We just went for a wonderful long weekend to Barcelona, Spain. As it is the hometown of that wonderful women fashion brand, Desigual, I saw ads for it everywhere. And of course, saw the funky dresses, fashion bags and women shoes with its signature design style everywhere on the street.
Besides this fun fashion brand, I also saw exceptionally beautiful art and fun crafts everywhere. The display of creativity ranged from opera-singing street musicians, gothic-to-Gaudi cathedrals, to craft communities displaying their wares at markets.
As a souvenir of my trip (and to get your mind off that hurricane for a few hours), I thought to cheer you all up with a sunny craft project inspired by my trip: DIY cheery & colorful cactus jewelry displays.
Kuska, an artist collective in Barcelona showed a 100 different takes on the single concept of fabric cacti as original jewelry displays. (btw These jewelry displays could equally be called pin cushions.) They are simple to make and given their whimsical choices of fabrics and embellishments, they are delightful to look at. Here are 20 different jewelry displays aka pin-cushions.
Pins are symbolic of cactus needles and so the metaphor works well using the cacti as pin cushion / sewing tools. However, my personal creativity set in when I saw them becoming earring stands, bracelet holders and necklace displays. So cool! Let’s go make some.
Here’s my 1,2,3 How-to Make a Cactus
Pin Cushion / Jewelry Display Tutorial
1. Sign up for our free newsletter (top right of this page) to obtain our two free templates for both cacti designs shown above. Or sketch the cactus shape you wish to design on a piece of paper. Make a couple of sketches in fact, for better ideas and design details. Consider what you will want to use this decorative cactus for and where it will ‘live’. That will give you some sense of size as well.
(UPDATE: I have also made the cactus sewing pattern available for free HERE for my existing readers who already have signed up for the newsletter.
2. Go through your remnant stash and find a handful of fun striped, polka dot or other fabrics you’ll like to work with, that will look good as a grouping and that matches the color scheme of where the pin cushion will ‘live’ once it is brought into existence.
3. Using this simple cactus as example, what you will need to make it is two, three or four oblong shapes of somewhat different size and shapes, cut twice (one part is the front, the other the back of the cactus). Hand-stitch the two parts together, leaving the seams unfinished on the outside of the cactus.
Lightly fill each part with some poly fill, recycled fabric or other soft filler. Don’t overstuff at this stage, as you are just shaping.
Compose your cactus: pin one part of the cactus onto the other. Place them side by side, or give the smaller oblong shape a bend and make it stick out sidewise out of the biggest shape. When you like the overall cactus shape, add additional stuffing as needed and give some slight stitches here and there to enforce the shape you are looking for. If your cactus does not want to stand up properly, you might want to include a wooden skewer or little garden stick, as needed.
Close all seams and attach the cactus to a base.
Stick it in a pot with real sand, or attach it to a sand-filled fabric bag with is to represent the soil in your pot. Use real terra cotta pots.
Embellish with butterflies, flowers or birds (although birds don’t really sit in cacti).
When you are bored with the traditional cactus shape, consider adding an Aloe vera plant to your cacti assortment. If you make some firm and spikey leaves in the center, you could use these leaves to show off your ring collection while the other long and flowing leaves could hold your entire earring collection.
Another cacti shape is this 6-sided fat cactus topped with a felt flower.
Fun and fabulous!