A Ficus Creation

Chuck Merrill Ficus (6)When duty calls, we rise to the occasion!  That’s exactly what happened when I had a request to fill an entry niche with an artificial plant.   Did I cower with fear, that fear of not knowing what to design for the space, the amount to charge while making sure I came out on top financially?  Well, maybe just a little…..but that’s when we learn, grow and show what we’re made of!

The challenge becomes the game with a quality design as the by-product, so let’s get to work.  Here’s a list of items you’ll need to complete this design:

  1. Artificial ficus
  2. A container suitable for your décor
  3. Styrofoam or dried flower foam
  4. Branches
  5. Silk flower stems
  6. Small decorative pot
  7. Various moss varieties
  8. Glue gun or pan glue
  9. Plastic bucket and Plaster of Paris
  10. Drill
The entry niche wasn’t huge but large enough to hold a tree of some sort.  Remembering that I had seen ficus trees at Walmart for $19.99, off I went, and they still had some in stock  (Michael’s Crafts has them as well, but cost much more unless you use your 40% off coupon).   Next stop, Osh to check out some containers I had come across.  Yup, they were still there, lightweight terracotta and about 3 feet tall on sale for $24.99, which is a great buy.   But terracotta wasn’t the right look for this area so I purchased some white spray paint to give the hue I needed.


So the completed unit was easy to move, I used a plastic bucket I could secure the ficus into, then easily place in the larger pot on site.  This was done by using Plaster of Paris in the plastic container then setting the ficus and paper mache container the tree came with, which takes about a 1/2 hour to dry.   Now the unit is in place and will fit nicely in the larger container.  Test the tree to see how it fits into the larger pot.  You can always scrunch up newspaper or plastic bubble wrap around the interior container to stabilize the design once in the location you want.  Make sure and work on the tree out of the larger container to make it easier to work on.

The goal here is to make the tree look more natural and less “silky” by adding branches and other elements.  To do this, you have to remove some of the leave stems, not always an easy task as they’re really glued in.  Take a plyers and pull the stem out from where it’s connected on the trunk.  By the way, these trees are always built onto a natural wood trunk, so your base is already there.  Just take some out here and there, so you have spaces but not a ton of holes.

Once this is complete,  you’ll need to drill holes where you want to place the natural Chuck Merrill Ficus (4)branches.  Make sure the hole is not much larger than the branch;  you want these to be securely in place.  Drill about a 1/2″ into the trunk.  Pre cut your branch to the right size, whittling the end down in case it’s too thick for the hole you’ve drilled.  Then glue your selected branches into place with you pan glue or glue gun.  Now you can see your design coming to life!

Chuck Merrill Ficus (3)Now it’s time to start placing and attaching different elements to the structure.  We all work differently, so just start going for it.  Glue everything you use in place;  no worries, you can always change things to a different spot if it doesn’t look right.  Alternate where you place product so the design has good flow.   Add your different moss….reindeer moss is perfect for this type of design, as well as dangling Spanish moss.

I added a small ceramic container with some artificial product placed in it to giveChuck Merrill Ficus (2) the tree more dimension.  Pre design this unit, taping on a hyacinth stick or pick to the container so it stays in place well, then glue it onto the spot  want it to land.

Now you can complete the bottom area and other areas you feel need some embellishing.  Make sure all your mechanics (no foam or glue showing) by adding your moss.  Or you can cut off leaves from your flower material and glue them in place to cover things.  Why waste a good leaf when it can be put to good use?!

Chuck Merrill FicusChuck Merrill Ficus (6)

With a mixture of all types of elements, you can create any type of tree you’d like.  You can use dried pods, any type of bark you harvest or purchase, logs, whatever.  Take your time, make sure your mechanics and design elements are sound.  Building this type of creation is so exciting and VERY profitable.   Now go have some fun and create with wonder and amazement…..






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