Easter 'Topiaries'

This past week we hosted a batch of Chics With Tools Workshops where we painted Easter eggs. I am not talking about the cute little kind but gigantic ones. The inspiration for this project came from Grandinroad catalog. The sale price on these cuties is $207.20 (below left). They have a Christmas version that I actually copied a couple of years ago using styrofoam balls and plaster of Paris (below right). It was an intense and long process and not one I really wanted to repeat plus it still was pricey and did not fit into the three-hour time constraint of my classes. But I loved the scale of these beauties and the happy springtime designs. I realize that the Chics With Tools project is not super close to the image below, but it was my starting place. The other reason I chose this project was that I already had a supply of six-foot fence pickets that I wanted to use up. Also, the idea that it could be stored flat was appealing. Thus the Easter “Topiaries” were born.

To get ready for the workshops, The debris had to be removed from the Craigslist fencing which had been stored outside in a pile for who knows how long. I paid my 14 year-old to do it and to sand them a bit. After that, I was ready to go. If you want to make one or two of these, here is what you need.

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Materials:

2- 6’ fence pickets cut to 4’

1 easel back (one of the 2’ offcuts)

3 cleats (from the other offcut)

Nail gun and nails

1 hinge

14” string or wire

staple gun and staples

primer and brush

poster board pattern

design patterns

carbon paper

pencil

paint and brushes

Steps:

  • Trace half of topiary pattern on one picket.

  • Cut it out with a jigsaw or bandsaw.

  • Flip the pattern and repeat. (The flipping ensures that your topiary will be symmetrical)

  • Using the nail gun, attach the two halves together with the cleats.

  • Prime. I used a bonding and stain blocking version of Kilz and it did a great job!

  • Attach the easel back to the middle cleat with a hinge. Use string stapled to the bottom of the easel and the topiary to keep it from sliding open too far.

  • Using carbon paper, trace your design onto the prepared surface.

  • Paint

  • Add shading using a hatching technique or a dry brush.

  • Add white highlights down the center to really make it 3-D

DESIGN TIPS

I know that I just breezed through those instructions, especially the design aspect so here’s a little detail. I wanted the eggs to look as three-dimensional as possible so to achieve that, I had to use perspective. The problem is that I haven’t found any scientific formula for perspective around a curved surface, especially one that curves side-to-side AND top-to-bottom. The solution? A little technology. Some of the designs, I actually just blew up from the Grandinroad catalog using the copier. But other patterns, such as the zig-zags and polka dots, required a couple more steps. Try the following for a similar effect.

  • Get a real egg and draw a pattern on it.

  • Take a picture of it.

  • Using the computer, blow up the image to the size you want.

  • Print the picture out and trace it

The results were as varied as the ladies themselves which inspired me to up my game. It’s amazing how God created us all so differently and that was reflected in the beautiful finished products.

As a bonus, I had the chance to make some for ourselves.