walnut topiary

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How to make a walnut topiary:

Gather your supplies: a pot (you need a pot that has some weight to it as the walnuts do get heavy), a dowel, Styrofoam ball, Styrofoam adhesive spray, floral foam, Spanish moss, hot glue gun, naturally wired, two rubber bands, twigs, brown spray paint, white spray paint, white craft paint, brown stain and many, many walnuts (one topiary has about 85 walnuts on it).

First paint your walnuts: I laid mine out on a drop cloth in the garage. I gave them a heavy spraying with white spray paint. After the paint dries, turn them over and spray another side. Keep doing this until the walnuts are completely covered with white paint. Now you will stain them. I poured some stain onto a folded up paper towel, let it seep in and then quickly rolled the walnut in it. Once the stain is dry you are going to spray the walnuts white again, but this time you will just mist them so the stain shows through. I'm not going to lie to you, this is a lot of work, but they are so beautiful when they are done.

Next spray paint your dowel and Styrofoam ball with the brown spray paint and allow to dry. Now spray one side of the Styrofoam ball with the adhesive spray, allow it to sit a few minutes to get tacky, then put the Spanish moss on. Do the same with the other side. The ball will look like a crazy, furry mess at this point but don't worry. Now give it a good haircut with some scissors, trimming the Spanish moss so it is a nice thin layer all around the ball. Okay, time to glue on those walnuts! Carve a hole in the bottom of the Styrofoam ball and stick your dowel in. Do not secure it yet. Place the bottom of the dowel into your pot with some floral foam. Again , we are not securing it yet, we just need it to be steady while gluing on the walnuts. Place your first walnut at the top of your ball and work your way down.
Glue the walnuts on as close together as possible, going in concentric circles. Once you hot glue a walnut on, hold it in place for about 20 seconds to let the glue set. When you get to the end if the walnuts aren't all fitting, no worries, just pull some off and take some of your spare walnuts and see what works best, a smaller one, a larger one, work with them until they fit. When one side of the ball is covered turn your ball and start working on the other side.

Making the tree trunk for the topiary: Place one rubber band at the top of your dowel and one at the bottom. Start sliding your twigs on to the dowel and the rubber bands will hold them securely. When you have as many twigs on as you like take some Naturally Wired and place a circle of it at the top, bottom and middle of your twig covered dowel. Now that the twigs are secure you can remove the rubber bands. In case you have never heard of Naturally Wired, it is a product you can find in the floral arranging section of the craft store. It is wire that is covered with brown paper so it has a twiggy look to it.

Spray paint the whole thing brown and let dry. Push little pieces of Spanish moss in gaps in between the twigs. Then simple rub on bits of white craft paint.

Place floral foam in your pot. Put your topiary in and cover the top of the floral foam with Spanish moss. Then you can decorate your topiary any way you like. I used some cascading ribbon at the bottom of mine and some silver craft berries.

The topiary is complete. It is a bit (or more!) of an effort to make, but so worth it. The topiary is a wonderful piece of decor you can have out for both the Fall and Winter seasons and have it to display for years to come.


  1. Beautiful... so clever. I love natural elements too!

  2. Simply elegant! Such a great topiary.

  3. Very neat - I think I'd make them gold. Nice in process photos, very clear. You make it look easy...

  4. Jeanne,
    I think gold would look really great too!