Aloe, there! Are you ready for a bunch of cactus puns and a super fun craft? Great! Then this is the tutorial for you. You may have noticed on your strolls through your favorite shops that cactuses are popping up everywhere. On shirts, bags, home decor, you name it. What’s my point you might ask? Simple. You need more of that prickly, green desert plant in your life. Succulents are plantastic. In the spirit of honesty, all cacti are succulents; however, not all succulents are cacti. But who cares when they are all so cute, green, and spiky. Now is the perfect time to jump on this fad with this simple project. Say “goodbye” to those dated old flower pens of your mom, and say “hello” to the trendy splendor of the Cactus Pen.
• Silhouette Portrait®
• Cutting mat
• Green cardstock
• Paper Succulents and Cactus Bundle
• Pen with a lid (not a click pen)
• Washi tape or floral tape
• Small decorative nails (I found small copper ones used for weather-stripping at my local hardware store)
• Glue gun
Step One: Open Design in Silhouette Studio®
For this project, I chose a cactus bundle from the Design Store, which included nine different succulent/cactus designs. These can also be purchased individually if you feel you only need one variety of cactus. Look for designs that stack up in layers (like a cabbage). Just search “Cactus” and look for 3D cut files. You can recognize them by the little cube icon in the lower left-hand corner.
1. Open your chosen succulent/cactus design in Silhouette Studio®.
2. Right click and select Ungroup.
3. Delete the brown shape that would make the box.
A 3-inch cactus seemed like the perfect size for my pen topper. Depending on your personal style, you can make it smaller or larger. (Or both. Be a crazy cactus lady.)
To reduce the size of the design:
1. Select all of the remaining shapes at once so they scale down together. To do that, just click and drag the mouse over your desired shapes; then click and hold the corner scale square to adjust the size.
2. Resize the design using the grid lines so that the largest shape measures approximately 3 in. x 3 in.
At this point, you might realize you have enough room to cut another cactus. Simply repeat the steps above and arrange the pieces as needed to fit on the paper.
Step Two: Cut Design
1. Open the Send panel and select the cut settings to your chosen media (cardstock, in this case).
2. Check your blade setting.
Tip: Do a test cut to be sure your design comes out clean. There is a good tutorial that explains all you need to know about test cuts here. This is an important step because you want to be sure the paper has been cut all the way through so you don’t pull off any leaves when you remove them from the mat. (They can be prickly to handle.)
3. Click Send to Silhouette.
Step Three: Prepare Pen
While your pieces are cutting, you can get started prepping your pen. (Take your time to be sure your pen will be on point.)
1. VERY CAREFULLY take a razor-sharp knife or pliers to the top plug of your pen and pop it off.
2. Wrap washi tape or floral tape around the body of the pen to the very top.
Step Four: Assemble Pens
It’s all coming together now.
1. Remove your cut shapes from the cutting mat.
2. Add dimension to your succulent/cactus by curling or bending the leaves before assembly.
3. Next, gently poke your decorative nail through the center of the smallest piece. Continue to layer all of the pieces onto the nail from smallest to largest.
Optional: Add small drops of glue in between each set of leaves to keep the pieces from spinning. (Soon your friends will be green with envy.)
4. Fill the open top of the pen with hot glue.
5. Immediately insert the nail that is stuck through your assembled succulent/cactus into the glue and hold it there until the glue dries.
Step Five: Display on Your Desk Proudly
Looking sharp! It’s about time to breathe new life into pen holders and reception desks everywhere. Remember, there is no such thing as having too many pens.
Where will you display your new faux-cactus pen garden?