How to Make a Fake Topiary

by Diane Henkler on 03/15/2011

How to make a fake topiary

logo_greenthumbsupThis is not the color of my thumb. I don’t have the natural ability to make plants thrive under my care and I gave up trying a long time ago.  I love plants and flowers and don’t mind using fake ones as long as they look natural. Some people are not fans of fake flowers – only because I think they envision the words “fake flowers” with the dried flower arrangements from the past. Now- a- days beautiful blooms can be purchased at Michaels and craft stores as well as Pottery Barn –yes Pottery Barn- the epitome of what is popular in decorating says it is A-OK to use FAKE – they even have a special sign displayed in their fake garden section in the store to remind you of the fact.

Seeing this just re-enforces my choice to use” fake” in my home.   I still love real flowers and buy them from time to time to add a seasonal color pop to brighten my day.

Years ago  I made a fake topiary for my kitchen using  fake ivy.  I made two. Last summer I tossed them as they looked dated to me – to0 perfect, stiff, stuffy, green, tired, and yes –  dusty.

Fake Topiary

I like the look of lighter, fresher looking topiaries. Topiary that have very thin, tall stems with wispy tops.  They look natural – light and airy – alive not staid and stuffy.


I got an idea after seeing Trax my cat ripping apart some fake greenery I had placed on the floor.  You should see what he does to anything real – another reason I don’t have living plants around.  Trax is always trying to help me – usually by getting in my way, but he actually helped me figure out a way I could make an updated fake, but natural looking topiary using the greenery from the flower pot on the floor.   I like this greenery as it is soft and wispy, plus it’s not perfect looking.  Some of the branches have a yellow cast which makes it look real.

How to Make a Fake Topiary with Craft Store Artificial Plants

How to make fake topiary for your home

Supplies Needed:
Thin and Straight Tree Branch – I found mine by taking a walk in the woods
Flower Pot
Fake Greenery- I found mine at Michaels
Hot Glue and Gun
Wire cutter
Florist’s Wire
1. Cut tree branch to height desired. Mine is 20-inches. I also cut the buds off.

How-to-make-a-fake topiary-tree-

2. Put in foam or oasis block in a flower pot and cover with damp sheet moss.

How-to-make-a-fake-topiary tutorial

3.  Cut each stem away from the bouquet with wire cutters.



4.  On each branch remove the top piece of greenery. It should come right off.


5.  Bend wire.  This will create a “stop” and keep the greenery from coming off the stem in the next step.


6. Using your fingers – push all the branches on each stem up to the stop.



7. Pick one stem to be your main stem, then one by one wrap the other stems around the main one two times and cut the excess off.


8.  It will end up looking like this.


9.  Using florist’s wire attach stem to branch. Use a dab of hot glue if needed.


10.  To hide the twisted wire and fill in the bottom a bit-


11.  Put a bit of hot glue on the end of the pulled off top pieces and stick them into the bottom center of the ball.


12. It will then look like this.


13.  Tie one or two more pieces of florist’s wire along the branch to secure the stem.


Optional:  I wanted to have the main stem go along the branch and down to the pot to resemble a living topiary, but  the stems from my greenery were not long enough, so I pieced it and secure it with some more florist’s wire.  The stem is what makes it look like it is real and living.


14.  Shape the top into a rounder shape using scissors.



Now I have updated, natural looking topiaries for my kitchen that don’t need watering and that even I can’t kill.  It would be nice if they could smell like fresh herbs, but they do look real.     Just have to make sure Trax the cat doesn’t like them as much as I do now.

How to make a fake topiary tutorial

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Karen Jerread March 16, 2011 at 11:33 am

Great ideas.


2 Heather March 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Great idea! I love the springtime freshness and it looks much more modern in comparison to the old ivy topiaries that were so popular years ago.


3 Jadyn March 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Wow, it came out great! How creative! I’m really loving topiaries at the moment too.


4 Connie Bishop March 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Topiaries are never out of style with me but you’re right some of the older ones just looked like a green ball on a stick. Yours are so perfectly airy and fresh. You’ve given them a new and exciting life.


5 Diane March 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Hi Connie-
Ha Ha – yes that is exactly what my old ones looked like – a green ball on a stick. -very funny.


6 Ashlyn March 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

I don’t have a green thumb either. I don’t know what camp I am in about using fake flowers…but the topiaries turned out amazing!!
I used to sell topiaries with mini dried rose buds in the 90′s…do you remember that look? Talk about dated! Anyway, this idea is lovely and I think I might have to give it a go.
thanks for the inspiration!


7 Diane March 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Hi Ashlyn-

I remember them well. I made a bunch for table settings for my sister’s baby shower – with satin ribbon!! That seems like so long ago.


8 March 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

LOVE THIS! Come on ova’ and link up to my Linky Party! xoxokara


Im CRAAAAAAAAAAAZY about your blog! So glad I found you! Im following…Come over and share this BEAUTY!


9 Carol-Anne: Use the Good Dishes! March 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm

I use the faux flowers and greenery as well, but find that only the expensive stuff really looks good.

A good trick I use, both in my home and when staging houses, is to use fakes that would actually be in season . I then just put them away and change them out as the seasons change.


10 Shelley March 16, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Now that’s thinking outside the box. Wow!!! They turned out great.



11 Cindy March 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm

What a GREAT idea…thanks so much for sharing!


12 Pam March 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm

The topiary is so cute! Thanks so much for the tutorial. I definitely want to try this.

Have a great day.


13 Kim March 16, 2011 at 11:56 pm

I love it! I need to make me one.


14 Miss Kitty March 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

I absolutley LOVE this idea! I am using more and more “fake flowers” in my home because now-a-days so many of them look so real. Sometimes I strip off the greenery off a fake flower (if it doesn’t look real) and use real greenery to further fool the eye. Here is a mantle I just did that way


15 Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage March 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

It looks really great! Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!


16 Trisha@ The Sweet Survival March 18, 2011 at 9:33 am

This is awesome. It looks just like the real thing!


17 susan March 18, 2011 at 12:53 pm

just darling! you’d never know that was fake! thank you for the visit! i know exactly what you mean about the Lithua?what? I cracked that’s happened to me my whole life. My friend’s father went there and he said the countryside is just beautiful!! enjoy the weekend! susan


18 Natasha March 18, 2011 at 11:09 pm

That looks sensational! It’s good to see that people aren’t scared of using “fake” foliage because sometimes we just can’t access or afford fresh flowers every week! Great post.

Best wishes,


19 Jaime March 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm

What a cute tutorial! Love it!


20 Holly L March 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm

This is inspiring. I have a black thumb and while I love the look of plants in my home…I kill them within days. This are gorgeous and I just may try some to add a little green love in my house!


21 Denise March 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Diane, this is fantastic! I think I even remember seeing these stems last time I was at Michael’s. You did a wonderful job enhancing these and they really do look real. I’m not opposed to faux either as long as they are good looking- thanks so much for sharing this at Transformations and Treasures!


22 Bettsi March 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm

That looks amazing! Very adorable. I’m bookmarking this. Thanks!


23 Bettsi March 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Well, Diane, I did more than bookmark it- I blogged it! Just too clever NOT to share! Thanks again.


24 Diane March 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Hi Bettsi-
Thanks so much. I wish I did have a green thumb, but making this is the second best way to at least look like I do.


25 Megan March 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

This is brilliant and I’m going to give it a try. Wish me luck! ;)


26 Diane March 20, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Hi Megan-

Here is a wish of Good Luck – although I don’t think you will need it as the topiary is not hard to make.


27 cheryl September 14, 2011 at 6:38 am

i absolutely love this… i just have to find the supplies in canberra where craft suppliers are few and far between……. but i will have one damn it!!!!
thanks for the great tutorial.
cheryl xox.


28 Lorrie September 21, 2011 at 2:39 am

They really do look real! Wish I would have seen them a couple weeks earlier. I was searching for some “real” looking ones, couldn’t find what I wanted, ended up making 2 from coffee filters, I like them, but I like yours better, oh well maybe after Chirstmas I’ll change them. Thanks for the inspiration!


29 Molly September 28, 2011 at 10:21 am

I love that. It looks like you used fake asparagus fern, which is one of my favs. I have earmarked a page in Ballard’s catalog with very similar topiaries-thanks for showing me how to save some money!


30 Doug05 February 13, 2012 at 6:38 am

This is amazing.It looks like a real one !


31 StephC February 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I found your tutorial by googling “artificial topiary” – or something like that – after I had dejectedly decided that an outdoor box topiary would be out of our price range. We’re thinking of prepping to sell. Our front door needs *something* to make it look nice, and I’ve always wanted to put a plant nearby.

Your blog is so inspiring & encouraging!


32 Diane February 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Thanks Steph – Best of luck with your house sale.


33 Gloria April 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Saw this on Pinterest, Diane. Love it! Thanks for sharing.


34 Paulette April 27, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I prefer to call them “faux” flowers and not “fake”. I worked for several years in the “faux” flower industry. I worked for a company called Distinctive Designs, Inc. They have won many awards for their work. Another company, also in Alabama, known as NDI, Natural Decorations Inc. is accomplished in the design field as well. They too have won many awards. Check out either website. Especially, You will be pleasantly surprised at how beautiful and realistic the “fake” flowers are. While you are there, go ahead and be amazed at the other things from nature that they bring to life. I will be the first to admit their florals (stems or arranged) are not cheap. Far, far from it. But I guess what I’m saying is: there are choices out there other than the real thing. And the “fake” flower business is alive and well. Another suggestion along with Michaels is Hobby Lobby. I find better prices and more realistic look there. Also they have 1/2 price about every other week. Happy planting………..!


35 Keila June 28, 2012 at 1:43 am

Best part is you save a lot and don’t have to trim them anymore :) Thanks for sharing!


36 Keilani July 31, 2013 at 7:18 am

Love this!!! and About missing the scent…… Around Christmas Bath n Body works sells some greenery air fresher sprays that smell very good. I purchased one that was an winter pine and I used it near my faux Christmas tree. But a lot of bushes now days have that pine scent.


37 Effie August 9, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hi, I want to subscribe for this blog to take hottest updates, therefore where can
i do it please assist.


38 Lisa September 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm

great tutorial! I will be trying this out


39 shelley February 5, 2014 at 9:19 am

Great post!! I am pinning this, and also making this today!!! Now I can throw away the decorator catalogs I have been saving for when I was ready to “bite the bullet” and pay for one of these!


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