Burlap Topiary

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I love the geometric simplicity of a topiary, but I never have a traditional one around my house. Covered in greenery it is just far too classic to fit into my midcentury style. But at the holidays, all bets are off.

Last Christmas, sadly before the advent of Pinterest so I’ve totally lost track of the author, I saw a Christmas ornament decorated with squares of burlap. It’s been living in my head ever since, and now I’ve re-imagined that idea for a topiary I can love, and that works perfect for my fall decor.

Burlap Topiary Step 1
You’ll need three dowels about 1 ft. tall. I bought a pack of six dowels already cut to size at the craft store. So they didn’t just look like dowels, I took a warm brown acrylic paint and watered it down to create a wash. Now they look like cinnamon sticks to me.

Stick the dowels into a 6″ styrofoam ball and glue in place. I also glued the sticks together for even more stability.

Burlap Topiary Step 2
Cut a whole mess of burlap into rough squares. The wider the variety, the better it will look. Coat the styrofoam ball with glue one section at a time and stick the burlap down with a pin through the center. Pinch up all those raw edges to keep them out of the glue.

You can play around a bit to see how you like the burlap to look, but I found that spacing the squares out a little looked best to me. By packing them in tight you lose a little of that random look and don’t see as much of the burlap weave.

Burlap Topiary Step 3
When you’ve got the whole ball covered in burlap squares, shove the other end of your dowels into another styrofoam piece. What piece you choose will depend on what you’ll be using as a vase for your topiary. This small column was thin enough to fit my vase, but a wider piece will provide more stability. Use glue to make it secure, then glue into your vase.

Burlap Topiary Step 4
Use moss or some kind of basket filler to cover up the styrofoam. I went with this gray green moss because I had it on hand and I liked how the color worked with the burlap. You don’t want something matchy-matchy.

Burlap Topiary Step 5
Use a beautiful grosgrain or satin ribbon and tie a great big bow just below the burlap ball. I hot-glued this in place so it didn’t slide anywhere.

Burlap Topiaries
I made two of these topiaries so I could flank my spooky tea service, but they’re so perfect for autumn that I’ll be able to leave them up all the way until the Christmas trees come out.

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