Introduction: Evergreen Living Wood Nymph

I found a broken dress form at Goodwill and decided to create a living sculpture for my woods. The skirt is planted with succulents for fall, and the bodice and skirt are filled in with moss from the woods with the dirt layer still intact so it will continue to grow. The rest of the body is covered with birch bark with birch branches for arms.

The best part is that I can change the plantings for each season and can't wait for spring to add colorful annuals to her skirt and creeping jenny for dress fringe.

The only thing that's not "real" is the leaf garland around the bottom of the skirt.


Dress Form, old firepit stand, chicken wire, potting soil, planter liner, burlap sack, birch bark, birch branches, moss, succulents, pine cone, old wreath, leaves, bamboo rod, rake handle, stump. Tools: Tin snips, staple gun, wood glue, drill, saw.

Step 1: Cut Chicken Wire and Wrap Around Bottom and Inside of the Skirt Base

I used an old firepit base for the skirt frame but you could use any metal or wire ring. I cut a square of chicken wire with tin snips and wrapped it around the bottom of the frame. I secured it to the lower ring with zip ties and cut off the excess.

Then I cut another strip of chicken wire and wrapped around the inside of the frame leaving about 10-12 inched above the frame.

Step 2: Add Ring of Potting Soil/fiber Around the Inside of "skirt" Base

I used a fiber planter liner to fill in so I didn't have to use as much soil and cut down on weight. Be sure to leave room for the dress form in the middle.

Step 3: Place the Dress Form in the Middle of the Skirt Frame and Fill in With More Soil

I added a burlap potato sack around the dress form to take up more space and covered with potting soil. Succulents don't need a lot of soil to take root and it really cuts down on weight.

Step 4: Fold Over Excess Chicken Wire and Staple to Dress Form

Make sure the dirt is packed down and the chicken wire is holding it snuggly. You may have to cut the chicken wire a bit at the top to get it to fold over smoothly as it narrows to the waist.

Step 5: Plant Succulents in the Holes of the Chicken Wire All Over the Skirt

Plant as many as you want/have until you have a pattern you like. I found it easier to get the plants to hold on the sloping upper portions of the skirt.

Step 6: Staple Birch Bark Onto the Dress Form to Cover the Upper Body and Neckline

Step 7: Staple Moss Onto the Bodice

I scraped moss from my yard and woods, leaving a small layer of dirt to keep it together and ensure it would continue to grow. It staples really well and is very forgiving.

Step 8: Fill Open Areas Around the Succulents With Moss

This can just be poked into the chicken wire around the plants. I also covered the sides and bottom of the skirt with moss where there were not many plants.

Step 9: Cut Birch Branches for Arms and an Old Wreath for Belt.

Step 10: Add Arms

I drilled holes in the birch branch arms and in the dress form where I wanted them to go. The dress form is hollow and I ran a small bamboo rod through the form to hold the arms in place.

I used wood glue to attach the birch branches to the bamboo rod and propped them up until the wood glue was dry.

Step 11: Setting Up the Mount and Mounting the Form

The finished form is too heavy for just a thin pole so I pounded a rake handle into a stump I drug out of the woods. I ground the bottom of rake handle to a point to make it easier to hammer into the stump, although the stump was old and fairly soft.

The dress form is hollow and I made sure to drill out a hole the size of the rake handle before starting to assemble. Then I slid the dress form over the rake handle and the bottom of the skirt rests on the top of the stump.

Step 12: Finishing Touches

I adjusted the nymph form on the stump at an angle that I like an added a pine cone brooch, some leaves to the wreath belt for a pop of color and a leaf garland around the bottom of the skirt.

And voila!

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