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Make a Paper Leaf Topiary

Feb 21, 2012

by Brittany Watson Jepsen handmade and vintage goods

Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is “a creative mess is better than tidy idleness,” and she has guest blogged for design*spongeOh Happy Day and Brooklyn Bride. Find her on her blog, The House That Lars Built, and  her Etsy shop, where she designs and sells kitchen accessories and all things floral.

When it comes to weddings, you have to choose your battles. Fresh flowers may be beautiful, but once the day is done, so are they. Paper flowers provide a wonderful alternative because they won’t wilt and can be kept as mementos. The same goes for this DIY paper leaf topiary. It was so simple to make and can easily be constructed with materials around the house. It’s perfect for a wedding couple’s table or to complement the guest book.


  • The inner hoop of an embroidery hoop
  • Shades of green paper, grey paper for silhouettes and/or monogram
  • Clay pot
  • Moss
  • Skewers
  • Wire (a bit longer than double the size of your pot)
  • Wire cutters
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Duct tape
  • Glue gun

1. Bring a piece of wire through the hole in the bottom of the pot. Secure it over the bottom of the embroidery hoop and then back through the hole again. Cut off excess wire if it extends out.

2. Secure the wire pieces on the bottom with a discreet piece of duct tape.

3. Stuff newspaper into the bottom of the pot, leaving about an inch space between the top and the newspaper.

4. Break off a piece of moss to fill the pot on either side of the embroidery hoop.

5. With your various shades of green paper, draw a a simple leaf shape and cut out multiple copies. You’ll want various sizes of the leaves. The smallest leaf should start at the top of the hoop, with the leaves getting bigger as they go down.

6. Fold the leaf in the center, but leave a bit of the end unfolded.

7. With your glue gun, dab a small amount of glue on the edge of the leaf and stick it at an angle at the top of the embroidery hoop.

8. Using a different color leaf, angle the leaf in the opposite direction and glue in place.

9. Continue this pattern as you go down the hoop, making sure the leaves get larger and larger as you go on and alternating shades of greens.

10. If you want to get really fancy, you can cut pictures of your silhouettes out of grey paper and attach them to skewers. An easy way to do this would be to first take pictures in profile, print them off, then use the picture as a stencil.

Optional: Another way to get fancy is to cut out letters using the wedding couple’s monogram. Simply find a pretty font that you like in a program like Microsoft Word, print the letters you need and use them as a stencil on grey paper. Glue these onto skewers and stick into the moss.

Voila! If you’re really courageous, you could make one for each table, along with the table number. Perhaps the best part is that, if you don’t need the topiaries after the wedding, you can disassemble the parts and use them again. Happy crafting!

All photographs by Hilda Grahnat.

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