Learn How To Make Easy Cacti and Succulents Out of Cardstock with Step-By-Step Instructions and Free SVG Files!
This post is sponsored JOANN. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Paper plants and cacti are gaining in popularity and they are the perfect way to celebrate that spring is almost here! I love plants, cacti, and succulents, so I made these free cacti SVG designs perfect for spring and summer.
They're easy to make, and the best part is they're even easier to care for! 🤣
These cacti are fun to make, especially if you're making them with your friends. Put on some music and craft to your favorite songs!
Pair these adorable 3D Cacti with a DIY layered card for a thoughtful Mother's Day gift. Click here to see the full blog post.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make each cactus unique and life-like with special techniques and tips, and tricks.
Table of Contents
3D Paper Cacti Template and Tutorial
I wanted to make a variety of cacti for you to choose from, so I made four designs; Barrel cactus, Aloe Vera, a tall cactus, and a short cactus. Combine these four designs together for an adorable Cacti display!
To make these paper cacti, I stocked up on supplies and grabbed a variety of green and pink cardstock from my local JOANN store.
Plus, I have three different-sized pots: small, medium, and large.
The barrel cactus, tall cactus, and small cacti include cacti with and without tabs. These are great if you want the design to look clean without much glue debris.
The tabs attach to the underside of a hexagon with slots. The cacti without tabs will let you freely place the cacti wherever to fill in those empty spaces between the tabbed cacti.
Feel free to mix and match the cacti without tabs. I made the large pot for this reason. You're able to fit more than 4-5 mini cacti all together.
What Type of Paper Should I Use?
For the pot, I used black, white, and brown Kraft board, but you could also use Kraft paper or a heavier cardstock such as an 80lb or 100lb cardstock.
For the cacti, I used 65lb green, white core cardstock and 65lb solid core pink cardstock for the flowers.
You could also substitute crepe paper for the flowers-I recommend using a thicker crepe paper- make sure to load a rotary blade into your cutting machine.
I usually wouldn't use white core cardstock for paper flowers, but it works great for these cacti designs. When cut into the paper, you can see the white center peeking through on the sides which is perfect for those short prickles on a cactus.
How Much Cardstock Do I Need?
POTS: 1 Piece 12 x 12" Kraft Board
CACTUS PIECES: Variety of Green 12 x 12" Cardstock (1-5 Pieces)
FLOWERS & DETAILS: 1 Piece 8.5 x 11" Cardstock (I recommend light pinks, yellows, or white)
What Are the Finished Sizes of the Cacti?
If you use the templates as provided without making any changes, this tutorial will create pots with a height of three inches and cacti that measure one to four inches, depending on which one you are assembling.
I'll show you how to assemble all four cacti as well as the pot. The pots are different sizes, but the assembly process is the same for each size.
- Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore, or Other Cutting Machine
- StandardGrip Mat
- Cardstock 65-80 lbs - (Greens, pinks, & Yellows)
- 12x12” Kraft Board or Cardstock- (Black, White, & Brown)
- Fine-Point Blade
- Scoring Wheel Tip & Housing or Scoring Stylus
- Craft Glue
- Hot Glue Gun
- Hot Glue Sticks
- Scraper Tool
- Bone Folder
Save yourself a trip to the store and order all of the supplies online at JOANN.com. Don't forget to check the JOANN app and use your coupons!
Why Use Pan Pastels and Paint?
I love using pan pastel to add depth to my projects. Similar to chalk- it's easy to blend but less dust to deal with and very pigmented!
Adding paint strokes to your paper plant projects is a great way to add texture, highlight and details.
Using both these mediums will make your cacti pieces look unique and realistic.
Upload 3D Cacti SVG Files
To begin, click on the link above to download the cacti SVG files to your computer.
Then, open up Cricut Design Space and create New Project.
Click on Upload to the left of your canvas and select the files you’re wanting to create from you computer.
Select the file(s) and upload it to your canvas.
Once uploaded, select the design, and click Ungroup in the layers panel to the right of your canvas.
Then, we need to change some basic cut lines to score lines.
To do this, select the layers that only have lines (if the line's fill color is red in the Operation panel- it's a score line)
Once those layers have been selected, change the operation from Basic Cut to Score in the Operation panel.
Then, attach the score lines to their corresponding objects by selecting the object and the score line layer. Click Attach in the layers panel or right-click and select Attach.
Now, go ahead and resize the pots to the sizes you desire. I'm going to resize my pot to 7.3".
Once you've resized the pots, select the cacti design you're wanting to cut and make sure to align its hexagon with the pots hexagon- this way they align when we start assembling.
Do this to the rest of the rest of the designs.
Step One: Cut Out 3D Potted Cacti Pieces
Now, let's start cutting!
Place cardstock onto your mat, and load it into your machine.
Be sure to load your scoring wheel into your cutting machine!
Next, load your fine-point blade and let the cutting begin! Once your machine is done cutting, unload the mat.
Once all the pieces have been cut out, it's time to assemble.
First, I'll show you how to make the pot, then I'll walk you through on how to make each cacti design.
Assemble 3D Paper Pot
To assemble the pot, first fold the score line located below the circles towards yourself.
Next, fold the score line above the circles away from you and fold the tabs at the top.
Then, fold the the bottom tabs and inner score lines.
Afterward, it's time to glue. Apply a strip of glue to one bottom tab at a time and attach them to the sides of the hexagon.
Then, add glue to the end with the side tab, and attach the ends together. Let the pot dry completely.
Now, let's move onto assembling the paper cacti.
Assembling the Tall Cactus
Tall Cactus Consists of:
- 6 Tall Cactus Pieces
- 2 Tabbed Cactus Pieces with Slits
- 2 Cactus Pieces with Slits
- 1 Hexagon Piece with Slots
- 2 Flower Pieces
Gather the tabbed tall cactus pieces, an assembled pot, some paint, paintbrushes, pan pastel, and sponges.
First, let's add some depth and detail to the pieces. I took a sponge and stroked dark green down the middle and light green along the edges.
Next, add light yellow acrylic paint to highlight the spines and bristles of the pieces.
Do this to the front and back and let it dry.
Grab the hexagon and tall cactus piece with a slit at the top.
Slide the tabs through the slots of the hexagon, fold the tabs, and apply a dot of glue to both tabs and stick it to the underside of the hexagon.
Then, grab the other tabbed cactus piece with the slit at the bottom, and slide the pieces together. Pull the tabs through the slots and glue them in place.
Finally, apply glue to the tabs of a pot, align and place the hexagonal shape on top.
Take the flower pieces and simply pinch the petals. Then, glue one to the head of the cactus and one to the spine.
If you want your cactus to be fuller, grab the other cactus pieces without tabs or slits, fold them down the middle, and glue them to each corner of the assembled tall cactus.
Assembling Barrel Cactus
Barrel Cactus Consists of:
- 8 Barrel Pieces
- 2 Tabbed Barrel Pieces with Slits
- 2 Barrel Cactus with Slits
- 1 Hexagon Piece with Slots
- 2 Flower Pieces
- 4 Bristles
Gather the barrel cactus pieces, an assembled pot, some paint, paintbrushes, pan pastels, and sponges.
Begin by applying dark green pastel down the middle of the barrel pieces. Then, add light yellow acrylic paint to the edges.
To assemble, grab the tabbed barrel piece with a top slit and hexagon piece. Slide the tabs into one of the two slots, fold the tabs over and apply a dot of glue to each, and attach them to the underside of the hexagon piece.
Grab the other tabbed barrel piece with the bottom slit, slide the barrel pieces together, and pull the tabs through the slots, and glue them into place.
Feel free to make this barrel cactus look fuller by folding the extra barrel pieces down the middle and gluing them to each corner of the assembled barrel cactus.
Add the finishing touches by attaching the flower to the head and bristles to each spine of the cactus.
Assembling Small Cacti
Small Cacti Consists of:
- 4 Tall Rounded Cactus Pieces
- 2 Tall Rounded Cactus Pieces with Tabs
- 3 Curved Cactus Pieces
- 2 Short Rounded Pieces
- 2 Short Rounded Pieces with Slits
- 2 Short Rounded Pieces with Tabs
- 2 Flower Pieces
- 2 Prickly Pear Pieces
To assemble these small cacti, let's begin by assembling the tall rounded cacti with tabs.
Grab the tall rounded cactus with tabs and a slit at the top, and hexagon piece.
Slide the tabs through the slots, and glue the tabs into place. Then, take the other tall rounded cactus with a slit at the bottom and slide the pieces together. Glue the tabs to the underside of the hexagon, and let dry.
Next, gather the short rounded cactus pieces with tabs. Slide the piece with the top slit through the slot of the hexagon piece. Then, take the other short rounded cactus with the bottom slit and slide the pieces together.
Pull the tabs through the slots of the hexagon piece, glue into place, and let it dry.
Next, take two curved cactus pieces and fold them down the middle and apply glue to one side.
Then, attach it to the other curved cactus piece, apply glue to the bottom, and place it onto the hexagon piece.
Finally, take the two prickly pear pieces, slide them together, apply glue to the bottom, and attach it to one of the heads of the cacti.
Assembling Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Consists of:
- 1 Small Aloe Vera Leaves
- 1 Medium Aloe Vera Leaves
- 1 Large Aloe Vera Leaves
- 1 Hexagon Piece
To add some depth, apply a stroke of dark green down the middle of each strip of leaf, and light yellow to the edges.
To assemble the Aloe Vera, fold each leaf down the middle to form a point with a bone folder or scraper tool.
After folding, glue the large aloe vera, the medium and the small on top of one another.
Finally, glue the assemble aloe vera to the hexagon piece and attach it to an assembled pot.
I hope you have fun making these 3D paper cacti!
Don’t want to forget about this free template? Save this project for later! Click here to save this project on Pinterest.
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Looking for more SVG files and paper crafts? Click here!