Whimsical Orange Tree Topiary


Living in Southern California means you spend a lot of time on freeways, and this last week I spent a lot of time driving in Orange County – land of sunshine, amusement parks and even a few last remaining orange groves. Thus inspired, I came up with this whimsical topiary tree. It’s a little Dr. Seuss, a little atomic, a little stylized and a lot of fun!

Stylized Orange Tree Topiary by Carmen Flores Tanis


Three 1-1/2” Smoothfoam balls
Two 2-1/2” Smoothfoam balls
One 3” Smoothfoam ball
One 4” Smoothfoam ball
Ceramic flower pot
Darice Wired Accents Aluminum Floral Wire – Silver
1/4″ aluminum tubing (found in the plumbing section of the hardware store)
Acrylic paints – dark green, medium green, yellow, orange
Scribbles 3D Dimensional Paint – Orange Peel, Harvest Gold, Shamrock Green, Bright Green
Yellow craft foam sheet
Green cardstock
Knitting needles – various sizes
Metal shears, wire cutters
Westcott Non-Stick Scissors
Die-cut machine with embossing folder
Disposable mixing container and spoon
Double-sided adhesive tape
Paint brushes
Wood skewers, paper tape

1.  Cut a 24″ length of aluminum tubing. Twist one end into a spiral so that the tubing can stand up. Stand the tubing in the center of the flower pot and use two wood skewers and paper tape to keep it in place. Mix up the Plaster-of-Paris according to the package directions and fill the flower pot. Allow to dry at least four hours. Stylized Orange Tree Topiary by Carmen Flores Tanis2.  An easy way to enlarge the holes of the Smoothfoam balls is to use knitting needles of increasing sizes until you are able to test fit a piece of the aluminum tubing easily. Do this for all the balls, except not for the three 1-1/2″ size.

Stylized Orange Tree Topiary by Carmen Flores Tanis

3.  Using the wooden skewers as handles, paint the three 1-1/2″ smalls orange. Paint the 3″ and one 2 1/2″ ball medium green. Paint the 4″ ball dark green. Paint the remaining 2 1/2″ ball yellow. Let dry.Stylized Orange Tree Topiary by Carmen Flores Tanis

4.  Add details to all the painted balls by drawing scrolls and scribbles with the dimensional paint. Let dry.

Stylized Orange Tree Topiary by Carmen Flores Tanis

5.  Cut a circle from the green card stock and run it through the die cut machine with the embossing folder. Poke a hole in the center of the card stock circle and slide it onto the aluminum tubing to cover up the dry plaster base. Fit the two largest green balls as shown and bend the aluminum tubing. Add the yellow ball to the end of the tubing, trimming the tubing if needed. You can use a little white glue to keep the balls in place if necessary.Stylized Orange Tree Topiary by Carmen Flores Tanis

6.  To make the second branch of the tree, cut a 3″ length of aluminum tubing and poke it into the top of the 4″ ball. Fit the remaining green ball onto the tube then attach two of the orange balls with 2″ lengths of the silver floral wire.

Stylized Orange Tree Topiary by Carmen Flores Tanis

7.  Cut a sun shape from the craft foam and fit it snugly on the yellow ball. Attach a small piece of the embossed green card stock to the front of the flower pot with a piece of double-sided adhesive tape. Finally, place the last orange ball in the flower pot – just like a little fallen orange!
Stylized Orange Tree Topiary by Carmen Flores Tanis


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About Carmen Flores Tanis

Carmen Flores Tanis is a mixed media artist, crafter and designer who loves to make things! She specializes in combining humble materials in unusual and unexpected ways. A Designer Member of the Craft and Hobby Association, Carmen has on online craft supply store and teaches craft classes regularly in Southern California. Her secret to crafting happiness is "patience, practice and power tools."

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