How to Make a Clay Cactus

by Nora Zavalczki
Cacti may have different shapes and have thorns instead of leaves.

Cacti may have different shapes and have thorns instead of leaves.

Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Live cacti are well-suited in many styles of home décor. They are easy to maintain, but the main disadvantage is that they have thorns, which may harm children or pets. Creating artificial cacti is a means to eliminate the dangers of cacti while preserving the appearance of your home. Create a cactus using air-dry clay or polymer clay. Polymer clay is available in hundreds of colors, and you may get the colors you need for your cacti without having to paint your artificial plants.

Items you will need

  • Polymer clay
  • Needle tool
  • Toothpicks or wire
  • Clay pots
Step 1

Sketch the cactus you want to make. Cacti come in various shapes. Determine how tall the cactus will be, so that you buy the necessary amount of polymer clay.

Step 2

Knead the polymer clay on a wooden surface in the same manner as you knead dough. This makes the material softer and more malleable.

Step 3

Roll a piece of clay between your fingers to obtain a cylinder that is larger in the middle and bottom part. Round the top of the cylinder.

Step 4

Make several smaller cylinders and attach them to the main body of the cactus using toothpicks.

Step 5

Roll brown or white polymer into a thin rope. Cut small pieces and attach them to the cactus as the thorns of the plant.

Step 6

Make small triangle-shaped petals using pink or red polymer clay. Join the petals and attach them to the top of your cactus. Make a small circle to place in the middle of the petals. Press the circle to the petals.

Step 7

Get a few clay pots for your cactus. Fill the pots with light brown polymer clay, to create the appearance of soil or sand. Use a toothpick or a needle tool to create some texture on the surface of the soil. Carve some lines or dots. Insert the cacti in the pots using wire or toothpicks.

Step 8

Fire the clay cactus in a kitchen oven for up to 30 minutes. Polymer clay hardens at temperatures below 300 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the type of clay you use. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. The clay becomes more durable and its shape cannot be modified after the baking.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make the clay pots out of polymer clay as well.
  • Instead of filling the pots with polymer clay, use sand. In this case, make the bottom of the cactus pointy, so that it can be easily inserted in sand.
  • If you want to add more pieces on your cactus, such as flowers, you can refire the cactus, because the material won't change its properties.
  • Never fire the polymer clay to temperatures above 300 degrees, because the material may yield fumes that can be dangerous if inhaled.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images