added to the container.If you are using generic containers such as clay pots, you may want to spray paint them in gold, silver, or one of your wedding colors.

If you use floral clay, which will work fine for smaller topiaries, pull off a piece of the clay approximately the size of the container and put it inside.Push on the clay to mold it to the shape of the container; the clay should come up to within a few inches of the top rim.If you are using plaster of Paris, it's a good idea to use a plastic insert in the container.For instance, if you're using a clay flower pot as a base, use a slightly smaller plastic pot as the insert.If there is a drainage hole in the bottom of the insert, tape over it before pouring in the plaster.Do not pour plaster directly into a clay container, as there is a good chance the pot will crack as the plaster hardens.Plaster requires time to harden, so allow for this in your time schedule; follow directions on the product for best results.

If you are using plaster, you will need to insert the dowel or branch in the center of the container before the plaster dries.The dowel will need to remain in an upright position where it cannot move around; pushing two chairs back-to-back against the dowel will hold it securely.If you use floral clay, you can just push the dowel into the clay.If you use a dowel, you will probably want to spray paint it, and if you are using a branch, you can paint it or leave it bare for a more natural look.

After the plaster has hardened, you can attach the styrofoam ball.Make sure the diameter of the ball is suitable for the size of the container you have chosen.Push the dowel into the ball for a few inches, then remove it and coat the dowel with glue.Replace the ball and you are ready to begin the decorating.

Decide what kind of flowers you want to use.Since you may want to make the topiaries weeks or even months before the wedding, it's a good idea to use silk or dried flowers instead of fresh.You can use one type of flower and one color for the whole ball, such as pink rose buds, or you can have a few or many different kinds of flowers.If you are inexperienced at floral arranging or crafts, it's easier to use the one-flower, one-color design.You can purchase enough flowers to solidly cover the whole ball, or you can use fillers between the flowers.Moss makes an excellent filler; before putting on the flowers, cover the ball with white glue and then stick on the moss.Tulle, a type of net that can be purchased by the yard at fabric stores, also looks pretty between the flowers and is less messy than gluing moss.Use floral picks (little sticks with an attached wire) to attach the tulle.Cut a square of tulle, find the center and pull it up to gather the tulle, twist the wire a couple of inches around the tulle, and then stick the pick into the ball between the flowers.The tulle will fluff out and fill in the space; experiment with the size of the square depending on how much space you need to fill.

To attach the flowers, use a hot glue gun.Some flowers are more easily attached than others, and when purchasing them be sure to look at the end that will come in contact with the ball.Flowers with flat ends are easy to glue, and flowers with pointed ends or those that have some of the stem still attached can be stuck into the ball after being dabbed with glue.If you are using different colors and types of flowers, have a plan before you start the gluing process; usually it's a good idea to put on one color at a time, leaving spaces between the flowers for the other types.You can use lavender, baby's breath, or other dried materials for color and for fillers, or if you are having a themed wedding you could add charms such as heart shapes, stars, seashells, etc.After you have finished gluing on all the flowers and fillers, make sure there are no places on the ball where you can still see the styrofoam.

After the ball is covered with flowers, use the ribbon to tie a bow at the base of the ball.Make sure you cover the area where the ball meets the dowel, and put a spot of hot glue on both sides of the dowel to hold the bow in place.Cover the plaster or clay in the container with moss; you may want to add a few flowers or leaves around the base of the dowel too.If you will be storing the topiaries for a long period, cover them with a pillowcase, sheet or other cloth to keep off dust.Don't use plastic covering as it can affect the color of dried flowers.

If you are using the topiaries on round tables, make sure to determine the right height before making them.You don't want your guests to have to peer around them or have their view blocked by the balls.It's a good idea to experiment with making a sample topiary first; visit some florist shops to see how a professionally arranged one looks or look at wedding magazines and craft books to get ideas for colors and types of flowers you can use.With a little practice, you can easily make beautiful topiaries for your wedding centerpieces.

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