Topiary Rag Tree Tutorial

rag tree title


I love to make rag wreaths for different holidays or seasons… it just gives such a pop of color to any door or entry way. While considering what kind of centerpieces I was going to arrange for  the tables at my sister’s surprise birthday party… it hit me! I could make rag topiary trees! I wanted a whimsical feel… and knew Jessica would appreciate the DIY crafty-nesst at each table.


The beauty of rag wreaths and rag topiaries… are that the options and possibilities are endless! You could use any color combination, any pattern of fabric… any size you want Styrofoam ball you wish…they are just so flexible!


We were doing a black, red, white and yellow theme for the party… all bright and cheery colors. They turned out great…exactly what I had in mind. I had already purchased some Halloween fabric and started to make a spooky topiary rag tree for the upcoming Autumn season… and can’t wait to get back home to make it! :)


Here is what you will need to make ONE rag topiary tree:

1  1/4 yards of fabric. I recommend 1/4 yard of 4 to 5 different prints or colors.

1 Terra Cotta pot. The size is up to you. I used 5 inch pots for these.

1 Styrofoam ball. Again, whatever size you desire. I used 6 inch for the trees pictured.

1 smaller Styrofoam ball to cut in half and fit snugly in the Terra Cotta pot.

1 wooden dowel, 12 inches long.

Spanish Moss to hide the second Styrofoam ball.

Paint, giant Rick Rack and/or ribbon to embellish the Terra Cotta pot.

Pinking Sheers or Scissors… however you prefer the fabric edges to look.

Step 1: Paint the Terra Cotta Pot any color of your choice. I chose black.


Step 2: Paint the dowel as well.


Set Terra Cotta pot and dowel aside to dry.

Step 3: Cut fabric with pinking sheers in 1 1/4 inch strips.  If you want a more “ragged” look, rip fabric into strips. This is a much more time consuming process as you will be cleaning up a bunch of strings from the ripped fabric. However, it is a more tattered look if that is what you are going for. Start by snipping 1 inch lengthwise by 1 1/4 strip width with the scissors. Continue to make 1/2 inch snips down the width of the fabric in 1 1/4 inch increments. Then begin to rip at the snips all the way down the fabric. Proceed with the rest of the instructions.


Step 4: Then cut the strips into 4-6 inch pieces.


Step 5: Take large Styrofoam ball and punch fabric into the ball with a screwdriver.


Position the screwdriver into the center of the strip of fabric and push into the Styrofoam ball so that you will have two loose ends sticking out of the ball.


Step 6: Continuing punching fabric strips into the ball until it is completely filled and you can no longer see the Styrofoam.


Keep on filling!


The end result should look full like this:


Step 7: Cut the smaller Styrofoam ball in half.


Fit the half ball SNUGLY into the Terra Cotta pot.

You can add a few drops of hot glue to hold it in place if it moves at all.


Step 8: Stick the painted (and dried) dowel into the half ball. Hot glue around it to prevent movement.


Step 9:  Embellish pot with giant rick rack or ribbon (or a long pinking sheered fabric piece tied into a bow looks really cute, too!) Hot glue it onto the pot.


You will only need a dollop of glue per every3-4 inches.


Step 10: Fill with Spanish Moss.

It won’t take much moss to cover the Styrofoam. 1 bag of moss covered 8 rag trees for us.


Step 11: Place the rag head onto the dowel, making sure it is nice and sturdy.

Optional: Tie a big bow onto the dowel for an extra pop of cuteness.


And you have a Topiary Rag Tree!


Perfect not just for parties and holidays but all year long!

The best part: no green thumb needed!

These babies will never turn brown (unless you want it to be brown ha!) or die on you!


I can’t wait to make some themed for Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Enjoy making them! :)

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