DIY Papier Mache Cacti

David Stark DIY Cacti for DesignSponge
David Stark is the king of FUN. Whenever I want to feel inspired or get creative “outside of the box” ideas for my home or a get together, David’s site is the first place I look. From huge events that turn shoes into a tornado to parties that showcase colored pencils as centerpieces, David knows how to deliver a dose of humor and good fun with decorating and entertaining. Today he and his team are sharing a creative DIY Papier-Mâché Cacti project inspired by pieces that created for a recent event. They loved the stylized, hyper real quality and thought they would also double as great everyday dinner table decorations, entryway flowers or household plants that you’ll never (ever) have to water. Thanks so much to David, Chris and Corrie (who masterminded this project with David) for sharing this with us today! And good luck to the team as they plan the last gala that will take place in The Breuerr Building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan before the Whitney moves to its new home in the Meatpacking district- what a wonderful honor to work on such a special event. xo, grace

Photographs by Susie Montagna

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

A Note From David: “The how-to directions/drawings focus on just one of the cacti shapes, but all of the varying forms in our photos are made with the same materials and methods, so when sitting down to work, everyone should use their imagination or look at reference photos of actual cacti for their inspiration and just go wild! It’s fun to make an entire cacti forest! They can be a glorious centerpieces for a dining table or a display on a side board or window sill.”


Tools and Supplies:

-Pot of your choice
Elmer’s Art Paste or homemade wheat paste
– Newspaper (hard edges torn off and torn into 1” strips)
-1.5” Foam board or insulation board
-2-3 ¼” dowel rods
-Flower clipper (to cut dowel rods and tooth picks)
– Acrylic paint
-Primer or gesso
-Various Paint brushes
-Tooth picks


You can download the full drawn-out how to right here, or view it below!







  1. Katie says:

    Maybe I missed it, but what are they cutting the shapes from initially, cardboard?

  2. jessberer says:

    I think I am missing something- is there a list of supplies to start with?

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      This project deviates from the traditional format a bit- if you click on or download the instructions you’ll see all the supplies you need and what to do with them :)


  3. Shannon says:

    LOVE David Stark! He is my event hero!! I’m totally going to make these — thanks DS!!

  4. Stephanie says:

    These are so cool! I need something like this for my desk!

  5. cynthia says:

    Like they said above, he didn’t include what the material is that the shape is cut out from.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      Hi Everyone

      We updated the post with a full material list.


  6. Nina says:

    These are so, so cute!

  7. amanda says:

    ohhhh, these are legit. love it.

  8. kristin says:

    these are adorable!

  9. Ellie Marie says:

    These are awesome! They would make a great addition to my mostly bare new apartment.

  10. Steph says:

    Haha these are so cute!

  11. oh wow these are wonderful….Great idea ..Thanks!

  12. Omg thats such a good idea, love it :)

  13. Kara says:

    I want to stay home from work tomorrow and make paper mache cacti! What it the ‘gravel’ made of?

  14. Diana says:

    These are amazing. Love this project – and plants that even I can’t kill!

  15. The colors on these are fantastic, from the thumbnail I didn’t even realize they were fake! These would be such cute decorations for a party that yours guests could take home!

  16. Sandra says:

    He! I made a cactus exactly like this (the one with the tooth picks) with a little cardboard tag that looked like the ones you see when you by real cacti, that said “you are the sunshine of my life”. I gave it to my boyfriend of the time, while at university, who had no light whatsoever in is student apartment to sustain plants. That was in 1999!

  17. SaraTH says:

    Nice idea, maybe I’ll try it :)

  18. So pretty! I’m going to try to make this and feature in my blog. xx

  19. SSundee says:

    Looks cool

  20. Robert says:

    These are awesome! They would make a great addition to my mostly bare new apartment.

  21. Jiimy says:

    The colors on these are fantastic. So pretty! Love this project – and plants that even I can’t kill!

  22. DecorNation says:

    This is the cutest DIY I saw on Pinterest today. Looks super cute and realistic. Thanks for sharing the tutorial. Will be sharing this one on our FB page. It is such a cute project. :P

  23. Elizabeth says:

    SO super cute! You make it look so easy. Love this project.

  24. swaggy says:

    these cactus are swaggy


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