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NEW! Sweet Sweater Succulents!

well... i said i'd be back if the muse strikes again... and those gals are partyin' around here!!!

after my last (surprise!) post, i tucked those ping pong paddle cacti into a bucket in my office - 
because i am vowing NOT to decorate with pumpkins for fall until it FEELS like fall here.
(it's in the triple digits where i live. decidedly still summer weather.) 
and apparently, those lil' cacti have seeped into my brain - because I HAD ANOTHER IDEA. 
same story as before: 
flash of creative energy. trip to the thrift store. making a mess in my studio. and it worked!

the best thing about this one? it makes use of something i've done before:
i took my Original Sweet Sweater Pumpkin tutorial... and made a CACTUS!
of course, i just HAD to share it with you!

<<< click 'continue reading' for my new 'Sweet Sweater Succulents' tutorial! 
aren't they cuuuuuuute?!! and SO easy!

there are SO many darling cacti out there in Craftland,
made via many methods using fabric, sweaters, yarn, and more.
[ the idea isn't an original - this is just a new way to use my existing
original sweet sweater pumpkin tutorial to make something different! ]

Sweet Sweater Succulent Tutorial


long-sleeved sweaters (adult size) in green tones
[ribbed sweaters work best for the 'cactus' texture effect +
natural fibers with tightly knit textures - no open crochet stitches]

twine or string in brown or green tones
sharp scissors
LOTS of heavy rubber bands (2 per pumpkin)
polyfill stuffing

small faux flower blossoms
regular toothpicks
hot glue gun OR Tacky glue
*Cut the arms of a sweater to create the cylinders - longer sections create more elongated/tall cactus shapes, and shorter sections for smaller, rounder cactus.

*Turn the cut pieces inside out, and set aside.

*Take the twine or yarn, and wrap it eight to ten times around your elbow & thumb to make big loops.

*When done, cut it in half at the top, where you are holding the twine with your thumb, so that you have one big long hank. It should be approximately 15 inches long. Set aside. Make one hank of twine for EACH cactus.

Step by Step

1. Place one hank of twine inside of one cut sweater piece. Let about an inch poke out on the LARGE end of the sweater arm - the rest of the twine will hang out the narrow end.

2. Fold that inch of twine over the edge of the sweater, then gather the end up and fasten it REALLY tightly with a rubber band.

3. Flip the whole thing right-side out, using the hank of twine to help.
4. Stuff the open end with polyfill. Remember that lots of stuffing will make your cactus rounder, and less stuffing will result in a flatter, 'squashed' look. Fill it as full as you can.

5. Separate the hank of twine into eight to ten single strands. Spread these out equidistantly around the rounded top. Evenly distribute the strands as you stretch them to the other end of the form, tucking them into the ribbed areas of the sweater weave as you go - this will give you a more realistic texture in the finished cactus.

6Grasp the strands and the bottom edge of the sweater, twist them together, and wrap a rubber band around them several times - tightly.
7. Separate the strings into strands again, and then begin gently pulling each separate strand in a clockwise pattern. You'll have to pull each one twice or more to create enough tension to pouf out the sweater and form the raised ribs of the cactus. (If you find that the strands don't stay when you pull them, then tighten up the rubber band so it has enough tension to hold the strands.)

As you go, pull the sweater fabric out a bit at the top & bottom edges, so that the ribs/ridges are more defined. Once the ridges are even, tie the strands together around the stem in pairs, two at a time, to hold them in place. A simple knot is enough to keep the strands from slipping in the future. 

8Then tie the twine strands together in two knots - one on each side of the extra sweater fabric - right up tight next to the rubber band, covering it. Cut off long ends of twine.

9Cut off the extra sweater fabric at the top, leaving about an inch. [ This is where we vary my original sweater pumpkin tutorial, as these cacti have no stems ]
10Fold that inch over and down onto the top of the cactus, further covering the rubber band and twine knots. Use a hot glue gun OR Tacky glue to glue the edges of the sweater fabric in place. 

11. Pull one small bloom off of a faux flower bunch, or lei, or garland, and insert a toothpick into the base of the bloom (where the stem was). Push the toothpick into the tiny hole that is in the center of the sweater fabric you just folded and glued on the top of the cacti. Glue in place if you wish.
12. Poke toothpicks into the raised 'ribs' of the cacti in a regularly-spaced pattern. On smaller cacti, push them in further for a smaller appearance - keep them longer for larger cacti.

13. For a kid-safe version, forget the toothpicks. 

Use a Sharpie marker to draw sweet or funny little faces and 'x' marks for spines on the sweater surface!
i displayed these by filling containers with a scrap of burlap fabric, then sitting the cacti on top of it. 
(extra toothpicks can be pushed through the base of the cactus and into the burlap to give the cactus stability.)

  i hope you enjoy these easy, fun, whimsical no-care houseplants!!!

shared online:

funky junk interiors | diy salvaged junk projects #493

thank you for featuring my project, Miss Donna!
diy salvaged junk projects #494


  1. Your sweater succulents are ADORABLE! Pinned

    1. thank you so much for visiting, pinning, and leaving such a kind comment, Marie!

  2. Awwwwwwwww Deb they're tooooo cute. Love the addition of the little flower on the top and the toothpick spikes.

    1. thank you so much! honestly, i felt kinda' guilty stabbing them with toothpicks.... but the end effect is worth the pain, i guess!!! LOL

  3. Adorable! I want to make some with "spines" made of knotted embroidery floss or maybe dental floss, then stiffening it to resemble the real spiny one I have. Great idea!

    1. oh Kathy i LOVE your brilliant idea!!! perfect way to get the effect without any sharp parts. let me know if it works - and thank you so much for taking time to visit and comment <3