Tea Tin Topiaries

There’s something mysterious and elegant about black tea tins. Many times, a black tea tin indicates the classic, traditional, and signature blend of a tea shop–a blend to be savored and cherished.

As you might imagine, my tea cabinet is literally bursting at the seams with tea tins of all shapes and colors. Many of the tins in my cabinet are actually empty. When opened, these empty tins carry the faintest essence of steeps past, a reminder that it’s either time to stock up again or time to get crafting!

Around Halloween, black and orange tea tins take on new meaning. They make artful, eye-catching decorations that aren’t the least bit tacky. The empty tins that I have the most of are Mariage Frères tins–so very chic and distinctively French. Just a glimpse and they give me the fondest memories of my tea adventures in France last year.

Some other tins that remind me of Halloween include the tins from Disney’s Mad Tea Party Blend and Harney & Sons’ Hot Cinnamon Sunset. These blends are black tea based, but while one is fruity (apricots!), the other is spicy. Both are delicious choices for fall tea-drinking.

To make these topiaries distinctively Halloween-like, I’ve used pumpkin seeds to create natural-looking greenery instead of using loose, dried moss. Pumpkin seeds are the perfect color of leaf green, and lie flat when glued onto styrofoam using a matcha infused buttercream. The lightweight seeds help to accentuate the form of the styrofoam base, which I’ve even used for making macaron towers before. I like to finish these arrangements with sparkly black spider stickers and some Halloween themed ribbon for a faintly “spooky” effect.

Once you find the right color of tea tin and some seasonal embellishments, Tea Tin Topiaries are perfect for any holiday occasion. For Halloween, Thanksgiving, or even Christmas, these structured garden pieces are easy to put together and make whimsical little centerpieces. This year, I’ll be placing these topiaries by large bowls of candy for a festive touch when the trick-or-treaters come knocking. It might be wishful thinking, but I’m hoping the sugar-crazed kiddos keep their hands off of my seed and candy creations…looky no touchy!

Tea Tin Topiary

Makes 1 topiary.

What You’ll Need:

bamboo lollipop stick

2 styrofoam balls ( I used a 3″ diameter ball) or 1 styrofoam cone (3″ x 6″) + 1 styrofoam ball (3″)

serrated knife

glue (hot glue/glue gun works best and fastest)

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

large plate

matcha powder (just enough to give the icing a light green tint)

1/4 cup white icing

icing spreader

decorative ribbon


spider stickers (optional)

tea tin

colorful, small decorative candies for topping off the base of the tins and for helping to adjust the height of topiary (how much depends on size of tin)


1.)  Cut a half-inch slice from one styrofoam ball to create a flat base for the topiary. Stick the lollipop stick into the middle base of another ball or cone, about 1″ in. Stick the other side of the stick into the styrofoam ball base, again about 1″ in. Use glue to attach both ends of the stick to each styrofoam piece. Make sure the topiary is standing perfectly straight before letting the glue dry completely.

2.)  Mix the matcha in with the icing. Use the spreader to spread a thin layer of the green icing onto the top styrofoam topiary piece. Over a large plate, attach the pumpkin seeds by scattering them on the surface of the iced styrofoam. Use your fingers to flatten them to the surface of the icing, and fill in any open icing gaps with more seeds.

3.)  Place some candies into the base of the tin. You may need to place more or less depending on how high you want your topiary to be. Place the topiary’s base into the semi-filled tea tin, adjust it so that it stands straight, and then fill the tin with remaining candies until the base is full with them. The weight of the candy will help to keep the tower in place.

4.)  Tie or adorn the topiaries with ribbon. If you want to wrap the cone like I did, use a dab of hot glue on one end of a long piece of ribbon, then secure it to the bottom edge of the topiary. Wrap the ribbon carefully around the surface of the topiary, then use another dab of glue to secure the other end of the ribbon onto the top edge of the topiary. Snip off any excess ribbon. If using, attach spider stickers on the topiary for a “spooky” effect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


What a cute way to use tea tins (you must have a lot!). It would be cool if the tree were cake pops and edible too, but then you’d have double the trouble of keeping kids’ hands of them haha.

Bonnie Eng

Ya, I’m kind of embarrassed…I have way too many Tiffany! And yes, you could easily make mini tree topiaries out of cake pops (I’ve actually done that before!) ;). They turn out quite cute and very kid-like! 😉


These look so cute Bonnie. I can only imagine how much fun this would be for my niece and little nephew to make or at least to try to make them! I will have to email my sister and show her this- I’m sure it would keep the kids quiet for the whole evening! And I’m sure it’s possible to use your idea for making little Christmas decorations too. Fantastic!

Bonnie Eng

Yay! Keeping kids quiet with some crafting sounds like a great idea…haha! 🙂 And yes, these would be really cute for Christmas, especially considering that good tea in attractive tins is such a popular gift during that time of year! So glad you enjoy Marta! 😉


Very clever indeed ! I must get to work, I am determined to put up at least one thing (which is one more than I ever have since my son was a little toddler) that is festive this Halloween!!!


Oh I live your idea of having finally a use for those pretty but empty tins that can get a bit in the way 😉 love the Halloween-look with the black and orange tins!


They are neatly displayed on a shelf and some are waiting for a long-due DIY project! I use the pretty ones as storage tins and put tiny paper clips in there but mostly they just stand around, collecting dust and being pretty 🙂

Bonnie Eng

Thank you so much Maggie!! This is probably a stupid question, but do they celebrate Halloween on any level in China? I’m guessing no? 🙂

Bonnie Eng

Haha, I love that word “shrubbery!” It’s definitely a different use for pumpkin seeds, but I figured I’d use them like people use candies to decorate gingerbread houses during Christmastime. 🙂 Thanks so much for the kind thoughts Miss Mochi!!