Activity | Hand Print Cactus | Desert Botanical Garden


Cactus can take on many shapes and sizes. Some are small some are humongous. Cactus can have many large spines or tiny spines that are difficult to see. Stems of cactus vary quite a bit, some are smooth, others are ‘hairy’ and a few are wrinkly or crested. One common trait of all cactus is that they are well adapted to not only survive but thrive in the Sonoran Desert. Some common cactus you might see around your neighborhood include saguaros, prickly pear and cholla. Throughout the year, cactus produce fruit that can be many different colors, such as red, purple and yellow. Fruit shape also varies from round, spiny to long, and waxy.

Try this fun art activity with children of all ages. Make a hand print cactus with fruit. What you will need for this art project is, paper, paper plate or brush, green paint, glue stick, scissors, markers, pencil, tissue paper and/or pompoms.


1. Lightly coat hand with green paint. You can use a brush or sponge.

2. Firmly press hand on white or green paper.



3. Now, loosely trace around the handprint with a pencil.

4. After the paint has dried, cut out the handprint.

5. Draw a pot of your choice and cut it out.

6. Glue the handprint to the back of your pot. (Make sure the handprint has completely dried.)

7. Now you can decorate your handprint cactus with a marker, tissue paper and/or pompoms to represent the fruit that a cactus produces.

8. Use markers to add spines to your cactus.

After you create your handprint cactus, take a stroll outside and bring a notebook with you. You are going to act like a botanist. Look high and low to find as many saguaros, prickly pear or cholla cactus as you can. In your notebook write down its location and draw the cactus. Observe the cactus and add arms or flowers to it. What do you see around it? Are there other plants nearby? Are there holes in it? Do you see any animals in it or around it?


Share your creation with the Garden
on social media @DBGPHX


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