I am really excited about today’s project for several reasons. For one, I am thrilled to be partnering with RYOBI Power Tools in 2014 and this is the first of several fun projects that I’ll be sharing featuring my favorite RYOBI Power Tools. Secondly, every year at Christmas, we make something fun with our crafty next door neighbor’s (The Shepherd’s) and this is the project that we made this year. We’ve been planning for weeks, gathering our supplies and last night, we went to town making these fun tall ornament topiary trees:
I made a set for my front door and placed them in urns. We used dowels set in plaster of paris to secure the topiaries and because of the weight of the plaster, these could be used in any kind of container. They can also be made on a smaller scale for fun tabletop decorations. We used plastic ball ornaments in various sizes that we found at Hobby Lobby:
So to get started, we used paint containers like this and mixed up some plaster of paris (Pottery Plaster) for our base to hold the topiary in :
We figured out that 2.5 cups of the plaster mix equaled a pound (It wasn’t calculated on the instructions). We mixed plaster powder with 11 ounces of cold water (according to our directions). Two pounds of plaster and water mix filled out plastic paint containers. We used a larger container to mix in and then we poured the mix into the plastic container. (We learned the hard way to use a disposable larger container to mix in!):
The plaster takes about 20-30 minutes to fully set, so we used tape to hold our dowels in place until the plaster hardened. We used half inch dowels that were four feet long and they were the perfect size for the height of our topiaries for outside our front door.
Next, we drilled holes in our plastic ball ornaments by using a half inch bit (same size as dowel) using one of my new favorite tools, the RYOBI One + 18 Volt Lithium Cordless Drill:
The trick to drilling the holes on the larger ornaments is that someone needs to hold the ball while the other drills (don’t drill towards them but downward to keep it safe). For the smaller ornaments, you can just place the ball on wood and hold and drill. It’s also important to drill slow with as little pressure as possible to prevent cracking because of the plastic. We practice on one ornament first and it just took us a second to figure out the technique/pressure that we needed:
Once we drilled the hole, we went back and forth with the drill slow to make sure that the hole was cleaned up and even to slide down the dowel:
We pulled the ornament hooks off of the balls on the other side and most of them on the larger sizes were perfect for sliding over the dowel. However, on a couple of the smaller ones, we used an old serrated knife to saw off the narrow plastic hook area and then we drilled another hole.
After the plaster was completely dry (about 45 minutes) we started layers the ornaments onto the dowel. We used a zip tie at the base where we wanted out topiary to start (mine started about 10 inches from the base because I planned to have mine in an urn):
As you can see below in my finished topiary, I used all kinds of different sizes and loved the whimsical look of the small in between larger balls. I also alternated solid red and then the red and white. At the top, I used plastic finials that we also drilled a hole in the bottom and it finished off the top of my topiary:
We did not have to glue our ornaments to the dowel because the zip tie just held it where we wanted it and we were able to stack (such a awesome idea Glenda!!). When it’s time to store these, we can just remove the ornaments.
Glenda and Jane are still working on theirs (I’ll add pictures at the front door when they’re ready) but you can see how fabulous their’s turned out:
I put mine in two urns that were already filled with dirt:
I then just wrapped around inexpensive artificial garland and I was all set:
So many fun possibilities with this project! I hope you guys give it a try because they were so fun to make! Next year, i’ll be making some tabletop ones for inside the house. I’ll be on the lookout in the clearance section for plastic ball ornaments.
Thanks for hanging out with me today friends!