Painted Rock Cactus Garden Craft

In today’s art project, I’m going to show you how to create an easy indoor painted rock cactus garden!  These cactus never need water or sunshine and will look great inside or outside. Painting rocks is a fun easy craft for any time of year.  Most of us easily have the supplies on hand and this art project can be adapted to the art supplies you have on hand.

Painted Rock Cactus

Younger kids will like this easier painted rock monsters craft!

Supplies Needed for This Painted Rock Cactus Art Project:

  • Rocks (preferably smooth large rocks – like beach pebble)
    • A few larger rocks and a few smaller rocks to use as cactus flowers
  • Flowerpot (any kind will do or even a bowl if you do not have a flowerpot)
  • Rice (or anything to fill your pot and stand the rocks in – you can use beans too)
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • White Paint Pen (you can also use a small brush and white paint for details)
  • Palette for mixing paint
  • Tape
  • Paper Plate (not pictured)
  • Glue Gun or Craft Glue (not pictured)

Painting The Cactus

Using the acrylic paint, mix several different shades of green by mixing blue & yellow, and paint your large rocks.  You can use a paper plate to avoid messy fingers.  Just paint the rocks on the plate on one side, allow them to dry, and then paint the other side (*helpful tip:  You can store your unused paint in the refrigerator to slow the drying time and save it while the rocks dry between coats).

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You may have to coat them several times for a nice smooth color.  Rocks are porous and will absorb a bit of the paint and the color appeared to dry a bit darker on the initial layer of paint.  Adjust the colors to your liking and coat each rock until you have nice even coverage.

Once you’ve painted the large green rocks, paint the smaller rocks in shades of pink or red.  The smaller rocks will be attached later for the cactus flowers.

Prickly Painting!

Once the rocks have completely dried, it’s time to add the cactus details.  Using the paint pen, or a small brush and white paint, add the cactus needle and spine details.  Here are some examples of cactus needles to inspire you.

Once you’re finished adding the details to your cactus and flowers, allow them to dry completely.  After the paint is thoroughly dry, use a glue gun or craft glue to attach the flowers to the cactus.

Time to Plant the Cactus!

If you are using a flowerpot, use tape to cover the hole so the rice does not fall through.  Fill your container or flower pot with rice (or beans).

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Arrange your cactus in your “garden”!

If you don’t have rice on hand, use beans!  Here’s our cactus planted in black-eyed peas.

You might also like our pretty pebble magnets with alcohol inks.

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About the author

Crystal has worked in the arts and taught drawing and painting for over 25 years in Los Angeles. She loves creating art, gardening, planning fun art projects, and enjoying creative adventures with her family. Find out more at

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