Do you have a brown thumb? Or perhaps you know someone who does? Then you’ll love these easy, DIY kill-proof wooden cacti. They’re fun to make, look great and you get to recycle a few tin cans too. Win-Win 😀

How to make your own wooden cacti. Perfect home decor for anyone who struggles to keep plants alive or if you want to add a little greenery to your space. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

What you need to make the cacti

For this project you’ll need:

  • Clean, empty tin cans
  • A piece of scrap wood, at least 4 cm (1.5″) thick
  • Pretty paper or you can download the one we used here
  • Green craft paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill and jigsaw
  • Sand or gravel


  • 18 gauge jewelry wire
  • Concrete

What you need to make a faux wood cactus #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

Okay, before we get to the tutorial, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!

How to make the wooden cacti

Remove the labels from the tin cans and give them a quick wipe to get rid of any dirt. Place the cans on a piece of wood, making sure to line the bottom of the can up with the edge of the wood. Draw different cacti shapes using the cans to judge how big they should be. You can also download this free template as a guide to drawing your cacti. Just resize them accordingly.

Draw cacti shapes using the tin cans as base. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

Use a jigsaw to cut them out. If you’re not comfortable with a jigsaw, you might want to read this tutorial first. The jigsaw is one of my favorite tools and once you get the hang of it, there are so many beautiful things you can make.

Paint each cactus a different shade of green.

Paint the wooden cacti in different shades of green with craft paint. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

And lightly sand the edges to add interest.

Interesting Fact: The Wandering Devil Cactus, or Stenocereus eruca, moves 60 cm a year. Click to Tweet

Sand and distress the cacti. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

LOL, maybe I should have washed the paint off before taking the photo. But no-one’s got time for that, right!! 😉 Anyhows, no self-respecting cactus would be seen without a spike or 2. Well except for the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera) of course.

Adding the spiky bits

For the spikes or spines, drill a few random holes all over the cactus. Cut the jewelry wire in 2.5 cm (1″) bits and bend them in half before gluing them inside the holes. You can also draw the spikes on if you don’t have any jewelry wire.

I added spikes to two of the cacti and for the third, I made a wire flower. In all honesty, I considered making spikes for all of them but after cutting and gluing, what felt like a gazillion pieces of metal, I’d had enough 😀

Drill holdes randomly all over the cactus and insert wire. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

Once they’re all done, you can get cracking on making a few planters using those empty tin cans.

Tin can planters

I wanted to give the planters an old-world look to “honor” how ancient this plant form is. After searching high and low for antiquey paper, I decided to make my own. If you struggle to find the right print, you’re welcome to download the ones I made here. Depending on the size of your tin cans you may have to resize them a bit. Use mod podge to glue the print all around the cans.

Mod Podge the antique ad prints on the tin cans. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

Once it’s dry, mix up a batch of concrete and fill the cans……

Mix up a batch of concrete and fill. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

…. before planting the wooden cacti inside. Ours are going down to our round holiday home, so I wanted to make sure nobody could accidentally bump them over 😉 If you don’t have any concrete, you can plant the cacti in sand or gravel instead.

Plant the cactus in cement and add a few stones #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #tincanrepurpose #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

And that’s it, they’re all done.

How to make your own wooden cacti. Perfect home decor for anyone who struggles to keep plants alive or if you want to add a little greenery to your space. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #tincanrepurpose #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

My hubby says the tallest one looks like it’s waving at us 😀 And the little one on the left seems to be jumping for joy.

The little baby brother wooden cactus. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix #tincanrepurpose

We added two gorgeous cacti prints from the Graphics Fairy to complete the picture. The prints have been framed in our easy DIY frames. You might want to check out that tutorial too. I love how the wire flower adds a pop of something different to the other cactus.

Add a wire flower. #BrownThumb #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

They make lovely house warming gifts for people with, or without brown thumbs. What do you think? Would you add a few to your decor?

Don’t forget to pin the wooden cacti for later

How to make your own wooden cacti. Perfect home decor for anyone who struggles to keep plants alive or if you want to add a little greenery to your space. #BrownThumb t#tincanrepurpose #tincanrecycle #WoodenCacti #DIYTutorial #ACraftyMix

Oh and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉

Apple Barrel Green Acrylic Paint Bundle of 3 - Kelly, English Ivy, Palm Leaf (2 Ounce)
BeadSmith Antique Vintage Bronze Brass Color Copper Craft Wire 18 Gauge - 7 Yds
Sale BOSCH JS470E 120V 7.0-Amp Corded Top-Handle Jig Saw, Blue

Or if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.

NCYP 31.1' Large Natural Looking Large Artificial Faux Fake Saguaro Cactus Desert Plant with White Planter for Home Office Decor Indoor
ShoppeWatch Artificial Mini Cactus Plants Fake Succulent Picks 8 Pieces Unpotted Indoor Home Decor Faux Cacti Stems DIY Decorations Plantas Artificiales Decorativas
Flora Bunda 15' H Faux Plants Cactus Succulent in 5' Hand-Painted Geometric Planter Ceramic Pot Planter Mid Century, for Desk, Office, Living Room, and Home Decoration

And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.

Made with love by a Crafty Mix