How to Make Your Own DIY Christmas Cactus Tree
We were at Home Depot standing in line to buy a fake traditional Christmas tree when my husband said, “I’m surprised you want a regular tree, I thought you’d want something weird.” After pretending to be offended, I realized he was right and we didn’t buy the tree after all. Instead we made our own Christmas Cactus and you can too!
What You Need
PVC pipe (black, 3-inch diameter):
2 - 5-foot pipes
2 - 45-degree elbows
2 - Wyes
1 toilet flange (make sure it fits a 3-inch PVC pipe inside)
Something to use as the base to keep the tree from tipping over (you can use a large piece of flat wood but we used a large planter filled with rocks)
~24 black screws to keep garland in place as well as attach toilet flange to a wood platform (if you choose this route).
Total cost of ~$60-$70 (purchased in 2020).
10 strands of 9ft garland (have little loops at the end). $4.99 each x 10 = ~$50 (purchased in 2020).
Saw (we used a table saw)
1. Cut the PVC pipe into pieces. As you can see in this diagram, we cut the following sizes: 2.5 ft, 2.25 ft, 1.5 ft, 1.0 ft (x3), and 0.5 ft. I used a table saw but a regular saw would work as well. The ends don’t need to look pretty.
2. Prepare the base. You can either attached the toilet flange to a large flat piece of wood or if you have a large enough planter like we did, you can fill it with rocks to keep the tree in place.
3. Once the base is secured, build the cactus shape! Make adjustments as needed (e.g. ours was originally too tall for our window). We did not glue our PVC pipe together.
4. The garland we bought had small loops on each end which were very handy. I used an electric drill to sink a screw about 3/4 of the way into the PVC pipe. Then I’d hook the garland, wrap it semi-tightly around the pipe so that you couldn’t see much of it underneath and then loop the end of the strand on another screw. If your garland doesn’t come with loops, you can either tie your own, use a strong adhesive like Gorilla Glue, or perhaps wrap the ends around a screw a few times to secure the garland to the pipes. Whenever I finished a strand, I’d ‘fluff’ it up. The middle section of the cactus was the most complicated but I was able to use additional screws to wind the garland around the way I liked without too much trouble.
5. Decorate! I’ve seen some really pretty boho-styled cactus trees but we opted for traditional Christmas ornaments, garlands and a Santa hat topper.
For storage, you can take it apart, or remove just the side arms if you’re happy to rebuild the following year. Luckily we found it a happy home in our furnace room fully intact (we even left the lights on).
Not including the lights/decorations, this unique DIY Christmas Cactus Tree cost ~$120. I’m so happy we went with something ‘weird’ and can show our kids that you don’t have to do things the same as everyone else.
Lastly, expect a lot of people slowing down outside your house!
About the Author
My name is Michelle Alexander and I'm a Canadian artist with a sweet tooth. I started MishiMoooDesigns in 2020 and specialize in combining my love for junk food with everyday objects in unusual and often 'punny' ways. If this sounds interesting to you, I'd love for you to check out my Gallery and/or follow me on Instagram @MishiMoooDesigns.
I'm proud to be included in Feedspot's Top 30 Digital Art Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2021.