Cardboard Cactus DIY

Cacti are one of the biggest design trends of 2017 and this cardboard cactus DIY is a great way to work this trend into your home. Whether you don’t want the responsibility of caring for a living cactus or you simply want to incorporate the cacti trend in a more functional way, With a few craft supplies you can create your very own cactus and add a little South Western style to your home!

Cardboard Cactus DIY

Whether you use the cardboard cactus as a home accessory on your window sill or a table decoration it is sure to look great throughout the home. You can make it more functional by adding holes to the cactus and using it as a jewelery stand on your dresser. It also makes a great paper weight or desk tidy for the home office.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Supplies


  • Empty/clean food can
  • Cardboard
  • Paints
  • Optional: marker pens and decorative paper for extra detail
  • Tissue paper or faux flowers
  • Craft knife/scissors
  • Sandpaper
Draw Cardboard Cactus

Step 1: Trace cactus shape on strong cardboard. You can either draw the shape freehand or find an image online to trace.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Cut
Cardboard Cactus DIY Cut Out

Step 2: Cut out cactus using either a craft knife or a pair of scissors.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Paint in green
Cardboard Cactus DIY Draw

Step 3: Paint one side of the cactus and allow it to dry, turn over and paint the second side and allow to dry again. You can add extra details using marker pens and make holes to hang earrings if you want.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Trace
Cardboard Cactus DIY Sandpaper

Step 4: Take your empty food can and trace the lid on the sandpaper and set it aside.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Paint The Can

Step 5: Decorate the empty food can using paints, including chalkboard paint, or decorative paper(s).

Cardboard Cactus DIY Cans
Cardboard Cactus DIY Mark

Step 6: Assemble the cactus by slotting both pieces together and mark on the sandpaper a cross, where the cactus will be positioned, using a pencil.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Cut the Mark

Step 7: Cut along the marked cross on the sandpaper using a craft knife or a pair of scissors. If you would like to use the cactus as a desk tidy also cut slots for ruler, pens and pencils etc.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Glue
Cardboard Cactus DIY Attach

Step 8: If you want to add weight to the cactus so it has more stability or so it can be used as a paper weight, go ahead and add some rocks into the base of the tin. Then glue the sandpaper lid on top using a glue gun.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Flowers
Cardboard Cactus DIY Glue Flowers

Step 9: Add flowers to your cactus. You can either glue on fake flowers or you can make your own by twisting squares of tissue paper and then gluing in place.

This cactus DIY is great for using up recyclable materials. You can find cardboard and tissue paper from postal boxes or food packages and using up food cans is another way to minimise your waste.

Cardboard Cactus DIY Project

In this version, lifelike colours are used, but you could decorate your cactus with neons, floral prints or metallics or keep it monotone by painting both cactus and tin the same colour. You could also make a slightly sturdier version using thin MDF and a jigsaw to cut out the cactus shape.