Torn Paper Cactus Art Project

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This art project highlights one of the most popular plants around today, the cactus! With its many varieties and unique shapes it’s ideal for a fun and creative art project to do with kids! Let’s work those fine motor muscles as we rip up some paper and use it to create cactus friends bursting with personality in this Torn Paper Cactus Art Project!

Fine Motor Skills

I love making torn paper art projects with my Kindergarten and PreK students. In the past, we’ve made seasonal artwork such as pumpkins and holiday trees as well as many animal projects including owls, penguins, and rabbits. The process of ripping the paper is engaging and fun! It’s great to add movement and action to the art-making process. I recommend ripping larger pieces of paper for younger students while older students can rip the pieces smaller. To encourage students to cover up the entire area I often ask them to be detectives when they are finished by searching and finding the areas they missed and covering those spots in as well. It’s a nice way to introduce self-assessment and critique to our youngest artists. 

Cactus Friends Paper Craft for Kids

Cactus Facts for Kids

  1. A cactus is a succulent.
  2. A cactus stores water in its stems, roots, and leaves.
  3. A cactus can live without water for one year!
  4. A cactus likes hot weather and dry, rocky soil.
  5. Be careful! A cactus has sharp spines! 

Materials for Torn Paper Cactus Friends Art Project:

  • Construction paper- My favorite is Tru-Ray. I love the vibrant colors.
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Sharpie
  • Tissue paper
Materials for Cactus Craft for Kids

Step by Step Directions for Making Your Own Torn Paper Cactus Art Project:

Sketch it!

Draw the cactus. Look at a variety of different types of cacti and decide which one you would like to make. Combining long ovals and some circular shapes will get you started. 

Step 1-Add outline for cactus craft

Rip it!

Rip up a variety of green colored construction paper. You may wish to add green tints (light greens) and shades (dark greens) as well. Glue the pieces onto the cactus. Be sure to cover the entire plant.

Step 2-Add torn paper to make cactus

*Teacher Tip: Ripping paper for little hands can be very challenging. I’ve found that cutting the paper into strips and cutting slits down the edge is helpful. The slits start the tear and make ripping easier. 

Cut it!

Use construction paper to cut out details and bring your cactus to life! Remember to make the eyes and the mouth. Add a bow, hat, or other details. Use a black sharpie to draw the pupils and nose as well as the spines on the cactus. Use a small piece of pink tissue paper to add a flower on your cactus if you wish. 

Step 3-Add details to cactus art project

Pot it! 

Use cardboard to cut out a pot for the cactus. Use a lightweight cardboard or cereal box if cutting regular cardboard is challenging. Glue the pot to the bottom of the cactus. Decorate the pot with construction paper. Create a fun pattern if you wish.

Step 4-Add facial features and decorations to cactus craft

Talk About Art

  1. Name your cactus friend.
  2. Identify all of the colors in your artwork.
  3. What was the most challenging part of this art project?
  4. How would you best take care of a real cactus?
  5. Why should you not touch a cactus? 
Torn Paper Cactus Friends Easy Art Project for Kids

Art and Literacy

The book Cactus and Flower by Sarah Williamson is a nice literary companion to this art activity. The book highlights friendship, love, and loss. Through vibrant colors and illustrations the reader travels to the desert to meet Cactus, Flower, and animal friends as well.

Torn Paper Cactus Craft and Fine Motor Activity for Kids

Thanks for making art with me today! I can’t wait to see all of your creative cactus friends! Be sure to post your artwork on Instagram and tag @fantasticfunandlearning and @youngschoolartwithmr.g!


Learn more about Vin here on his author bio page. Follow along with him on Facebook at Young School Art with Mr. Giannetto and on Instagram @youngschoolartwithmr.g for art project ideas.


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