IKEA cactus project

My IKEA Cactus project – the pleasure of recycling cardboard

I still have a lot of wonderful cardboard packaging pieces from our IKEA kitchen island… And as you know, I am a paper addict, so I can hear them calling me to involve them in different projects. And what else to do in this day, when strong winds are blowing from the North and thick heavy waves of snow are slamming the Black sea coast, where my husband and I are hiding these last few months. Outside is wild and beautiful – waves of white foamy water and waves of white foamy snow. The perfect time for reading, cuddling and crafting.

What you need to start your Cactus craft project

I will start with my IKEA cardboard pieces, but you can use any other cardboard you can find at home. The best thing is that you can even use coloured cardboard, because everything on the surface will be covered with crepe paper and other decorations.

Start by cutting cactus leaf shapes – for each leaf you will need a couple of equal shapes. Cut different shapes, bigger and smaller for the different leaves.

Then, using kitchen paper towels (or simple paper serviettes or even toilet paper), cut smaller shapes to glue in the middle of the bigger cardboard ones. These pieces will give your cactus leaves volume looking “fatter” and realistic.

Making the leaves

When the paper pieces have been glued (I suggest you use PVA glue, because it easily seeps inside the paper layers), measure crepe paper rectangles, large enough to cover the leaf shape. Don’t forget that crepe paper is stretching, so you can cut narrower pieces in order to save material. Then stretch the crepe paper rectangles and glue on them the leaf shapes (with the kitchen paper towel pieces facing down and the back of the leaf on top).

After this, cut the paper around as shown on the photo below. You will need to leave about 0.5” (1.5 cm) to have enough paper to fold over the leaf’s back.

Put PVA glue on the edges and glue the paper as shown.

The cactus special thorns

This Cactus will have soft thorns, so it is great even for a child’s room or desk decoration. No prickly thorns at all! Cut a strip of crepe paper. I chose white, but all the nuances of pale yellow, pink, green or even blue sounds pretty attractive too. Be careful to ensure the paper crinkles are vertical and cut little fringes, all as shown.

Then roll the fringes between your fingers to make them look like thorns. If you are making this project with little kids, don’t give them this task, even if it looks easy. Rolling the firm crepe paper can hurt the gentle skin of the children’s fingers. Stretch the uncut lower portion.

The next step is to glue the thorns on the inside, following the leaf curves.

Then put a good amount of PVA glue…

… and close with the other leaf element. It is something like a cactus-sandwich.

And because the thorns are a bit longer, cut them to look the way you like. I made mine short.

Putting the cactus together

Following the steps above, you should complete 3-5 cactus leaves.

And once you’ve done that, it is time to connect them together.

The best way is to use toothpicks. Stick them inside, between the two leaf layers, before the PVA glue is fully dried. Don’t forget to stick one or even two toothpicks in the bottom of the biggest leaf – this will be its “root” – its connection to the soil.

Then, stick the toothpick of every leaf on the top of a bigger one. And you will have your cactus ready! Make some PVA glue dots.

I stuck it inside my Christmas decoration, and it looks pretty cool between the other paper succulents. I love the bluish shades which the PVA glue gave to the crepe paper too…

I also added some printable flowers from another project of mine which is available in my Etsy shop.

but for you, as a reader of my blog, these printable files are free. You can find them by clicking on the banner below.

Happy cactus crafting!

If you are a cactus love as me, maybe you will enjoy this article about how to DIY cactus:

… or check my Flowering cactus masterclass in ThePaperHeart Etsy shop:

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