Stories

Category: D.I.Y.

DIY Cacti

By Marcie Helms, Buffalo Exchange Atlanta

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My name is Marcie Helms and I am a plant killer. For as long as I can remember I have had a really hard time keeping plants alive. It’s not from a lack of trying, though, you guys—it’s because I care TOO much. I end up drowning them in love and way to much water. Our office in Atlanta is adorable and I didn’t want to introduce fake plants into the mix unless they were amazing. After being inspired by faux-flora solutions on social media (thanks, Tumblr), I decided to make some cacti.

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List of the supplies I used:

  • Rocks
  • Containers to hold cacti
  • Cardboard
  • Acrylic green paint + a yellow soft pastel for prickly details (a colored pencil should work okay, too)
  • Scissors (not pictured, but totally required)

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First off, I used a thinner cardboard, because it was much easier to cut through. Mine came off the packaging from a build-it-yourself Swedish furniture superstore that shall remain nameless (rhymes with Schmikea). I started by measuring the base of the container I chose. I decided to make the width of the cactus just a smidge smaller than the container’s base measurements, so it would be cozy, but also still fit. After that I sketched the shape of the cactus on the cardboard with those measurements in mind. I personally love the tall ones with arms because they look like they’re waving, but you can make a tiny barrel cactus or even a prickly pear. Whatever floats your boat. I then sketched an almost identical cactus shape (sans arms) on more cardboard. These will eventually fit together like puzzle pieces to give your cactus dimension.

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After cutting out both shapes, I painted them green and waited for them to dry. I used two different shades of green, but this is in no way required. I just like texture and dimension.

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I then let the pieces dry and cut what I will call puzzle piece slits. I cut a line from the top of one cactus piece and then I cut a line from the bottom of the other cactus piece. I didn’t measure how far down I cut the lines. It was almost half way down the cactus shape, but I cut a little at a time just so I wouldn’t overdo it.

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Later, I shimmied my puzzle pieces into each other and saw that they structurally looked good, I took them back a part, and added some details. Using my yellow soft pastel, I drew lines up the length of the cactus and kind of rounded them at the top to add dimension. I did the same for the arms.

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Lastly, I finished drawing the lines, I put my cactus puzzle pieces back together, placed my creation into the container, and then filled the container with rocks for stability and desert ambiance.

Bonus step—You can fold a little bit of pink or yellow paper into a fan to give your cactus a little bloom.

And that, dear audience, is how I made a cactus that I can’t kill and how you can make one, too.

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