How to Make a DIY Moss Topiary in a Pot

moss topiary

Let’s talk about how to make a DIY moss topiary in a pot. Because it’s close to mid-May, this means flowering planting is so close for annuals in our neck of the woods in Northern NJ. I look forward to trying some different plants this year in our containers.

My goal, grow flowers for cutting to bring in the house because I miss gardening, and this is a great option for us. Wish me luck when visiting the garden center. We have lost most of our garden centers that have been in our area since my childhood. It truly makes me sad but life changes, right?

So, we will be looking around the area for new spots to buy flowers. I think this can be a fun adventure to see what we find. I know there are small garden shops around so maybe we’ll find different annuals. Do you have great garden center where you live?

Now back to my post about how to make a DIY moss topiary in a pot. By the way do you love topiary? I do and often wish I could grow real ones but have had no luck. Have you been able to grow a real topiary plant?

These moss topiary in a pot are easy to make and fit any style home decor and bonus, no worries about killing it either.

What is a Topiary?

By the way, this plant is the practice of training plants by clipping the foliage and twigs of trees, shrub to develop and maintain their defined shapes, whether geometric or fancy.

This term also is about plants that have been shaped this way. This term also refers to plants which have been shaped in this way.

The plants used in topiary are evergreen and they are mostly woody. Also, they normally have small leaves, needles and produce dense foliage.

Generally, a topiary has compact growth.

Common Species for These Plant Ideas

For example, the most common species for a topiary include European box, arborvitae, bay laurel, holly, myrtle and yew.

For the most part, the plants shape depends on patience and a steady hand when shaping.

By the way, just because the supply list and steps may be long, I want to assure you this topiary is very easy craft to make.

Supplies Needed for This Simple Faux Plant Craft Idea:

  • Topiary formsame for this craft
  • spray adhesive
  • reindeer moss
  • bag, newspaper or large plastic bag
  • white acrylic gesso
  • 6″ terracotta flowerpot
  • avocado craft paint
  • chip brush brown
  • flat craft brush
  • paper towel or rag

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What’s Acrylic Gesso?

Gesso is similar to white acrylic paint, only thinner. It dries hard, making the surface stiffer. Gesso can, prepare or prime a surface for painting, making the surface a bit textured and ready to accept acrylic paint. Gesso isn’t only for preparing a canvas.

Examples of how to use Gesso:

1. Primer

Using Gesso as primer is a great use however, I’m going to share other ways to use this great product. This why I choose Gesso for certain crafts such as flowerpots. Adding this to canvas, wood, sculptures, journals and furniture are other ways this product works in adding texture!

2. Dry brushing

Another example of great uses for Gesso it also adds dimension to painted surfaces. This can be added using a dry brush technique to create some texture with chalk paint.

Dry brushing begins with a dry brush, this can be a chip brush or craft brush. Incidentally this provides the brushstrokes this technique is known for. Dip the very end of the brush into the gesso, remove as much of the excess paint as possible, then using small strokes across your project, the gesso will begin to add texture. When doing this I tend to add several light layers of the Gesso.

If you apply too much paint, try brushing over the same area with an unused dry brush. The dry brush technique truly is less is more. Generally, one of the reasons this product is great to use for this application is because it’s thick which adds the texture to a piece.

3. Whitewashing

As an example, I have done this process to outdoor pots using French Linen Chalk paint and adding a wash using Gesso. This gives the pot a concrete aged appearance. Unfortunately, I can’t find the pictures. However, I will be doing this to a few pots very soon for our flowers so stay tuned to your inboxes very soon!

Beginning This Simple Plant in a Container

Step: 1

First let’s begin with the flowerpot for this easy DIY moss topiary in a pot. I paint one coat of the acrylic gesso. As an example, I like working with gesso more than craft paint for this project is because I like the way it layers. I believe it adds a different texture to pots.

whit acrylic gesso, paper bowl, sponge brush and 6" terracotta flowerpot
starting to paint gesso on the pot
after on coat of gesso

Dry Brushing with Gesso for Texture

After the gesso dries, I begin adding the white gesso for my DIY moss topiary randomly using a dry brush technique. This time I did use a sponge brush however if this is new to you, I HIGHLY recommend a chip brush or craft brush! This is where the texture begins to build on the flowerpot. Let this dry for a bit.

dry brushing the flowerpot for my topiary

Notice the texture in the picture above!

Step: 2

Next step for the flowerpot, using a flat craft brush add a bit of burnt umber to a paper bowl with a bit of water. By the way when I say a bit of burnt umber paint, I mean a very small amount. Dip the brush in and add wet streaks in small random sections. Now wipe and blend with a rag or paper towel. The pot together with the burnt umber begins to have an aged look. Let dry for a bit.

Of course, flowerpots need to have a moss look for age don’t you agree? So, now the small brush and dry it on the paper towel/rag. Using a small amount of your avocado paint and the tip of the brush randomly add to the edges of the pot and blend for a moss look. Also, blend it here and there in a few spots on the body of the pot.

adding avocado paint to the pot

By the way, I’m letting it run purposely to add a moss look to other parts of the flowerpot for my Topiary plant.

blending the avocado paint into the pot for the look of moss
showing the flowerpot finished being painted

How to Add the Greenery to This Easy Craft Idea Using Tacky Glue

Step: 3

So, let’s begin putting the moss topiary together. Because this step is pretty messy, I pour the reindeer moss into a brown bag. However, large plastic bag or spread newspaper on the floor will work too.

topiary form

We are using spray adhesive; so, I suggest opening the garage door or doing this process outside for safety from fumes. Spray the ball with the adhesive letting it sit for a moment to get tacky.

By the way, I wear rubber gloves during this step because it gets very sticky. Grab handfuls of moss and press it on the topiary ball. If there is bare spots spray again with a bit of adhesive and do the same process until the topiary form is covered completely.

adding reindeer moss to the topiary ball form

Supplies for Simple Fake soil

  • non clumping kitty litter
  • burnt umber craft paint
  • black craft paint
  • Elmer’s glue
  • paper bowl or plastic container

Making Imitation Soil to Add a Realistic Look to This Easy Craft

Step: 4

How about making soil to add a realistic look to the DIY moss topiary? Yes, realistic soil, I think this is a great addition. By the way I shared this a while back, but I think it’s such an easy fast craft it’s worth sharing again! When I say easy and fast, you truly will be shocked because it takes minutes to create.

non clumping kitty litter, Elemer's glue, burnt umber craft paint and black craft paint

Step 1

So, are you ready to see how to make this real looking dirt? Here we go, grab a paper bowl or container. Pour a decent amount of non-clumping kitty litter to the container. Next add Elmer’s glue and stir together. It’s especially important this be moist. This is important because it dries quickly.

kitty litter getting mixed with Elemer's glue to make fake soil
my hand mixing the combination together for my Topiary craft

Adding the Imitation Soil to the Bottom of The Pot

Because I am making an extra topiary and the base is cut, adding a bit of moist Kitty litter to the bottom is necessary. This will act like glue and hold it in place. Then I poured in plain kitty litter to fill in the pot.

adding the mixture to the bottom of the flowerpot

Step 2

Using a plastic spoon move the kitty litter around the foam to act as a mortar. If the topiary is intact with the bottom this step isn’t necessary. It fits inside the flowerpot perfectly.

adding more to the craft

Step 3

Finishing with plain kitty litter.

finished fill the pot and finishing off with dry kitty litter

Adding Burnt Umber and Black Paint to Make it Look Like Dirt

I wish I had precise measurements unfortunately I don’t because I sort of winged it when coming up with this idea. But if you follow what I suggest it’s AMAZING!

Now add a squirt of black paint and burnt umber paint and mix with a plastic spoon or a craft stick. After this step simply add it to the moss topiary. While it’s wet sprinkle pieces of moss and let dry for few hours. You will truly be amazed how much this looks like real dirt. It’s a game changer for fake plants to make them appear more realistic.

adding the black and burnt umber paint to make fake soil
black and burnt umber paint added to make it look like dirt
the mixture combined together and I'm getting ready to add it to my topiary base
the fake soil added with a bit of moss around the edges

I also rub the fake soil on the wood dowel of the topiary to add dimension. As you can see, I also add a bit of moss here and there to add to the realistic look.

the base finished with more moss added to the top.

Adding These Fake Topiaries to a Centerpiece

These DIY moss topiary in pots is perfect for adding to a gardening crate as I did HERE.

sharing a picture of flowerpots and the stem of another topiary I made

These fake plants also look beautiful as centerpieces. Wouldn’t this be perfect for a gardening party or any spring or summer gathering?

adding the topiary to the centerpiece
the other topiary on the centerpiece
My DIY moss topiary in a pot with dried hydrangea in a jardinière and eucalyptus
close up of dried hydrangea

I hope you enjoyed seeing and learning how to make a DIY moss topiary in a pot. As I mention above these are beyond simple to make and add tons of character, elegance and greenery to any home decor.

I’d love to hear what you think and if you will add these to your home. Oh, and what you think about this homemade soil idea too!

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Hello, my name is Cindy and welcome to Cloches & Lavender. I enjoy making our house a home with antiques and thrifted finds. Antiques are used as my staples in my dcor to remain on a budget. I will often upcycle pieces with paint to make them new again. I enjoy DIYs

14 thoughts on “How to Make a DIY Moss Topiary in a Pot

  1. Topiaries like this are my favorite! Quick, easy and oh so pretty. As always, amazing job. They’re beautiful! Hugs, CoCo

  2. This is such a nice way to bring outdoors in. A topiary is so classic and pretty. Seattle area and surrounds have some amazing garden centers. Where I grew up in Southern California, many garden stores and farm stands closed over the years.

  3. Kitty litter??? I never would have guessed! What a great idea. The finished product is so pretty.

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