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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.