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Posts tagged ‘how to make a cactus’

Cactus Prop (painless)



When a script called for a cactus, we had a hard time finding one that was big enough to look good on stage and look DANGEROUS, without actually BEING dangerous.  And I didn’t have much lead time to make something, because we didn’t know the real deal was so risky until it was run-through night, and it punctured our producer in the … err … well lets just say we didn’t find out until Thursday night that we needed a safer prop on Sunday morning.  

Here’s what I did. 

Gather materials including 

  1. a brown paper bag and water to soak it in.
  2. a decorative planting pot
  3. green flannel
  4. white fun foam
  5. a hot glue gun and glue sticks for it
  6. stuffing (I used paper from my paper shredder, you could use polyester batting if you wanted).
  7. a short pencil or dowel for each cactus pad you make

First, I tore off a large panel from the paper bag, wadded it up to wrinkle it, and began soaking it in water.  This will simulate the moss or dirt in the pot when the project is complete. 

Then I cut out round shapes, a little larger than the palm of my hands, from some green flannel scraps I had.  They were from an old faded twin bedsheet, so cost = $0.00.  You can sew the wrong sides of the flannel circles together leaving a large gap in the bottom for stuffing as shown here… 

Click to enlarge


When the cactus “pad” is stuffed and closed, cut needles out of fun foam and hot glue them on. 

add the needles to the "pads"


Hot glue on the pencil or dowel as a stem.  The stem won’t show, but adds support and provides a way to connect the pads together at the base like a real cactus. 

add a quick stem


Next, hot glue the stems together.  If the pads “flop” over, that’s ok.  Hot glue the stems into the base of the pot so they stay put. 
Wring out most of the water from the brown paper bag that has been soaking in water.  It should look wrinkled.  When it dries, it will look leathery, or like dirt from a distance.  (If you want to make a fake book that looks like leather, remember this material!) 
Stuff the paper around and under the pads of the cactus.  When it dries, use hot glue to secure it into the pot.
Ta Daaa!  Safe, realistic-looking cactus.  Done. 
hugs,  v-

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