Flowering Prickly Pear Cactus - DIY

Succulents and cacti are all the rage and one of the most popular decorating trends today! You find mostly smaller versions used in almost every type of settings, from elaborate weddings to everyday surroundings. I love the simplicity of these plants and wanted something larger and impactful to display. So being the crafter that I am, decided to make my own faux prickly pear cactus arrangement. For the complete tutorial visit: http://www.plumperfectandme.com/2016/07/flowering-prickly-pear-cactus-diy.html
First, create freehand patterns for the cactus pads/fruit, and trace onto foam boards.
Cutting out the foam pads and fruit was so easy using my Proxxon hot wire cutter. A knife or different type of hot wire can also be used to cut out the shapes.
Next, smooth out and round off the edges and sides of the foam pieces using a sanding block.
It really didn't take long to sand all of these.
Next, paint all of the pieces using a variety of green colors to blend.
To mimic the areoles of cactus, place random dots all over the pads with a marker. Next, remove bristles from a brush and then add a dab of hot glue over the dots. Wait a few seconds for the glue to set up and then insert the bristles into the hot glue randomly to represent spines.
You might have to hold up the bristles for a few seconds to dry erect, and then, once completely dry, cut down the bristles for a uniform overall look.
Place leftover pieces of foam into the bottom of a container and cover with dried moss and or mulch. Randomly arrange the pads into a cactus plant in the container, connecting each one with toothpicks and hot glue.
For the flowers - imagine how a cactus flower looks and cut petal shapes out of foam sheets and paint both sides and let dry. Place petals on a hot griddle for a few seconds, remove and shape with fingers.
Glue shaped petals around a foam painted circle, clockwise to form flower, leaving center clear.
To form center stamens, cut a one inch strip from foam sheet and cut thin strips three quarters the width the entire length. Lay on top of griddle until ends curl and then coil the piece, gluing end to secure.
Hot glue in center of flower.
And finally, insert toothpicks to connect and randomly glue on fruit and flowers.

Suggested materials:

  • Foam board project panels - 24"x24"  (HomeDepot)
  • Proxxon hot wire cutter  (online)
  • Sanding block
See all materials

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Gail@Purple Hues and Me

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • One8185958
    on Jul 17, 2016

    Does heating this cause a toxic reaction?

    • Gail@Purple Hues and Me
      on Jul 18, 2016

      I heated the foam sheets on medium heat for just a few seconds until they soften and started to curl. Didn't smell anything or see fumes. I did sand the foam outside because of the dust.

  • Melody
    on Jul 18, 2016

    Gail I forgot to ask you... are these pretties outdoor safe or do they need to be kept inside?

    • Gail@Purple Hues and Me
      on Jul 18, 2016

      I would spray on a sealant that's for outdoors. The foam panel I used says it's moisture and mold resistant. But I did use hot glue to put it together and hot glue doesn't hold up in heat.

  • Gail
    on Oct 30, 2018

    Hi Gail,

    Love this! Is the heat of the griddle used so the foam board curls and becomes wavy?

    Thank you,


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