Paper Cactus Art

Hello September! Another month has whizzed past in the blink of an eye and it’s time to bump the productivity level up another notch before the year comes to a close. I finally got down to documenting some of these paper cactus art pieces I made. I was thinking of doing a 365 days cactus project then but gave up after day 5. The appeal in a 365 days project lies in the forced stimuli for creativity. Something new everyday. I used to dislike the idea, but have come to realise it can actually be useful for procrastinators like me!

Anyhow, I posted some of these on my instagram, but decided I should let it have a run on the blog too. I love working on paper illustrations, so I really hope to be able to post more when I can. Xo.

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Cactus Matchbox Diorama I

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The first time I attempted doing a matchbox diorama was through a swap on swap-bot 2 or 3 years ago. I remember making a mini television and filling it with all things purple, pink and sparkly. Thinking back, it sounds awfully bubblegum pop. I am obsessed with miniatures, so it’s no surprise that I enjoy making dioramas and decorating them. My dream house would be filled with miniatures hidden in every nook and cranny, waiting to be discovered by my guests! I’m really excited to share this simple matchbox diorama tutorial, but it’s long winded, so I will be splitting it up into two posts.

Today’s post is all about making mini cactuses and I made use of the following materials:

  • Polymer clay
  • A nail dotting tool
  • Nail polish or acrylic paint
  • Small caps from used tubes
  • White glue

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I made my clay green by mixing shaved down green chalk pastels into it. My matchbox is around 3″ by 2″, so make sure your cactuses are much smaller in size. To make the cactus, roll up a small ball and slowly roll the sides into a bean shape!

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Roll another two small balls into a pill shape, these are for the arms. Attach both arms to the side, you will need to use your finger to mould the end of the arm into the body. Just be gentle and patient in smoothing out the lines. Make sure that it’s completely seamless!

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Lastly, you need to push the stiff arms up and there you have it, a cactus! Now, pop this in the oven to bake as instructed for your brand of clay. It should be as hard as a rock when it’s ready.

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Now, we are not going to be doing a realistic looking cactus with spiky thorns. Instead we will be adding polka dots to represent the thorns! A little yayoi kusama inspired, perhaps? Get ready your nail polish and nail dotting tool, you can easily substitute these with paint and a toothpick as well.

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Start off with a tiny drop of white nail polish and use your chosen dotting tool to start dotting the cactus.

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Finish up one side and let it dry before starting on the back. It’s fine if you choose not to do the back too because you wouldn’t be able to see it when it’s sitting in the matchbox.

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Next, get your cap from any used tube (for example; a toothpaste tube, a mini travel lotion bottle cap, an antiseptic tube). Remember to wash the caps clean and dry before applying glue! Bust out your glue and apply around the rims of the cap. I used E600 glue, but white glue would suffice honestly. I chose E600 as it was conveniently lying around. I hate how smelly it is! Plus it says on the backing that it can cause cancer, why the hell am I still using it?!

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Hold your breathe in and push the cactus tightly into the cap. Leave the sucker in to dry for a couple of hours.

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And boom girl, you got yourself some baby cactuses to fawn over! Hold onto them till we get to part II!

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Cactuses for the Faint Hearted

I know I was supposed to blog about this last week. I did not forget, but I ran out of time! Need to get a proper schedule down pat, girl. Anyway, I decided to create some new paper cactus art last week. I made some of these last year and really enjoyed going back to paper again. It’s been so many years since I started working with paper art and I still have an undying love for PAPER! Guess it’s never going to end! Well, let’s get back to playing with cactuses.

First, we’ve got to bust out some paper cactuses. Draw a ton of them on paper and select your best few! It can get a little hard picking your favourite, or maybe it’s only me. They are all so cute!

imageI like to start off with a piece of light basal wood in a postcard size. I like the weight of these as they work well on their own without a need for frames! You can just lean them against the wall on your shelf! Saving cost, yes! I am a total cheapskate. My basal wood came in a long plank, so I just used a penknife to chop it to a desired length.

imageNext, you could choose to use paint, paper or washi tape to create your background. I took out a bunch of tapes and picked a neutral colour palette, that I thought look like swimming pool colours. Ok, what am I talking about, I’m so bad with descriptive words today! Next, you would want to tape that baby plank up with 2 to 3 layers of colour.

imageThe fun part comes now, when you get to compose your picture! Cut out a variety of geometric shapes and play around. They could be vases, shelves or tables, something to put the cactus on. I’m thinking home related things, but of course you can let your imagination run wild! Who says you can’t put a cactus on a birthday cake? Birthday cactus cake card, anyone?

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imageWhat’s a cactus without its spiky thorns? Pencil them in! Add some flowers or other embellishments if you like. When you are satisfied with the final image, glue them onto your plywood and you are ready to show them off!

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imageEasy peasy, huh?

imageEven if you don’t have green fingers, these would still turn out great! Xo.

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Happy Birthday, Me!

Contrary to said title, it is not my birthday today. It was 12 days ago. I had a good day, and it was good because I ate a ton of my favourite yakitoris at the best place on earth. Also, my boyfriend bought me a cactus, which in my books is quite romantic as I lost a plant recently. It was a cute cat planter with one or two pre-mature alyssum flowers, but it fell off the ledge and broke in two (along with my heart).

imageWell, it’s been replaced by two adventurers amongst the wilderness now! He tried to copy my art though. 😉 In a long ago past, I used to work with miniatures. Maybe one day I will think about creating art again.

imageThis week is going to be a cactus-filled blog posting week. I have a couple of paper cut cactuses which I did last year and I haven’t got a clue what to do with them. With the sudden rise in cacti loving posts that I’ve seen popping up on almost every virtual space, I might as well hop on the bandwagon. I love cactuses, especially ones with flowers! But I probably wouldn’t get a chance to plant more in my current home. So, I thought of a few projects that will help quench that thirst! Stick around!

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