Sunday, 25 February 2018

For the Love of Topiary

You know the saying, you wait ages for a topiary set to come along and then 3 come out at once (or is that buses...)  Well I was very excited to see all of them as I adore topiary - the first thing I bought for our new house was a bay pyramid to put my the porch now we have one!  However the stamped versions are much easier to take care of than the real stuff (I gave up on topiary balls years ago as I could never get them right)  So this weekend I have been playing with all 3 sets as they are very different.

I started off with the layered designs from Hero Arts - they are really fun as each "topiary element" is made up of 3 different stamps so you can ink each up in a different ink to get a multi-shaded design really easily.

The heart shaped one on the right is the Layered Topiary Stamp and Cut set and you get the matching dies included with the stamp set and its a really easy set to line up the layers on as the shape is very obvious.  The triple ball on the left uses the Layered Topiary stamp which is a bit trickier and I'll share some tips below to make it easier once you've done a test stamp ;-)   I like the matching dies for this as you get the individual balls AND the triple stack as one shape as I've used here so you get much more variety from your dies which is rare.

Now to line them up, I had a couple of attempts that looked frankly awful so I had a look at the packet to see if there were any clues and there are indeed.  The back has a line up guide for the two largest balls.

What I did was stamp each ball on some scrap paper using very different colours for each layer, following the orientation on the stamping guide.  Once I'd got a "perfect" one, I lined each stamp up over its layer (hence why its easier to test with say red, yellow and blue rather than 3 shades of green) and then I drew a little arrow at "12 o'clock" on each one - now when I stamp them again all I need do is make sure my little arrow points to 12 when I stamp each layer and we're good to go every time.

If you'd rather not do individual layers, then the Sugar Pea Design set - Topiary Gardens is the way to go.  This one has lots more options in terms of topiary shapes and each is just one stamp.  I've made a couple of different cards with this set in very different styles.

For this first one, I stamped the pyramids, the smallest ball, the bow and one of the pots and used the matching dies to cut them out set about recreating my front door using the Lawn Fawn Shut the Front Door die to create the door (with a little pencil shading to emphasise the panels)  I just used the English Brick Wall Stencil and sponged a little grey ink to turn the card front into a house and finished with a sentiment from the stamp set.

Finally I wanted to have a go and creating a full on topiary garden and thought this set would lend itself to making a little water colour painting.

I used some smooth water colour paper and did a very subtle background wash using the Avery Elle Liquid Watercolours.  Once that was dry I used my zig markers to ink up my stamps and used the small ball to create a box ball hedge - using masking and perspective to get the sort of squares you get in very formal topiary gardens.  I used the same techniques to add the planters and hearts and used a little water to blend some of the stamping out to get a softer water colour feel.  I over stamped the hearts again in a darker shade to bring back some definition as they are the focal points.  Again I finished with another sentiment from the set.


We've got quite a lot of stock to load this week - we'll do our best but we are also really slammed with orders and I can't pack and load at the same time, so please don't expect miracles!  We will hopefully have the following in store by next weekend:
  • Waffle Flower
  • AlteNew
  • Flora and Fauna
  • and Stamping Bella.
That's about it for news this week.  Catch you next weekend and wrap up warm!



  1. What a beautiful selection of cards! I love the one with the front door - it would be great for a new home card.

  2. Love all the topiary! The marker idea for the multi layer stamping is a great idea too. Lovely cards.

  3. I had such a horrible time lining up those stamps! I was ready to give up! I had never done stamp layering and this was definitely that the stamp to start with! Thank you for your idea, it sure worked for me also.


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The Seven Hills Crafts Design Team