The rich colors in men’s silk neckties are perfect for decorating this time of year – vibrant red, burgundy, navy blue, and splashes of gold. Designer Kathleen George turned a pile of cast-off silk ties into a beautiful topiary and wreath you can display through the holidays and on into winter. Today, I have her tutorial for making the Men’s Silk Tie Topiary, and on Friday, I’ll share her tutorial for the Men’s Silk Tie Wreath. If you don’t have old ties buried in a closet somewhere, do what Kathleen did and scout your local second-hand stores. You’re sure to find a collection of ties at a fraction of their original price.
To make a Men’s Silk Tie Topiary, you’ll need:
- STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: 12” cone and 4” ball
- Wood dowel, ¾” x 4”
- Neckties, six
- Pearl head pins in coordinating color (Kathleen used red)
- Iron-on interfacing, lightweight, preferably in a dark color
- Acrylic craft paint in black
- Yes! Paste or other craft paste
- Low-temp glue gun
- Tools needed: Scissors; serrated knife and bar of soap or old candle; ruler; 1” putty knife or table knife; stiff bristle paintbrush, 1”; iron; sharp pencil; needle & thread
To make a Men’s Silk Tie Topiary:
Make the topiary form:
- Wax the knife blade with an old candle or bar of soap, and cut the 4” ball in half. Save one half for a future project.
- In the rounded side of the half ball, use the tip of the knife to make a ¾” deep hole for the wood dowel. Do the same in the center bottom of the cone of STYROFOAM Brand Foam.
- Glue the wood dowel in the half ball base and in the bottom of the cone. Check to be sure the topiary stands straight before the glue dries.
- Paint the dowel and the bottom of the cone black. Let dry.
Prepare the ties:
- Clip the threads that hold the ties together at the back. Remove the liners from inside each tie. Iron the fabric flat.
- Cut six, 13-1/2” x 3” pieces of fabric stabilizer. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, iron two pieces of stabilizer onto the back of each tie. Be sure to position the stabilizer so it aligns with the pattern in the fabric.
- Using the patterns, cut six pieces from stabilized tie fabric. (Note: plan your cuts strategically. If you’d like to use the excess silk for another project, cut your fabric from the center section of the tie, leaving the larger portions for a future project.)
- Cut four, 4” x 3-1/2” pieces of fabric stabilizer for the base. Iron the stabilizer onto the reverse side of tie fabric. Using pattern, cut out four segments.
Cover the cone and base:
- Using the tie pattern and a sharp pencil, mark six segments all around the cone.
- Spread a thin, even layer of Yes! Paste or other craft paste onto the cone with a putty knife or table knife.
- Starting along the bottom edge of the cone, position the first tie piece on the cone so that the point extends beyond the bottom edge. Carefully continue up the cone, using your fingertips to smooth the fabric into place and keep it in the section. Fold the top of the fabric strip onto the top of the cone and glue down. Trim away excess fabric at the top.
- Repeat, covering every other section on the cone. Cover the three remaining sections, slightly overlapping the first pieces.
- Insert pearl head pins along the edges of each strip, spacing them approximately ½” apart.
- Cover the base. Adhere fabric pieces to two alternating sections on the half ball, smoothing fabric around the curve. (Remember to cut a slit as indicated on the pattern so that the fabric will lay flat on the curved, half ball.) Finish with the remaining two fabric pieces. Insert pearl head pins along the overlapping edges.
Aren’t the colors gorgeous? The red hues look like the leaves I can see from my window right now. Of course, Kathleen also changed it up and used cotton, madras neckties to create a Madras Plaid Springtime Topiary. Make both and it will be easy enough to change out the look for something lighter and brighter once all that snow melts.
I can’t wait to share Kathleen’s tutorial for the Men’s Silk Tie Wreath on Friday. See you then!