Saturday, April 6, 2013

Turtle Topiary Tutorial

Turtle Topiary Tutorial....say that fast 5 times!  Ha!

Here are the supplies:

Turtle frame ...I bought the medium frame here.
Sphagnum moss, bucket with water to soak it in
Small assortment of succulents
Fine wire to wrap and nippers to cut wire, needle to finish.  
Something to poke holes in the moss
Gloves to wear because I had a cut on my hand and sphagnum moss can be nasty
Choice of plastic eyes 

Getting started:
Soak the moss thoroughly and then pour off excess water.
Start by flipping the frame over and stuffing the shell full of moss...this is a side view so you can see how full I packed it.  

Flip it back over and pack the top and sides of shell.  Using wire, generously wrap so the moss will stay put.  
Here I am tamping it down.  You can see the wire in the photo.
Once you get it where you can't see the frame, wrap once more but don't clip the wire.  Put something heavy on it to keep it tight while moving on to the neck.

Start on the neck and head.  Take 2 handfuls of moss, one for either side of the head.  Hold the moss to the head and wrap with the wire being sure to go down the neck and back up to the head a few times.  Don't wrap so tightly that the wire pops but wrap tight enough that the neck has an actual shape to it.  End with the wire UNDER the turtle at the base of the neck.
Again, secure the wire with something heavy to keep the wire tight.

Flip the turtle over and start on the tail and legs.  Have your moss ready and work each extremity like you did the head and neck.  You will be working in sort of a star pattern with the wire criss-crossing under the shell.  This keeps the wire tight while you work and keeps you from having to cut and tie the wire each time.  
I didn't take photos of the process because my helper left and I didn't have four hands.

Starting at the neck, run the wire to the TAIL. This keeps the neck wrapped tightly.  
From the tail, run the wire to a front leg.  This keeps the tail wrapped tightly.
From the front leg, run the wire to the farthest back leg.  This keeps the front leg wrapped tightly.
From the back leg, run the wire to the other front leg.  This keeps the back leg wrapped tightly.
From the front leg, run the wire to the other back leg.  This keeps the front leg wrapped tightly. Don't cut the wire but keep it tight.

At this point, we have a monster from a Scooby Doo movie, but don't worry about that, just keep going.  
See that bit of wood in the lower left corner?  Yep...throw that away.

After you do the last leg, run the wire back to the neck and wrap it around the base a couple times to secure it tightly but don't cut the wire.

There are two ways to secure the wire, I did it the 2nd way:
1.  Cut the wire and use the plastic needle to tie it off.
2.  Secure the wire to the plastic needle and shove it into the base of the neck under the body.  If you do this, make sure you shove the needle in at an angle so that will stay tight.

Poke holes where you want the plants to go.  
Just shake off most of the soil and cram them into the holes you've made. 

Placing the eyes.
If the animal eye stems are short, lengthen them by wrapping with the wire.  Mine were long enough so I didn't need to do that.
Poke the plastic animal eyes into his head and you are almost done. (you can get them online or at craft stores) 

Here he is before trimming....still a rather furry turtle.  I wonder if furry turtles furry elephants?

Now, take some scissors and trim off any moss that is hanging off of him.....then place him in the garden.  Once he dries, be ready to trim him a bit more....
If you use succulents, you can let him get bone dry between waterings.  To water, place your turtle into a bucket of water and soak him thoroughly.  Other than that, just put him in the garden and watch his shell grow.  
BTW, I looked up furry turtles and found this critter on youtube.  Not exactly FUR, but still too cute not to enjoy.


gin said...

Really cute. Thanks for the tutorial . Can't wait to see him in full growth.

Kerry said...

Adorable ... He's going to look so cute all grown up :-)
That furry little turtle thing was very cute ... talk about a bad hair day :-)

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