Craft for kids: DIY a Faux Foam Cactus

I have a Barrel cactus in my kitchen window, and does that little plant have big spikes! Ouch! If you’re looking for a fun – and painless, craft for the kids this summer, today I’m sharing a kinder, gentler, DIY Faux Foam Cactus by Linda Valentino. There’s nothing hard about making this Faux Cactus, which is topped with fanciful, felt flowers. If you’re looking for an educational craft for the classroom or scout troop, this is a good addition to a unit all about the southwest and desert life.

DIY faux foam cactus

Faux Foam Cactus by Linda Valentino.

To make a Faux, Foam Cactus, you’ll need:

  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: 2” and 3” balls, one each
  • Clay pot, 3 ½” dia.
  • Felt scraps in yellow
  • Pearl head pins in white, size 17, four dozen
  • Acrylic craft paints: Green, dark green, dark red, terra cotta
  • Spanish moss
  • Jumbo rick rack in turquoise, 12”
  • Rocks, three – four
  • Thick, white craft glue
  • Tools needed: Scissors; ruler; stiff bristle paintbrush; toothpicks; pencil; wood skewer

To make a Faux, Foam Cactus:

1. Insert a wood skewer into the 3” foam ball. Use the skewer as a handle, and paint the 3” foam ball green. Let paint dry. Paint 12 dark green stripes down the ball, about ½” apart. Let dry.

2. Place a pencil along a dark green stripe, and rock the pencil back & forth down the length of the ball, making an indent. Repeat, making an indented line along each dark green stripe.

3. Cut three, 2” circles from yellow felt. Push a pencil point into the top of cactus, making a small hole. Squeeze a few drops of glue into the hole. Using a wood skewer, push the center of a felt circle into the hole. Repeat, inserting two more felt circles into the hole.

4. Paint the pot terra cotta, and the rim dark red. Let dry, and then glue rick rack around the rim. Glue the 2” foam ball into the pot.

5. Break two toothpicks in half. Dip ends in glue and insert the four halves into bottom of cactus. Add glue to the other ends of toothpicks and push into the 2” ball. Place moss around the cactus and add a few rocks, too.

6. Dip tips of four, pearl head pins into glue, and insert into a raised stripe on the cactus. Repeat, adding four pins down the length of each raised stripe.

DIY Faux Foam Cactus

Pair this Faux Foam Cactus with a unit on the southwest and desert life.

For children a little older, you can pair the Faux Foam Cactus with the Southwest Adobe House.

DIY southwest adobe house

Southwest Adobe House

I hope you had a beautiful July 4th! Now, as we head into the second half of the summer, how are your kids keeping busy this summer? Are they crafting? Tell me what they’re making!

Happy crafting!


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25 Responses to Craft for kids: DIY a Faux Foam Cactus

  1. That looks like a great craft to make with my boys! Maybe we will do a southwest study and make those!

  2. costumemaker says:

    So cute I want to try this for myself, can never keep plants alive even cacti 🙂

    • Sharon says:

      I know! You have to love a no-fuss, no-care cactus! I’ve killed cacti, too, and the barrel cactus I have is my sole survivor. Happy crafting! Sharon

  3. CraftyB says:

    Great kid-friendly cactus!! I also like the pueblo! Wery cool styrofoam activities!!

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you! I know it’s summer now, but be sure to bookmark these for the school year . . . you never know when you’ll hear “mom, I have to make a Southwest Pueblo . . .” Happy crafting! Sharon

  4. What a cute cactus! Would look perfect with a desert motife or southwestern designs. I like that there are no pointy spikes to hurt. Where was this idea when I was assisting making a diarama with my then grade school student? Looks like a fun idea!

    • Sharon says:

      🙂 Yay for dioramas – those were always a favorite assignment of mine. It would be easy enough to make these smaller to fit into a little scene, or use an egg to change up the shape. You never know, maybe you’ll need to DIY a Faux Foam Cactus some time . . . happy crafting, Angie. Sharon

  5. This is super cute! xx, Britta & Carli from

  6. Another fabulous idea. I absolutely love your craft ideas. So fun and pretty. Easy for children to tackle. Thank you for sharing! =)

  7. Adorable! I especially LOVE ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ the adobe house! It totally ROCKS! I am pretty sure that I will be making one of them! TFS!

    • Sharon says:

      Yay! The Adobe House is a little more complex, but I’m pretty sure Jenna could help with it. She could certainly make a “forest” of cacti for the Adobe House, too. These hands-on projects really make learning fun, don’t they? Thanks for stopping in and happy crafting, Barb! Sharon

  8. PS says:

    Wow. This is so cute.

    • Sharon says:

      You are so sweet! Thank you! Linda makes adorable crafts for kids, and I’m so glad she shared her Faux Foam Cactus with us. Happy crafting! Sharon

  9. Very cute. I’m sure the kids will have fun making this project.

  10. annehaun says:

    My grandson would love this project – thanks!

  11. Katiria says:

    I love the cute harmless cactus 🙂 This summer the only thing my toddler is making is a mess! LOL My son is taking an extra math course over the summer so his down time is mostly spent watching YouTube videos. I’m trying to find time to work on a Belle dress for my daughters’ Halloween costume- it’s only 3 months away. All the pieces fabric, lining, tulle and ruffles are cut. I just have to put it together.

    • Sharon says:

      LOL! The mess never ends, does it? Yay for the Belle dress — you’ve made great progress. And school never ends any more, does it? Seems like it goes almost year-round with classes, activities, etc. Enjoy what you can, and happy crafting, Katiria. Sharon

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