Ever wondered how to make a topiary? Make a real ivy topiary for your home with a wire coat hanger and these easy to follow instructions.

how to make a topiary

I love a good project that starts with topiary.

Especially one with REAL ivy.

One you can make in 12.5 minutes.


YES you can.

But first—let’s start with what a topiary even is. Here’s the topiary definition:

I made this topiary this weekend and want to shout it from the rooftops.

If you lived next door, I would be knocking right now, holding my coat hanger topiary and a pitcher of sweet tea.

Especially if you were fixing dinner.

Here’s how to make a topiary with these simple instructions

But before we get topiary started, can I keep it real for a moment on this DIY blog.

Step-by-step instructions are challenging for me.


I’m not really that good at them.


I want to be.


If we had a giant blog yearbook and we could all vote on superlatives, I would want to be voted “Most Likely To Write a Step-By-Step Post.”

I have pin board after pin board of carefully detailed projects.  Each step photographed, numbered and explained down to the most minute detail by people who know so much more about step-by-step-project writing than I could ever hope to learn if I blogged for the next 500 years. But when I start to create a project, my mind starts wandering, my eyes glaze over and I drift off for a moment to give a silent salute to the brilliant individual responsible for all those step-by-steps.

I just want jump from the before to the after with only a nod to the in-between and I end up next door eating dinner and drinking sweet tea.

But here’s the thing. I WRITE A DIY blog. One with home tours and  DIY’s and projects like this and people who want to know how to ACTUALLY MAKE THEM.

So here’s how to make a topiary with step-by-step full of details and pictures.

Just for you.

How to Make a Topiary From a Coat Hanger

(from before to after with a valiant attempt at a lot of in-betweens)

Step 1:  Find some wire coat hangers

I know wire coat hangers aren’t really a thing anymore, but when learning how to make a topiary, they are a must.

If you don’t have some, your local dry cleaner will have them.

You can also use thick gauge wire for this project, too.

how to make a topiary coat hanger

Step 2:  Untwist the top

You can just use your hands for this step.

The wires come apart pretty easily.

Separate the top and slightly pull the coat hanger apart.

how to make a topiary twisting wire

Step 3: Form the coat hanger into a circle

It’s easier to do this if you start with a diamond. Then, re-form the diamond into a circle or as close to a circle as you can get.

Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, the ivy will hide all the edges.

Step 4:  Twist the ends together

Once you have your circle formed, you want to twist the ends together.

When learning how to make a topiary, you want to twist the ends of the coat hanger into one.

This is the end you will put into the dirt.

how to make a topiary ivy plant

Step 5: How to make a topiary: Place the round wire circle into your ivy

You can find ivy just like this at the garden center.

Choose one that has tons of tendrils.

That makes it easier to wrap

how to make a topiary ivy

Step 6:  Remove all questionable leaves

Put ivy in an urn or another similar container.

Make sure the container is cute.

Not-cute containers are not allowed in coat hanger topiary projects.

Step 7:  How to make a topiary: Wrap tendrils of ivy around both coat hangers

Keep wrapping until the edges of your coat hanger are covered.

It’s really easy.

The ivy wants to wrap and be wrapped.


That was a little exhausting.

All that step-by-stepping.

I think it was worth it.

Maybe now……

…..my topiary and I will make the yearbook. 🙂

PS If you liked this project?

Here are a few more of my step-by-step favorites:

How to paint a plywood subfloor

How to fix sagging couch cushions

How to make a shutter wall

How to make drop cloth curtains

How to make a bicycle wheel clock

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Linda Linda

    Got it! LOVE those step-by-step kinda thingys. One my way to buy an ivy because I have directions on how to make it into a topiary....!!!!!!!!! One of the bloggers I religiously follow had step-step directions today! ;)

  2. Image for Marilyn McDaniel Marilyn McDaniel

    Hey KariAnne, what an adorable project! In step 7 you mention coat hangers, do you use 2 coat hangers or just 1? Thanks and keep up the good work!

  3. Image for Chloe Chloe

    You always make me smile! I have been lauded for my step by step instructions, but I think I overdo the details, so who knows? Looking forward to seeing you at Haven...THIS WEEK!

  4. Image for Laura@everydayedits.co Laura@everydayedits.co

    Best tutorial ever! I am so bummed I won’t be at Haven! Always looking for other conferences that are a little shorter in travel time and connections! Next year for sure! Laura in CO via DIA ( airport)!!!

  5. Image for Jenn Jenn

    I know what you mean, a lot of times I just want to say, just make the thing...trust me it's not hard you will figure it out. I guess that's not very helpful though is it? You did a good job, stopping and snapping and documenting! Cute project too!

  6. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    One time a long time ago, I did this and shaped the wire into a heart shape. It looked so sweet. It would be a great gift for someone at Valentine's Day (pus a pitcher of sweet tea). ;-)

  7. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    Thank you i completely understand and i would love to make one. They are really pretty. Have a great day.

  8. Image for Kathy M. Kathy M.

    Very cute ivy topiary .Several years ago. I made a conical shaped ivy in a large container and with just a little yearly pruning it is still a really nice focal point in my shade garden. I used a pretty variegated ivy and to keep it this way I remove any solid colored branches. The cone shaped frame was formed with chicken wire. Maybe this will be one you want to try next. Ivy is so agreeable to work with.

  9. Image for Pamela Pamela

    I’m enticed to try this! Your specific step by step directions are very thorough and well written🙌. Much more affordable than purchasing a ready made topiary, too.

  10. Image for Marisa Franca Stewart Marisa Franca Stewart

    For that cute topiary I'd make you Pasta Carbonara, homemade Ciabatta with butter, and homemade Capuccino Gelato. Oh, I'd serve you a salad too so that we'd say we ate a light meal. That topiary is adorable !! Wish we lived nearer. 🤗

  11. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    Ivy is a favorite of mine and I love what you did with it here. Seems to me you always give good instructions on your projects, so don't be hard on yourself. You are you, after all! I have a 30+ year old Calphalon tea kettle that was beginning to rot in the bottom. I placed a pot that fit the whole in top into the kettle. Then I planted a newly propagated ivy in it. When my orchid flowers fell of their stem, I cut the stem off, dried it, and stuck it in the pot. The ivy is growing over it. Get lots of compliments about it.

  12. Image for Beth Patterson Beth Patterson

    Karianne, you crack me up. This is a wonderful project! I LOVE topiaries, Love them....real, dried and faux. If I could make a living just selling topiaries, I would.

  13. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    LOL okay, so NO uncute containers are allowed. Check. Great little fun tutorial - thanks for the inspiration. I happen to have two ivy plants growing rather well and just this morning I thought I'd give them a trim and make starts out of the trimmings......but perhaps one of them will become a topiary now. ♥

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