Moss is an organic fabric of sorts, full of vibrant colour and texture.
Which makes a moss wall the latest and greatest way to craft a truly natural piece of art to hang in the home.
As well as being relatively affordable and easy to construct (even for someone without a craft background) moss walls are eye-catching and zero-maintenance.
Come with me as I walk you carefully through all 8 steps to creating your first mossy masterpiece.
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Preserved Moss Wall Art – An Overview
First, let’s just clear something up.
I did indeed write that moss walls are zero maintenance.
How can this be, you ask?
Well, moss walls typically are made using preserved moss, rather than live moss (I’ve written a whole article about preserved moss if you’d like to know more).
Preserved moss was once living and has since had its water content replaced with a non-toxic preservative like glycerol so that it may retain its fluffy consistency – food-grade dye is then used to enhance colour.
What About a Living Moss Wall?
Whereas preserved moss requires zero upkeep, live moss requires constant misting in an interior environment to remain healthy.
While this task is tedious at best, the excess of water is also likely to stimulate moulding on your walls, potentially damaging the property and creating an unhealthy environment.
It’s not that living moss walls aren’t possible – but we recommend keeping them outside.
Plus, large quantities of preserved moss are much easier to come by and are 100% pest free!
Now that the caveats are out of the way, let’s get into the good stuff.
What Do You Need to Make a DIY Moss Wall?
1 | Frame or Panel
To begin, you’ll need to source some sort of backing on which you’ll create your work of art.
I use wooden frames, though other types of frames would work also, so long as the glue you use can bond with it.
I choose wood partly because of its aesthetic, durability and relationship with the glues I use.
You could also use a flat wooden panel/plywood piece instead of a frame.
Again, I like to work with frames as it neatly contains the glue that I choose to use.
Your frame can be any shape and any size.
Squares, rectangles, circles, hexagons, dodecahedrons, rhombicosidodecahedrons, tesseracts – whatever!
2 | Wood Glue + Super Glue
One of the central components of a solid moss mount is a reliable glue with a good bond.
Though there is a myriad of glues out there, I prefer to use Gorilla’s wood glue. It spreads easily, has a strong grip and is quite affordable in large quantities.
The only downside to Gorilla’s wood glue is that it will take 24 hours to set, but this isn’t uncommon and so long as you’re not in a rush shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
I also make sure to have some superglue on hand (also Gorilla) to help reinforce hardscape elements and fill in gaps at the end of the build.
3 | Preserved Moss
Now, as mentioned, I have written an article all about Preserved moss including common types and applications, so I’ll keep this section brief.
You need to find a supply of preserved moss that will provide you enough to fit in your frame or onto your panel.
So, make sure you measure up the surface area you’re working with and then buy your moss, rather than the other way around.
The second criteria to consider is the type of moss you wish to use. Generally, you’ll be choosing between some assortment of cushion/mood moss, sheet moss and reindeer moss.
I have seen, however, many incredible moss frames made with only 1 type of moss, it’s up to you what you would like.
Just be careful when using preserved moss, as it can quite often leak a little dye onto the users’ hands or surfaces – so make sure to wear gloves.
4 | Artificial/Preserved Plants
I don’t use many preserved plants on my moss mounts – I prefer to let the bryophytes do the talking.
However, I’ve seen some classy moss frames that have incorporated preserved ferns and various other flora into their design.
Choosing plants that would hang down rather than stick out is key.
You want to make sure that the use of plants complements your design and makes sense aesthetically.
5 | Hardscape Elements
Just as in a terrarium, you can select an assortment of stones and/or woods to create an even more natural design for your frame.
Again, this décor is optional.
Just make sure not to select excessively heavy elements or ones that might injure/snag on someone if they’re walking past.
Nothing ruins a good moss frame like impaling your roommate.
How to Make a Moss Wall (Step-by-Step)
1 | Visualise Your Design
Trying to make edits once your moss has already met the glue can get quite messy.
Therefore, to minimise re-dos, I suggest visualising and physically planning out your piece ahead of time.
Simply get a piece of paper (or several pieces of paper, if you opted for a larger frame) and measure out the same dimensions of your backing panel.
Now, just have a go laying out your moss and hardscape until you find something that clicks.
Make sure to take a picture on your phone so you have a point of reference to check back to you when moving your bits over to the main stage.
- Allow your mosses to be raised and lowered in the depth dimension. Beauty, as ever, comes from contrast – and nothing achieves contrast like light and shadow.
If you’ve got a lot of space to work with, or you’re using only one type of moss, you can consider sticking foam cut-outs to your backing to create a raised platform on which to stick further moss, which helps accentuate hillsides and grooves.
- Consider nature and how growths of species tend to form in an area.
If you were to take a snapshot of a forest floor, you’d likely see a few types of mosses, plants and twigs lying around.
Although it may look random, you’ll notice that certain species of moss aren’t just growing in one patch of the area, they’re growing in several.
So, when placing your moss, try to find the appropriate marriage between randomness and connection, as you try to emulate the blooming nature of flora.
- Similarly for your hardscape elements consider directionality. Coastal winds would shape trees to contour all in the same direction, while steady water flows erode rock formations also in a pattern-like, geometric fashion.
It sounds complicated, but, this is why you planned and visualised your design.
If you’re a little lost, just google up some nature pics
Or, just look out of your window, if you’re one of the lucky ones that still lives in the real world.
2 | Spread the Glue Across Your Frame or Panel
It’s time to pen up that glue and get a’spreadin’.
Simply open the valve (or remove the lid entirely if you’ve got a large surface area to work with), pour on some glue and spread it out evenly across your backing panel.
If you’re working on a flat panel: make sure to use some masking tape around your border to contain the glue.
Alternatively, you could experiment with less runny glue, such as silicone.
Once you’ve evenly covered your frame, move on to step 3!
3 | Place Down Your Hardscape Elements
Now, just like the simulations, place in your hardscape elements.
You can either place everything down right away or leave some room for highlight pieces towards the end.
I, for example, like to add in my spiderwood after my moss, otherwise, it can be a little fiddly to make sure all of the surface under the wood is covered in moss.
Here’s a quick tip to ensure your hardscape sticks properly:
Use a glue spreader to push the wood glue up to the edges of the rocks and wood, so that you have a 360-degree application holding down the hard stuff.
4 | Arrange Your Moss
Now, in with the moss!
After each piece is placed, make sure to give it a little push to ensure the entirety of its base has made contact with the glue down below.
I like to place in my largest elements first and fill in the smaller spaces with secondary pieces.
You may find your finished piece doesn’t look exactly like your planned piece, that’s ok!
Nothing in nature follows a set plan, chalk it up to evolution.
Oh and, if you’ve selected to also use preserved plants – get them in. Get them all in.
5 | Add Finishing Hardscape and Filler Mosses
Now, you’ve placed everything down, right?
Ok, so I want you to get your head real close to that bad boy and do your best Robocop impression; scan that mother from all angles to make sure no gaps remain.
They should be easy to spot if you spread your glue evenly, the bright white should shine through and let you know where to plug extra moss.
6 | Now, We Wait
Get something flat and heavy and lay it GENTLY on top of your frame. All you want to do is compress the work into the glue while it dries, to make sure everything sticks.
Examples of something flat and heavy:
- A baking tray with a bible on top
- An even bigger moss frame
- Fresh roadkill
Now simply let that bad boy sit for 24 hours.
7 | The Check Back
Now that everything should have dried, remove your weight, and have a look at your beautiful build.
Before you get too excited, just perform one more check over to make sure everything has stuck and that there are no gaps.
If spaces remain, take some giblets of moss, and apply a little super glue to the underside, and place into said gap.
If you’ve had to fill in any gaps, give the superglue 4-6 hours to properly dry.
7 | Hang Up and Hang Out
You made it!
Both literally and figuratively.
Find somewhere to hang up your frame, sit down and marvel at your masterpiece.
How to Care for Moss Wall Décor
Remember when I said your moss frames are zero-maintenance?
Well, that’s still true.
There’s nothing you must do to keep your frames looking top-notch.
There are, however, two important things that you must NOT do.
So, to leave you on a negative note:
- DON’T allow your moss frame to be constantly exposed to strong sunlight. Excessive direct light can dry out the preservative and bleach the dye.
- DON’T mist or water your moss frame, ever. They should be able to withstand regular levels of humidity, but excessive moisture will cause the dye to leak/run.
Over to You
Thank you so much for reading and I would truly love to marvel at your creations if you’d like to share them.
Thinking about making your first hanging moss frame? Let us know below!
Until next time, folks.