As an east coast child, my Christmases were filled with mounds of snow, evergreen trees and layers of clothing to stay warm. Two years ago I moved to California, and have been quickly adapting to the warmer lifestyle. For this DIY I adapted all of my Christmas staples into something new — evergreen tree, say hello to a paper maché Christmas cactus. Snow, let’s try something not as cold — colorful confetti for me, please :) Layers and layers of clothes — I’ll always take matching striped PJs and no shoes. Anyone can achieve this warmer version of Christmas by following the tutorial below :) Happy Holidays, B+C family!

DIY Christmas Cactus


DIY Christmas Cactus Items


1. Using the PVC connectors, build the base of the cactus shape — follow the image below for more details.

2. Crumble up newsprint and tape to the PVC pipes to give your cactus some meat on its bones.

3. Mix three parts glue to one part water in a large bowl. Rip up newsprint in long strips and dip in the glue mixture. Cover the cactus in a layer of newsprint. Once dry, add another layer of newsprint.

4. Spray paint your cactus green and use a dark green paint to create cactus spikes.


Start with your three-foot PVC pipe, then add a T piece, followed by the six-inch piece, another T piece and lastly a one-foot piece. Use two one-foot pieces and the elbow piece to create the cactus arms off of the T connectors.


Wanna know a secret? We headed to the free newspaper bins on Powell street to get all the newsprint we needed for this project. Once you have collected a couple stacks of paper, crumble them up and tape ’em to the PVC pipe to give your cactus some meaty arms.


Real-life crafting. This is me every day — shoes off, PJs on and hands in glue. For your paper maché mixture, mix three parts glue to one part water. Rip your newspaper into long strips and dip them into your gluey mixture — get ready to get messy :)


Place your PVC cactus onto the paper towel holder to get it to stand upright. Then wrap the gluey strips around the whole entire cactus. The gluey mixture will drip onto the ground, so place a tarp underneath your work area ;)


Once your first layer is dry, go and add another layer of paper.


Spray your cactus a bright lime green — this will take about a whole can of spray paint, so plan accordingly.


Place the paper towel holder with your cactus on top into your planter and fill with sand.

DIY Christmas Cactus

Use darker green paint to add some spikes to your Christmas cactus.

DIY Christmas Cactus

Look at this QT!

DIY Christmas Cactus

Add some colorful lights and this tree is ready for the holidays!

DIY Christmas Cactus

You’ll never believe it, but a puppy was under this tree!

DIY Christmas Cactus


Show us your holiday projects by tagging us on Instagram + using the hashtag #iamcreative!

DIY Production and Styling: Kelly Bryden
Photography: Brittany Griffin

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.