My daughter and I decided to do a weekly craft over the summer, we ended up being busier than we thought and had time for only a few projects. One of the first ones we both wanted to do was rock cacti, we had both been searching on Pintrest and found that we both had pinned similar painted rocks to our shared board.
Our front yard is filled with rocks, as we have a drought tolerant landscape, so we pretty much had everything we needed to start this project.
My daughter is 14 and has really been into room decor, so this was a great project to start off our summer crafts with, as she could add it to her room as a fun diy decoration.
After doing this craft with my daughter, my mother-in-law wanted to make one as well, my nieces happened to be visiting for a week at the same time as my mother-in-law so we planned a craft day and made these with them, we modified the craft slightly, so I will be showing you both methods I used for making these rock cactus gardens.
Paint Tray/Paper Plates
Either Aquarium Sand or Fine Stone Granules
Small Pebble like Rocks
For your materials, you can find rocks for this, or purchase rocks at a hardware store or Micheals, Michaels is a good one stop shop for the project as they have all of the other materials.
When selecting paints, you will want to choose different shades of green that look like cacti, I used white paint and added a bit to some of my green paints to add a bit of variety to my colors. I used 3 different greens, a light, medium and dark green, then mixed new colors using the 3 original green colors.
I started by painting my pot white, I first wiped the pot with a damp cloth, just to make sure it was free of oils, that way the paint will stick better to the pot. I also sanded the pot between coats to get rid of the brush marks, I used 2 coats, and sanded after each. The paint dries really quickly, so this didn’t really take too much extra time, and the end result looks more like a white pot, rather than a pot that has been painted white. Be sure to paint about 1 – 2 inches down into the pot so that the Terracotta color does not show through on the top.
Next I painted my rocks, I chose flatter oval shaped rocks, and long skinny rounded rocks, as I felt they looked the most cacti like, and fit well in the pot. I painted extra rocks, that way I could pick and choose the best ones for each pot.
For the details on the rocks, I used a small tip brush and a sharpened pencil to get my desired look. A sharpened pencil works AMAZING to do dots!
While the rocks were drying, I prepared my pot, I used Tacky Glue to glue a 2 inch Styrofoam ball to the bottom of my larger pots, this is just so that I didn’t have to use so much aquarium sand, and so that the pots would be a bit lighter. I also used some smaller terracotta pots when I did this craft with my mother-in-law and nieces, we didn’t paint the pots, and since they were so small we just placed a piece of tape over the hole on the bottom so that the stone granules did not fall through.
Once you have your pot and rocks ready, you can start putting together your mini cactus garden, I first poured in either the aquarium Sand or the Stone Granules, I like the way the aquarium sand looks in the larger white pot, and used the fine stone granules in the smaller terracotta pots, but you can use whichever type of sand you prefer, Michaels sells different varieties of stone granules to choose from. I purchased my aquarium sand at my local pet store, and found the fine stone granules at Michaels.
My daughter used 5 stones in her big pot, and I used 3, I think the 5 stones looks really good in that size pot. I ended up moving mine into a smaller pot, and currently have an air plant in my white pot 🙂
When we did the craft with my nieces and mother-in-law we had all different types of arrangements, everyone painted enough rocks to make 2 rock cacti gardens.
My 2 nieces and their friend were able to do this craft with little to no help, they are 7 , 8 and 10 years. I think they did a fantastic job, and they seemed really happy with them. This is a perfect craft for a kids crafting party 🙂 or to add as a craft for a birthday party.