Chances are, if you're a fan of fall, you're a fan of pumpkin decor.
And isn’t a pair of pumpkin topiaries flanking your front door the Holy Grail of decorating with pumpkins?
I have been wanting to build one or two for, well, I think 8 or 9 years now. I’ve lost track. But I can definitely tell you the idea came from Pinterest. (Surprise, surprise. But seriously, how did I ever live before Pinterest?!)
Everytime I get inspired and vow to make a set of these fall beauties, as soon as I start shopping for materials, I start talking myself out of it. And I bet you can guess why...money. They can really add up!
Pumpkin decor is like wedding decor; there’s an incredibly distasteful mark-up.
But, I have found a few ways to mitigate that:
3 Tips for Making a Pumpkin Topiary On the Cheap
- Buy your Pumpkins on clearance. Yes, that means you have to wait through the entire season to finally snatch up those faux pumpkins but unless you want to spend a hundred bones when all is said and done, this is the best way. And just because you buy them at the end of the season that doesn’t mean you have to wait until next season to make them. Make them whenever you want and then you’re all set for next year.
- See if you can combine your clearance purchase with a coupon. (Jo-Ann is the store I have the most luck with this tactic.)
- Shop around to get your other materials on sale or with a coupon.
I’m really glad I finally took the plunge and made the purchase last October. Look how festive they are:
I could not be more excited to display these on my front porch.
And more so because I get to set them outside of our brand new home! (We built the house this year and it was finished just in time for us to usher in the fall and holiday season!)
Mr. Berry is also pretty happy not to have faux pumpkins rolling around our garage shelving any longer. (When I hit that clearance sale, I also bought enough pumpkins for a set of Spooky Pumpkin topiaries that I hope to share with you soon!)
Besides the pumpkins there weren’t a whole lot of other supplies needed, but here’s a complete list:
Where I purchased these items:
- Cream colored faux Pumpkins: Micheal’s (on clearance).
- Planters: Amazon.
- Garland: I got these over a decade ago at Micheal’s, on sale, of course. (Guys, that means I had these in my very first apartment!)
- Floral Foam: Dollar Tree. I gotta be honest, they’re a bitch to work with (they’re so messy!) but the price is right...you could also find them at craft stores for a bit more.
- Hot glue and Quick Hold adhesive: Jo-Ann, with coupons.
Alrighty, let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?!
Just below (in The Short and Sweet section) are some really brief directions for the crafter just looking for an overview. Following that are some really detailed, helpful directions to get you from start to finish (in the All the Details section). To finish things off, I’ll’ break down the Total Cost of the project.
The Short and Sweet
- Attach a pumpkin to one or two foam circles.
- Add a fall garland to cover the foam.
- Set inside a planter.
- Display it on your porch and delight in a beautiful project!
All the Details
Prep the Foam
1. Turn on that hot glue gun. (I started on high but later moved it to low because it was melting my cheap foam.)
2. Remove plastic wrap and glue the two circles on top of each other.
3. Because I live in Arizona and I don’t want the heat to reactivate my hot glue, I first added a ring of Quick Hold adhesive to the lower foam piece…
4. And then added a ring of hot glue. Why two kinds of glue? The hot glue will keep it in place while the more heat resistant adhesive sets up.
5. Place the other foam piece back on top and press it down to secure it.
6. With utility knife, skim the top inside edge down at an angle.
When it's done, this'll be the view from the top.
7. You’re trying to give the pumpkin somewhere to sit.
8. Now take the knife and do the same to the bottom, outer edge.
When you're done, this be the view from the bottom:
9. You’re cutting this part so that it will sit down inside the pot a little better.
Add the Pumpkin
10. Cut the tag off that pumpkin.
11. To glue the pumpkin in place, I put a ring of the Quick Hold on the top, inside of the foam area I cut with the knife first..
12. Then I set the pumpkin on top of the foam circle and finished it off with a ring of hot glue around the base of the pumpkin. The hot glue will hold it in place while the Quick Hold sets up.
Assemble the Topiary
13. Here is where you can add some weights, sand, or rocks to the bowl of the pot if you want to make sure it doesn’t blow around outside. (I didn’t because it’s just not windy where I live, hence the pic of the empty planter.)
14. Once the hot glue has cooled, set the pumpkin and foam circle right inside the pot for a test fit. You can glue for extra stability, but I am going to forgo the adhesive so I can disassemble for easier storage. (More on that at the end.)
Finish It Off.
15. Time to make it pretty. Test fit the garland by wrapping it around the base of the pumpkin, covering up the foam.
16. Unless you feel like you need the foliage to be REALLY full and want to wrap it around a second time, you’ll probably want to cut off the excess.
17. Glue it in the same way as you did for the the pumpkin on the foam circle. Use the Quick Hold and then add hot glue over it to help keep it in place until the stronger adhesive sets up.
18. I actually found the glueing process to be much easier by setting the pumpkin in my lap, foliage away from me. Make sure you’re wearing pants you don’t mind getting glittery and foam dust-y, though.
19. It’s just a lot easier to move the leaves aside and get in there from this angle.
20. When you’ve’ glued all the way around with both types of adhesive, set it in the planter.
21. And adjust any leaves that are going the wrong direction. Or pull any out from between the foam and the planter if they look flat and boring. You want it to look like the foliage is a flowin’.
Ta-Dah! You made a topiary! Now repeat and you’ll have a pair of ‘em!
And for pretty cheap, too. Well, cheap as far as larger sized decor goes. Here’s what I spent to make these:
*If you don’t have garland lying around, you can expect to add around $3-$4 to your total cost.
And if storage is a consideration for you, you’ll appreciate this. These planters slide together at the base of the urn, so I just take it apart and put each half in a plastic bag, and set it on my garage shelf. I also like knowing that if I need to I can take the pumpkin out of the pot and Tetris it all into a plastic tote.
If you make any pumpkin decor this holiday, I wanna see it! Tag me on Instagram, craft buddy.
Happy glueing and arranging, friends. And whatever you make, make it yours!
If you liked this project, I bet you’ll like these, too! Have a look: