Make a Cactus Using the Acorn Pattern!

Awe, a soft cactus! They look great tossed on the couch, floor or a bed, set in a pot and placed on a table or shelf, etc.

These are easily made with burlap/canvas or corduroy for a rustic feel, cotton for a classic look or minky for a fun plush and huggable cactus. (I am making more in these fabrics soon so you can see how they look…just waiting for the fabrics to arrive) This is a pattern hack using Rustic Horseshoe’s Acorn Accent Pillow sewing pattern.


You Will Need:

  • – Acorn Accent Pillow Sewing Pattern and Tutorial
  • – Fabric requirements listed for the “acorn top” to make the cactus
  • – Fabric scraps to make flowers (I used crepe back satin) or purchase some fake flowers  
  • Felt balls for flower centers (I used 2cm size) *or use buttons, beads, etc
  • – Ecru color embroidery floss (2-3 skeins) *for cactus needles
  • – Up to ~12 oz fiber filling (depending on cactus size and how firm you stuff it)

Step 1: Prepare the pattern template.  You will be using the acorn “Top” pattern template in the size you’d like to make. Print two of the same template. Place the duplicate templates on top of each other so that there is a point at each end. The hacked template will now look similar to a football shape. Tape them together and trim away the corners of the straight edge that protrude over the side.

Step 2: Follow the cut instructions on the pattern template and cut the panels for the cactus from fabric. (if using burlap, follow the instructions in the Acorn Accent Pillow sewing pattern to prepare the fabric before sewing together).

Step 3: Follow “How to Make the Nut Step 1” in the tutorial.

Step 4: Follow “How to Make the Nut Step 3” in the tutorial.

Step 5: Follow “How to Make the Nut Steps 4 & 5” in the tutorial. (there aren’t notches on the acorn top templates to indicate where to leave open for turning since it is turned through the nut portion, be sure to leave a space open for turning when sewing the two prepared halves together)

Step 6: Stuff the cactus and ladder stitch the opening closed.

Step 7: Add ‘thorns’.  I added them along the seams of each panel. There are various methods you could use to add this accent. I did a simple ‘x’ using embroidery floss. I used a curved embroidery needle and doubled the embroidery floss, using two full ‘strands’ for a thicker look.

Start at one bottom point of the ‘x’ and stitch over the top of the fabric to the opposite top point of the ‘x’.  Then stitch under the fabric to the other top point of the ‘x’. Then stitch over the top of the fabric to the opposite bottom point of the ‘x’.

Continue making more x’s using the same thread by running the thread under the fabric to the bottom point of the next ‘x’ and repeat the above steps. I tied the thread off at the top of the cactus with a knot then pulled the tail of the thread through the fabric pulling it through at a location away from the knot then trimming flush with the fabric (effectively securing the tail of the thread inside the cactus). You can later cover these knots with the flowers.

Make Flowers (or use fake flowers)  You can make flowers from fabric using this method or any other method you’d like that gives the look you want.  There are numerous tutorials online that can be found through Pinterest. A wooden flower would also look awesome!

Step 1: Cut 5-6 scalloped edge circles from crepe back satin fabric. I made 2 circles ~3″ diameter, 2 circles ~2″ diameter and 1 circle ~1″ diameter. I cut them all freehand so each is unique. 

Step 2: Carefully use a candle or lighter to seal and curl the edges. Do not touch the flame directly on the fabric, just close enough for the heat to work. Only use this method with synthetic fabrics that heat will seal and not just burn. Apply a little heat to the center to help further curl.  Use caution!

Step 3: Stack the circles largest to smallest and run a stitch through the center to connect them. Leave the thread attached and add the wool ball to the center. Run the needle and thread through the fabric and the ball to attach the ball and pull the fabric up around the ball.

You can see the thread works its way around the ball, you won’t see these threads when finished. Those little balls of thread are the knots at the top of the cactus where I tied off the thread for the x’s. 

Step 4: Stitch or glue the flower(s) in place.  I made three flowers and clustered them at the top.

Now you’re ready to decorate with your cactus! Another fun hack to the acorn pattern is a plush pumpkin