Sonora Saguaro Cactus

Designed in 2021 and Released in 2022

Being and Arizona native, I never really considered how special the Saguaro is until I was older. I grew up in the mountains, pine trees and snow of Northern Arizona…but often visited my grandmother in the southern part of the state…in the Sonoran Desert. 

This Arizona icon is only found in the Sonoran Desert and can tower over 40 feet tall. This smaller softer version is excellent for decorating a couch, shelf or room. Tuck a pin cushion or pillow in a gift basket for a friend. Decorate one for Christmas! There is more creativity than you may think that can go into this adorable Saguaro. 

I first designed the Saguaro as a piece for a photo prop for my Blissful Bovine and Llofty Llama designs. I initially kept it as a straight cylinder shape so it could easily be filled with only a dowel and a pool noodle wrapped in batting…with just a a little fiber filling at the top to shape it out. I revisited it, making it with a much larger circumference and a nice taper…more like the real Saguaros. 

Some fun options include making a cavity, a peek-a-boo owl for the cavity, two styles of flowers and a cat scratcher pot. However, if you plan to make an epic tall Saguaro…may I suggest you pack your patience and a whole lot of filler!

There are TWO SEPARATE patterns between the three versions. The Pin Cushion is its own separate pattern. The arms are different than the pillow and floor versions and things just get confusing when I try to pack too much into one pattern.

The Accent Pillow and Floor Décor options are combined into one pattern. The process to make sew is the very same with the major difference being how they are stuffed…especially the taller you make the floor version.


Full Size Templates

Two Different Patterns

Pin Cushion (separate pattern)

Accent Pillow (pattern combined with floor option)

Floor Décor (pattern combined with pillow option)

Make the floor décor option 3 feet to 6+feet tall

Cavity for Floor Décor

Peek-A-Boo Owl for Cavity

Two Flower Styles (for pillow & floor options)

Special Stuffing Method for Floor Option

How to Make a Cat Scratcher Pot for Floor Option

Photos Accompany Each Step

I made a cute little Saguaro themed printable based on my observations of the impressive Saguaro over the years! Print it, pop it in a 5 x 7 frame and bam…it makes a great companion to your Saguaro! 

If you’ve ever seen a variety of Saguaros, you have probably noticed how lumpy and generally beat up they look. They weather a lot and they are refuge for several critters…and stand for up to 200 years. Some look so heavy with arms and so narrow and gnawed at the bottom, it leaves you amazed that it still stands strong. The way in which they grow arms in such a unique way really can give individual personality to each one.

Skill Level - Confident Beginner with Intermediate Options

Skills and Techniques Used

  • Fundamental Sewing Basics
  • Sewing Tight Curves
  • Clipping Curved Seams
  • Hand Sewing (to close seams & attach arms)
  • Stuffing Quite Firmly
  • Using a center support inside (floor option only)

Photo Gallery

Basic Materials and Tools Needed

  • PIN CUSHION – Less than a fat quarter quality quilting cotton (alternative fabrics: minky, backed burlap, light upholstery, felt, etc) 
  • PILLOW – ~2/3 yard minky (alternative fabrics: quality cotton, light upholstery, fleece, etc)
  • FLOOR – 1-3 yards upholstery fabric (alternative fabrics: backed minky, backed burlap, etc)
  • PIN CUSHION – ~3 oz fiber filling
  • PILLOW – ~20 oz fiber filling
  • FLOOR – 2+ pounds weighted poly-pellets, 3-4 pounds fiber filling and ~50+ liters polystyrene bean bag filler (plus batting, optional)
  • Faux flowers
  • Pot (~3″ diam for pin cushion, 8-10″ diam for floor)
  • Notions: scissors, thread, sewing machine

Actual fabric and filling needs will vary depending on the height of your floor cactus.

Pattern Testers Sonora Saguaro Gallery

Wow, my pattern testers are amazing! My favorite part of the testing process is seeing the creativity of each tester as they curate the fabrics for their cactus and how they make it their own.  A huge thank you to each one of them!

Pattern testers used a variety of fabrics, including: minky, cotton, fleece, terry cloth, felt, and corduroy.

They used a variety of pots from handmade fabric pots, standard pots, hand painted pots, mugs and an heirloom tea cup.

Some testers made multiple cacti and tried different options. One tester reduced the size of the pin cushion by 50% and made an ornament. Another took the instructions for the cavity from the pillow/floor version…shrunk it down and made a cavity in the pin cushion. 

They were adorned with silk flowers, fringe trim, pompom trim, crocheted flowers, blanket stitching, machine embroidery, flower buttons, cute faces, beads and pompom owls.

Some filled the extra space in the pot with decorative pebbles and flowers.

Pattern testers’ skill level ranged from beginner to advanced/professional.

Have fun, get creative and you’ll be surprised what you can do with a  basic Saguaro! I’d love to see your finished Saguaro! You can share your makes in my Facebook Group or even email them to me.


Why Make a Saguaro?

Excellent for gift giving to pretty much anyone

Everyone should cuddle a cactus

Great in gift baskets

You will tap into your own creativity when you make it

Sewing and crafting are therapeutic

Great décor in any room

Wonderful addition to your sewing table

Sell finished cacti at handmade markets

Quick to make…well, not the floor version

Add a face and you have a unique ‘damnit doll’…a prick you can throw at anyone

Make a “Saguaro Sisters” club and give one to all your friends!

It is difficult to accurately describe the skill level needed for each project as the skill level itself can be quite subjective.  Each traditional skill level has a wide spectrum of ability associated with it.  I have tried to assign a general skill level to each pattern, however, please review specific techniques used in the pattern to determine if it is a good fit for you to try.  Keep in mind I write my tutorials in bite-sized easy to follow steps, each accompanied with photos. 

I aim to have each pattern attainable for a confident beginner and some have variations that may be more advanced, but they are optional.  You’ll be provided with all the instructions, tips and material list to create a plush toy just like those pictured in the tutorial…I keep nothing secret.  Each pattern and tutorial provides the blueprint for you to make it just like I have.  An easy to make pattern doesn’t have to be simplistic looking…it can look amazing!