Paper Cactus

Easy to make, even easier to take care of!

Paper cacti and other succulents have been all the rage this season, and for good reason. They are cute, unkillable and really easy to make.

I’ve pinned a bunch of these tutorials and then combined them all into two plants that fit my needs best.

Here’s how I made them:

In Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is my drawing program of choice because I’ve used it for years.

Before I could begin drawing, there was a little math. But don’t panic on that- the issue is I wanted these plants to fit two pots I already had, and it’s really not that tricky to get that to happen.

I measured across the top of the pot I wanted to use – the fancy math term for that is “diameter.” To make the plant sit snug in the mouth of the pot, I need the finished piece to be right at that measurement. If I made them smaller, then it would slip down into the pot and wouldn’t look real.

The cacti are made up of multiple folded and glued wedges, so I need to divide that diameter in half to get the measurement of the wide spot of each wedge.

 

Once I had those measurements, I drew half of a cactus piece. half a cactus for a paper cactus project

This I then copied and mirrored so that my two halves were exactly even. This is important when you fold and glue them. I welded them together to get rid of that middle line because I didn’t want it cut in half, I want to fold them in half to create a ball-like shape.

two cactus halves for a paper cactus

I repeated this process for my second pot (getting the measurement and drawing a different shaped cactus wedge). And then a drew up a little flower circle, using a similar process from this project.

cactus drawing for a paper cactus

Once I had all my parts, I saved the file, and then exported it as a DXF file, because the basic version of Silhouette Studio software can’t read an Adobe Illustrator file, but it can work with the DXF format.

In Silhouette Studio

Silhouette Studio is the software that Silhouette America provides for using with the Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. I set my Design Settings for an 8.5 x 11 sheet, cutting with a 12 x 12 mat, and then brought in my artwork.

cactus files to cut for a paper cactus

I’ll need 6 wedges for each cacti, plus one flower. I cut the wedges out of two shades of green paper for variation, and the flower out of hot pink for one plant, and a scrap of yellow for the other.

paper parts for a paper cactus

Final Assembly

Once I had all the parts weeded, it was time to assemble. Fold all the wedges in half, and then glue one half of one piece to the half piece of the next. Continue doing this until you have a ball shaped cactus using all 6 pieces. The last one is the trickiest to fit in – my tip here is to make sure the remaining section is really pretty dry before trying to work that one in. I use paper clips as mini clamps as I go, and I use either glue stick or fast drying tacky glue for this project. This is really similar to how the tulips were assembled in the Watering Can and Tulip Mobile.

assemble the paper cactus

I curled up the edges of the flower and used a dollop of tacky glue to adhere it to the top of the cactus. This adds a little pop of color, and also hides any of the corners at the top that might not have been glued together perfectly even.

paper bag dirt for a paper cactus

For my “dirt” I used scalloped scissors on a paper bag, and then accordion folded and then cut those strips up smaller to fill the bottom of my pot.

After these were finished, I saw a super cute, super punny flowerpot in my Pinterest feed, so I cut a similar saying out of black vinyl and adhered that to one of the pots for a finishing touch.

punny saying for a paper cactus

 

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Hand Painted Ladybug Planter

Another quick Sharpie upcycle craft

Buoyed by my success with my Happy Face Planter, I set about to use my new skill set (tracing shapes and filling them in with Sharpies!).

Ladybugs seemed a good choice for this craft, since they are basically a bunch of circles.

I traced a quarter and a dime onto a cereal box and cut them out with scissors. And then I cut out a pie shaped slice out of the quarter circle.

templates for the ladybug planter

Using a red Sharpie, I traced that shape onto my terra cotta pot. I didn’t even wash it, and I don’t care about the cracks. Switching to a black marker, I slid the dime size circle slightly downward into the big circle for the head, and slightly upward into the big circle to give me the guide for the reveal of the body. For the head and body parts, I didn’t trace the whole circle – just where it met the red one.

Outlined shapes for the ladybug planter

And then I colored them in. Just as with the Happy Face planter, you really only need a steady hand close to the edges; you can be pretty sloppy on the fill in area. I freehanded the swirls for the antennae. I let the red wing parts dry before free handing the little dots for the body.

I repeated the pattern mostly randomly around the pot, and now I have another cute planter for my deck.

 

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Etched Glasses

An easy way to personalize barware

 

Mr. SuzerSpace and I like ice-cold drinks on the weekends. In fact, we even have a special recipe for a beer based drink.

Unfortunately, one of us tends to put down her glass and lose track of it, and then drink the other person’s drink.

The obvious solution would be to etch our names on our glasses. But what fun would be obvious be?

Instead, I chose to etch “Mine” and “Not Yours” on a set of glasses.

This is an easy craft – all of the instructions are on the back of the etching cream bottle. And using my Silhouette Cameo to create the stencil made it even easier.

In Silhouette Studio

I set up in Silhouette Studio two rectangles the maximum size of what I wanted the words to be. And then I typed them inside that rectangle in a big bold font. From my paint stencil project, I know it’s best to give yourself extra taped off area so as not to drip on the finished piece.

words for etched glasses

I sent that to cut on contact paper, and then weeded the letters out of the big rectangle.  The goal is to make a stencil for the etching cream. Contact paper is a good choice here because the stencil is going to be thrown away, but it needs to be super sticky to protect the areas you don’t want etched.

I used transfer tape to move the stencil to the glass. I probably could have moved the “Mine” one without the tape, but the “Not Yours” version has those little parts inside the “o” (those are called counters) and it’s easier to move that with the tape.

Final Assembly

After I washed the glass and cleaned it one last time with an alcohol wipe to get off any grease, I applied the contact paper stencil and then applied the etching cream. I wore gloves and worked outside for this project because etching cream is an acid and I don’t want to lose any skin (or countertop).

mask for etched glasses applied to with transfer tape
Gridded transfer tape makes moving a contact paper mask for etching glasses easier.

After the required time was up, I washed off the cream, washed and dried the glass and then repeated the process on the second glass.

And now I have a very unique set of glasses for weekend drinking!

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Tiny Tip: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A quick trick that doesn’t require a 500 word essay

We spent the better part of a year trying to decide on a paint color for the house. And once we finally settled on one, I really didn’t want to lose the paint chip swatch for fear of needing to start over.

I stuck it on my bulletin board in the kitchen, but that was a little useless when I was anywhere else. Like when the paint contractor called to confirm my color choice and I wasn’t at home. I was 99.999 percent I knew the number and name, but he was going to order buckets and buckets of paint, so I needed to know for sure.

To not have that happen again, I snapped a photo of that and now it’s in my phone forever. I’m not using it to match colors (the photo isn’t really color correct) – I just need to be able to clearly see the name and numbers. I’ve done the same with specialty light bulbs (make sure to turn the bulb so that numbers and letters are visible in the photo).

Small purse from a dress shirt

A quick upcycle sewing project

Recently I became the new owner of a really nice sewing machine (thanks mom!).

I hadn’t been sewing lately, so I didn’t really have much of a stash of fabric to work with. But Mr. SuzerSpace has recently lost quite a bit of weight, and he had a nice pile of old shirts in the give-away box. I decided to spend a rainy weekend morning cutting those shirts into usable sections. I didn’t have any real projects in mind – I was just looking to square up large sections and salvage interesting bits (cuffs, button plackets and buttons, etc.)

One particular shirt had a pocket on the front, and suddenly I had a quick project idea.

I didn’t use a pattern for this – I just centered the pocket left and right and cut straight down on the sides until the material could no longer be straight (the shirt had tapered seams, so I cut off above where that started). So the width of the bag was determined by that measurement.

To chose the height of the bag, I folded the material to simulate the bottom and then adjusted the top edge until I could fit in what I wanted (my wallet, phone, keys and sunglass case).  I added a bit more for seam allowances, boxing the corners and general sewing mistakes 🙂 , and then trimmed carefully.

I pressed down a hem on the short sides, and sewed it with a straight stitch. I turned the wrong sides together and sewed them on the long sides to make a bag. This quick tutorial helped me remember how to make a box corner. For the handle, I used the buttonhole side of the button placket – I stitched each short end inside to the side seam. I topstiched around the entire top to catch the handle again and to give it a nice finished edge.

This little bag is perfect on weekends when I only need essentials, or I can drop it into my backpack during the week to keep those items separate from all my other work items. I’m definitely going to make another (there were several shirts with pockets!) – next time I’m going to step up and tackle a lining.

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