Paint This Cactus Garden for a Rockin' Good Time

Let's face it: not all of us have been blessed with green thumbs. But when you can create your own garden with some rocks and a few coats of paint, who needs the real deal? These arrangements are crazy cute, and (bonus!) won't prick you.

Cactus Rock Garden

Level: Easy

What You Need

  • Clean, dry rocks
  • Medium flat paint brushes
  • White or gray paint (for primer)
  • Green paint in different shades
  • Acrylic paint pens in greens and white (we used Posca pens )
  • 2x1" piece of felt
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Decorative pot, bowl or other container
  • Small rocks or sand
  • Wax paper (to protect your work surface)


1. Prime the Rocks

First, gather your rocks (whether you pick 'em up off the ground, buy them at a craft store or even find them at a landscaping supplier). Make sure they're clean and dry before you begin crafting.

Use a brush to paint the rocks with white or gray primer. This will ensure your final color is even on all sides and not influenced by the rock's natural hues. Place them on the wax paper and let them dry before moving on.

2. Paint 'Em Green

Once the primer is dry, paint the rocks green. Allow them to dry completely, then add a second layer of the same green. You want these rocks to be bold and beautiful, with no primer showing through.

3. Add the Details

When you're satisfied with the color of your rocks, use paint pens to add the cactus details. Add stripes, spots, little geometrical designs — anything! These don't have to be super realistic; you've just gotta give them some texture and pattern for that fun cactus look. Mix it up with different colors and designs to create an interesting composition.

4. Top It Off

The cutest cacti have a little flower on top — something we definitely don't want to neglect. To make a blossom, cut a 2x1" strip of felt. Use scissors to cut vertical slits across the 2" side. Roll it up and add a dab of hot glue on the bottom (opposite of the fringe) to secure it together. Once it's dry, add another dab of glue to the bottom of your blossom and stick it to the top of a rock.

5. Make Your Arrangement

Choose your fave decorative pot or bowl and fill it with sand or tiny rocks. Place your painted rocks inside, arranging them until they look just right. And there you have it — a cactus you can't kill!

You definitely don't have to confine these cuties to pots and bowls! Stone cacti also look adorable in a hanging planter or terrarium.

Photos by Kimberly Stoney.

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Paint This Cactus Garden for a Rockin' Good Time