Peep Topiary (Plus Other Easter Table Top Decorating Ideas)

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I’ve always had an active imagination. I am that auntie who likes to tell your kids stories.

If you know me, you know what I’m talking about. And if you have kids under five, chances are that I’ve told your wee ones a tall tale or two.

For example, if your kids think that squirrels grow on trees, they probably got that from me. (Everyone knows that if you plant acorns in the fall, they’ll sprout into squirrel trees in the spring.)

And the terrible tale of the eight-legged cat? That’s one of mine, too.

Which brings me to Peeps. Specifically, Peep trees. Much like squirrels, it’s a little known fact that Peeps grow on jelly bean trees. Topiaries, to be exact. It’s true. It must be. I have one in my kitchen right now. See?

I can’t make these things up.

If you look closely at a Peep tree, you can usually spot the leader.

If he gives you too much trouble, well, you know what to do.

Thankfully, a Peep topiary makes a fabulous (and delicious) centerpiece for your Easter table. Here’s how to make one of your very own.

It’s a fun, sticky, and totally ridiculous way to spend an afternoon. Make them with your kids. Just be careful with the toothpicks.

This table top idea is my contribution to the Kraft Breakstone’s Holiday Celebration Program. Check out a handful of other great Easter decorating ideas from the other program bloggers here.

About ingredients

Definitely switch up the candy to suit your taste. Here’s what I used.

A bag of seriously old-school jelly beans. (Think I’m kidding? Go to a drugstore and try to find regular, old-fashioned jelly beans. They’re, like, a rarity. At least around our parts.)

Boxes of Peeps, or any other festive marshmallow-y type confection. You’ll need 6 or 7 boxes. I bought a few different colors so I could make a flower-y pattern.

A styrofoam flower ball. You can find these at any big craft store.

A stake or dowel. Your Peep topiary is going to be heavier than you think by the time it’s done, so you’ll need a sturdy stick to hold it up.

A flower pot. You want it to be about the same size as your top topiary ball, so it’s stable enough to hold up the ball. So, for a 7-inch styrofoam ball, I grabbed a 6-inch pot. It worked out great. If you want to, paint the pot, cover it in glitter. Go nuts.

A box of regular old wooden toothpicks.

Here’s how I made my Peep topiary. It will give you the general idea. Improvise and change around the ingredients as you like. If you have any tips or tricks, definitely leave them in the comments. This was my inaugural Peep tree. I can only imagine that the next one will be even better.

I could see making these on the cone-shaped forms around the winter holidays with green and red, Christmas-y Peeps. (They make those, right? They must.) You get the picture.

In truth, there’s probably no limit to the marshmallow sculpture you can create.

Peep Topiary

Peep topiary
1 6-inch pot
1 7-inch styrofoam ball (for topiary top)
1 4-5 inch styrofoam chunk (for inside the pot)
1 12-inch wooden stake or thick wooden dowel
1 box of wooden toothpicks
6-7 boxes of marshmallow Peeps
1 bag of jelly beans

Other table decorations
Assorted foil covered chocolate eggs
Plastic easter eggs
Easter grass
Assorted silk flower garlands

Makes 1 Peep topiary that will knock your socks off

Assemble the topiary top

Pick your workspace carefully. It’s going to get covered in sugar.

Gather all your ingredients together on a workspace.

Poke the stake or dowel into the styrofoam ball, about into the center.

Give it a quick check to be sure you’re happy with the basic shape.

Wedge a piece of styrofoam in the bottom of the pot. You want it to be really snug, so it doesn’t move at all. This is going to anchor your topiary. I cut this piece of styrofoam from a larger piece to ensure a snug fit.

Cover the ball with Peeps

To begin, set the ball in the flower pot, so you can work on the center of the topiary.

Poke 3 toothpicks into the ball in a triangle, about an inch apart from each other. Insert them about halfway into the ball. This is the center of your topiary.

Insert 10 toothpicks in a large circle around the triangle. Make them about an inch or so apart. Don’t make yourself nuts with precise spacing. You’ll be able to adjust them later if you have gaps.

Do the outer ring first. Stick one Peep onto a toothpick. Do it so that the toothpick goes through the center of the Peep, up through his head. This will give him the strongest anchor.

Smoosh him down gently to be sure he sticks.

Repeat with the rest of the Peeps.

Next, do the center. I used the little purple guys.

Nestle them together. If you need to, remove and readjust the toothpicks so that there are no (or very few) gaps.

To do the rest of the ball, you’re basically going to place each layer of Peeps in between the Peeps on the previous layer. Like this:


Once you’ve completed each layer, start on the next.

When you’ve covered one side of the ball, it’s time to put it in the pot. Insert the stake or dowel into the center of the styrofoam in the flower pot. Stick it down far enough so that the topiary stands upright and is stable.

Work your way around the ball, alternating rows of Peeps until the entire ball is covered. I only did the flower-y face on one side of my topiary, but if you wanted to, you could do one on the other side, too. You get the idea.

A note on the very bottom of the ball. Some of your Peeps may fall off the very bottom. When the whole ball is covered, they do a nice job of sticking together and holding in place. However, if you do lose a few to gravity (I did), I think that’s just fine. When the whole thing is complete, the bottom of the ball is actually very hard to see.

When your ball is totally covered in Peeps, it’s time to finish the display.

Finish the Peep topiary

Cover the styrofoam with colored tissue paper or a few paper towels.

Pour in the jelly beans to cover.

And…voila! One Peep topiary! How about it?

Create your table top

Grab your Easter grass and your silk flower garlands.

Set the Peep topiary in the center of your table. Wrap the garland around in a loose circle. Fill in the area between the pot and the garland with Easter grass.

Fill a handful of plastic Easter eggs with candy and chocolate.

Nestle the filled eggs into the Easter grass.

Surround with more silk flowers, if you like. Forsythia are particularly Spring-y.

And there you have it! One Easter table top, complete with Peep topiary. (Who says the Easter isn’t fun for adults?)

Enter to win $2,500!

Don’t forget, Breakstone’s is hosting a big sweeps on Better Homes and Gardens, where one lucky winner will win $2,500! Enter today!

Please note: This is a sponsored post for Breakstone’s Sour Cream. All ideas, thoughts, experiences, photos are my own.

Have you made a Peep Topiary?

Send me your picture, and I’ll include it below! Many thanks to you all who take the time to read and write to me! <3

Peep topiary with some very mischievous looking bunnies. Photo courtesy of Lucy Paterson. (Thanks, Lucy & company!)

Peep Topiary (Plus Other Easter Table Top Decorating Ideas)

Yields 1 Peep topiary that will knock your socks off

A Peep topiary makes a fabulous (and delicious) centerpiece for your Spring table. Here's how to make one of your very own.

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Ingredients

Peep topiary
1 6-inch pot
1 7-inch styrofoam ball (for topiary top)
1 4-5 inch styrofoam chunk (for inside the pot)
1 12-inch wooden stake or thick wooden dowel
1 box of wooden toothpicks
6-7 boxes of marshmallow Peeps
1 bag of jelly beans
Other table decorations
Assorted foil covered chocolate eggs
Plastic easter eggs
Easter grass
Assorted silk flower garlands

Instructions

  1. Assemble the topiary top: Pick your workspace carefully. It's going to get covered in sugar. Poke the stake or dowel into the styrofoam ball, about into the center. Give it a quick check to be sure you're happy with the basic shape. Wedge a piece of styrofoam in the bottom of the pot. You want it to be really snug, so it doesn't move at all. This is going to anchor your topiary. I cut this piece of styrofoam from a larger piece to ensure a snug fit.
  2. Cover the ball with Peeps: To begin, set the ball in the flower pot, so you can work on the center of the topiary. Poke 3 toothpicks into the ball in a triangle, about an inch apart from each other. Insert them about halfway into the ball. This is the center of your topiary. Insert 10 toothpicks in a large circle around the triangle. Make them about an inch or so apart. Don't make yourself nuts with precise spacing. You'll be able to adjust them later if you have gaps. Do the outer ring first. Stick one Peep onto a toothpick. Do it so that the toothpick goes through the center of the Peep, up through his head. This will give him the strongest anchor. Smoosh him down gently to be sure he sticks. Repeat with the rest of the Peeps. Next, do the center. I used the little purple guys. Do the rest of the ball by placing each layer of Peeps in between the Peeps on the previous layer.
  3. When you've covered one side of the ball, it's time to put it in the pot. Insert the stake or dowel into the center of the styrofoam in the flower pot. Stick it down far enough so that the topiary stands upright and is stable.
  4. Work your way around the ball, alternating rows of Peeps until the entire ball is covered. I only did the flower-y face on one side of my topiary, but if you wanted to, you could do one on the other side, too. You get the idea.
  5. When your ball is totally covered in Peeps, it's time to finish the display.
  6. Finish the Peep topiary: Cover the styrofoam with colored tissue paper or a few paper towels. Pour in the jelly beans to cover. And...voila! One Peep topiary! How about it?
  7. Create your table top: Grab your Easter grass and your silk flower garlands. Set the Peep topiary in the center of your table. Wrap the garland around in a loose circle. Fill in the area between the pot and the garland with Easter grass. Fill a handful of plastic Easter eggs with candy and chocolate. Nestle the filled eggs into the Easter grass. Surround with more silk flowers, if you like.
http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2011/04/11/peep-topiary-plus-other-easter-table-top-decorating-ideas/


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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

130 COMMENTS

  1. Brilliant!

    Tried to enter the sweepstakes (via your link, of course) but unless their computers are creepily psychic, nothing happened.

  2. Hey, Jessie! I remember running across your site when I’d first started getting my recipes online, joining Foodbuzz, etc. Now, some three years later, your site is one of the select few picks that StumbleUpon chose to recommend to me.
    And you’re still blogging away- way to go! I’ve run out of time to keep up much with blogging, myself… a few other irons in the fire. But just wanted to stop by and say congrats to a real trouper 🙂
    Keep it up!

  3. My mother in law always had peeps leftover from Easter, and she would purposefully hide them waaaay back in the cupboard, so by the time Thanksgiving came around they were rock hard and she would use them on top of her sweet potato casserole… I have not seen this yet, but from what hubby has told me it looked like a Peeps horror movie! :o)

  4. I’ll be right over!!!! 🙂
    I can’t wait until the day after Easter when everything goes on sale. I’m going to have a topiary in every room of the house!!

  5. Hi Jessie!…saw a peep topiary on a magazine cover while in line @ supermarket…when I googled it & found yours it blew that one away!…definitely going to make yours only going to add melted chocolate to the peeps bottoms for extra adherence & taste too!..wish me luck! thanks for your awesome design!

  6. Ok so got them all put together and the Peeps on the bottom keep falling off. Any ideas on how to get them to stay? Are they to fresh? Will letting them sit out over night help? Any ideas?

  7. I wish I had seen this in time for yesterday when I had a house full of Easter celebrants! It makes my flowers look so ordinary! Nice work.

  8. OH MAN I LOVE THIS.

    I am a peep freak! I am going to start on one right now!

    I love peeps when they are hard, I will be making lots of these for personal use. Lol

    Thank you for such great simplified directions!

  9. I love it! i am doing my daughters birthday this year in a candy theme and this would be wonderful!! please let me know if you have anymore need ideas! Thank you!

  10. Love this idea and plan to do it this year! At Christmas time, my daughter’s kindergarten class makes gumdrop trees and we cover the Styrofoam cone with aluminum foil so that the gumdrops can be eaten without styrofoam stuck to them. I’m not sure the Peep tree will last long without going stale, but I think I’m going to line my styrofoam ball with foil just in case…

  11. Very cute. The only thing I would add to it would be to cover the syrofoam ball in plastic wrap, I would think that covering in foil would add a weird metallic taste.

  12. […] Makes 1 Peep topiary that will knock your socks off       Here is the link with all the steps: http://www.thehungrymouse.com/2011/04/11/peep-topiary-plus-other-easter-table-top-decorating-ideas/ Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Leave a […]

  13. I am going to do this for Easter at my daughter’s I think, but I am going to wrap the topiary styrofoam ball with plastic wrap so none of it sticks to the bottoms of the Peeps!
    Love the idea though!!!!

  14. I love it, we are totaly going to rock this peep tree this year. I will post about it on my blog and let you know when it all goes down. I just found your blog and I look forward to looking through the rest of it.
    Donna, the woman behind the chaos.

  15. I was featured at the Washington post with you… and I had to check out your cute project! I’m going to feature peeps on our local Sunday morning news show this weekend and I’m going to show a version of your project along with mine!!! xoxo JEnni

  16. This is such a cool idea. I tried it out. I thought I boiught everything I needed. Found out that I needed something bigger than just a popcicle stick. Also I didn’t get the styrofoam to put in the bottom of the planter so improvised with a couple small balls that I cut in half and jammed in there. I had problems with the peeps at the bottom staying on the toothpicks. I kept it together long enough to get a pic and to say that I made it. Yours looked so much better than mine.

  17. So I just tried this using an egg shaped styrofoam ball… The peeps on the entire lower half keep falling off… Looked at another Peep art example and she dried them out then used hot glue… Opening the package to dry over night and will try again tomorrow! Super cute idea, thanks! Hopefully I can get it to work!

  18. What an adorable idea!! So making!! Thank you so much for a GREAT pic demonstration of this it’s awesome!!! 🙂

  19. Great job, I’m so impressed. I can’t wait to make this and display it for Easter. I’m always looking for great ideas and you’ve won this year, Thank you so much for sharing!

  20. This is the cutest Easter decoration idea that I have seen. I put it on my Pinterest with credit to your website blog. It is adorable, my daughter and I are making it on Friday! Can’t wait. I bought everything to make it today. You should send a photo to the Peeps company with your photo credit on it. Precious. Thanks so much for sharing!

  21. Ok, I tried this. Got all the necessities, set aside an evening and we ran out of peeps as I wanted to cover the entire ball. Bummed! BUt it was fun to try. So many possibilities in designing how to get stripes, having them all face one way or another. I’ll try it again , maybe next year, but for now, it was fun, so thanks for sharing! :o)

  22. This looks awesome!! I am going to attempt to make this before Sunday for my peeps loving aunt!! Thanks for the detailed tutorial and photos!

  23. Love this idea ~ great to give to friends and neighbors…….I personally would not add the plastic vine and plastic eggs.

  24. I love this idea. I made it for my son’s teacher for Easter and I’m making 2 more for my friends that have children. To keep the peeps from falling off the bottom of the foam ball, I used 2 toothpicks for each peep and it worked well.

  25. Hey I was just going to let you know that you inspired me and I made 2 of these for easter. they didnt turn out as good as yours, I used the bunny PEEPS for the outside of the flower, and then the birds for the middle, and to cover the middle i stabbed a toothpick threw a jelly bean! I was just wondering if you had a problem with them staying on the toothpick, the ones on bottom? I am thinking it may just be because they are the bunnies is why they fell off :/ I dont know. Anyway, HAPPY EASTER!

  26. Here is an idea I had..(you inspired me!) How about 2 heavy dowels for legs. Add a smaller Styrofoam ball for a head and make this a Chicken topiary. OR…leave the legs off…use the large all for the body…the smaller ball for a head and make it a Bunny. Bunny ears out of card stock. This is going to be so much fun!!!!!!!!!! Oh!! You could use pretty colored tissue paper instead of Peeps ….sticking twist in with tooth picks or florist pins. Jelly bean eyes…

  27. Haven’t tried it yet. But the problem with them falling of the bottom can probably be remedied by using a royal icing. Still edible.?? Just a thought.

  28. I’m thinking I might not even use a stake! This way it may not be a topiary buy I won’t have to worry about the peeps on the bottom falling off either…Just put it right on top of the planter….What do you think?

  29. How did you make the aspargus wraps. Those are lovely. Great presentation. My son loves asparagus. What pastry and is it bacon? Clever clever clever – creative I should say.

  30. Found this project when I searched for Peeps crafts. Made Peeps wreath last yr & will make this one. To prevent Peeps from falling off, remove from package a couple of hrs before you start the project or overnight if you have time as stated in comments above. Also, don’t use regular toothpicks (too flimsy) use the floral picks instead (same length just sturdier & top is flat so prevents slippage). Instead of the foam ball we used straw (again sturdier). We only use as decorations so we spray w/acrylic sealer to repel bugs & use yr after yr. Great project idea, thanks for posting.

  31. I love this idea with a few tweaks, I’m going to cover the styrofoam ball with tin foil (I don’t want the kids to eat bits of styofoam!) and will put a bead of Royal icing on the bottom of the chicks to help keep them on their toothpicks and stuck to the ball. I also like the idea of wrapping pretty green ribbon around the “stem”.

  32. I first covered the styro-ball in a colorful duct tape to help eliminate the stryo-ball from “peeping” through, no pun intended ;), and it seems to secure the toothpicks and Peeps better! I also made the stake look like a stem/trunk by wrapping in ribbon and/or painting.

  33. When I started to make this I couldn’t find 7″ styrofoam balls so I used 6″. I tried using newspaper to keep the ball from moving around and it still moved, my next idea was to hot glue the ball to the bottom of the pot. and i also used hot glue to keep the balls from moving around in the dowels by making a hole and putting hot glue in the hole. Then I just decorated the pot easter style! Good Luck Everyone!!

  34. I Love this project, I could not find a 7 inch ball so I purchased a 6 inch one and a 5 inch pot, if you go to the dollar store, tree, etc. they had some really pretty pots already painted and decorated for the spring for a dollar. also I used a dowel instead of a stake, it turned out great as it was the same shape as a flower stem, I also painted the part you see green. as far as the bottom peeps falling out I used 2 toothpicks each for the bottom ones and a dab of frosting and it held quite nicely!I also added a pretty ribbon and tied it in a bow for the top of my stem, play around with the color peeps, my table was going to be mostly yellows, so I chose that color peep for most of it, and did purple for the middle, and a ring of the pink! it looked so pretty! to keep with the peep theme I have extra now so I will make a batch of cupcakes and add a peep to each one to put on the table as well!!! great idea, Thanks for sharing!!!!

  35. Thanks for the step-by-step photos! Very thorough! I can use this as a decoration for my next Peep Roast – the guests can pull a Peep right off of the topiary to roast. 🙂

  36. THanks for the instructions. I was pleased with my creation. I used florist tape on the stick, and added green bunny Peeps on green toothpicks for leaves on the stem. Am going to try a topiary using the Peeps bunnies tonight.

  37. You are truly a crazy aunt about as much as I am a crazy gramma. I have toasting peeps over an open campfire ever since 1995. They make great conversation pieces when roasting. Don’t put too close to the flame as they will burn and not be any good. A slow rotating roasting up a little higher and you will have a treat that is out of this world!!!! Have fun with your peeps and I might just steal your idea for this Sunday’s breakfast! Thanks -v-

  38. I used a chopstick for the stem and it worked great! Unfortunately, my peeps are all over the place. I guess I’ll try drying them out first and see what happens on the third try.

  39. I made this for our neighbor and one for my husband. They both loved it. I would like to make a suggestion that helped to keep the peeps from falling off if the bottom row. Simply place the peep of the toothpick and then gently bend the end of the toothpick upward until it cracks. It will act as a hook and keep your peeps firmly in place. Of course be careful and remind anyone who picks one from the bottom row about the broken toothpick.

  40. im curious of how long this lasts,i know most would make it to be eaten quickly but I wonder if it could be just for decoration??

  41. Very, very clever and festive.. I much prefer using peeps as a decorating tool rather than eating them 🙂

  42. I just LOVE this, my niece is having a Baby shower in April. What a Cute Center piece & then we
    eat the Jelly beans & I was thinking about putting some more Peeps around the table as well.
    Thanks for a GREAT idea, anymore for a Baby shower as my other niece is due in August & yes
    their sisters Whew……………….

    Thanks A Bunch,
    Belles

    Happy Saint Patty’s Day from Savannah, Ga.

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