Cactus Ornament

This homemade ornament is rustic and cute.  As a bonus, it is also easy to make!  The instructions include a recipe for cinnamon dough, but you can make it with any salt dough recipe or polymer clay.

You will need:

1/2 cup of cinnamon 

3/4 cup of flour

1/4 cup of salt

1 Tbs. cream of tartar

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 cup of boiling water, divided         


A rolling pin and two pencils

Twine or ribbon (For hanging)


Step 1.  Make the dough.

Mix the cinnamon, flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a bowl. 

Pour the oil into the water and pour about half of the oil & water mixture into the flour mixture. Stir and check the texture.

Salt dough is funny.  Sometimes it will be dry and sometimes it will be wet even though you follow same recipe.  Never add all the water at once.  Start with half and then add more until you get the desired texture.  If you make the dough too soft, you can add a bit more flour.  Once you think the texture is right, knead the dough for a minute or two.  Now you are ready to make an ornament!


Step 2.  Make three cylinders from the cinnamon dough.

Roll out a piece of dough about four inches long.  Roll out two pieces of dough about 1 1/2 inches long.


Step 3.  Join the pieces.

Dip your finger in water and wet the ends of the small pieces.  Attach them to the large piece and bend them into the desired shape.


Step 4.  Flatten the cactus.

Place a pencil on either side of the cactus.  Roll the rolling pin over them.  This will evenly flatten the cactus.  If you like, give the cactus a few final tweaks with your fingers.


More salt dough recipes and ideas


Step 5.  Punch a hole in the cactus and let it dry.

Use one of the pencils to punch a hole in the top of the cactus.  Let the cactus sit for several days while it drys or, to dry it faster, bake it at 200 degrees for 4-6 hours.


Step 6.  Finish the cactus.

When the cactus is dry, add a loop of twine and hang the ornament on the tree.


Saguaro cactii are native to the Sonoran desert.  They grow very slowly.  The large, many armed ones are usually over 100 years old!  Saguaros can live for 200 years and reach 60 feet in height.  Although they are quite large, most of their roots are only a few inches deep.  The roots soak in water as rapidly as possible when it rains and then the cactus stores the water to use during the long dry seasons.


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