Picture of Cable Tie Cacti
This is from a series of work I did several years ago in Los Angeles. Unfortunately I have no assembly photos but I just had to put this in for the Cable Tie Challenge and there's only a few hours left so verbal directions will have to do. Fortunately, it's pretty straight forward.

Step 1: Start with the Center

Picture of Start with the Center
For any basket makers out there this is simply a coiled basket but with garden hose and cable ties instead of grasses and sinew.
  1. For my center piece to start the basket I used a SS drain plate. The tabs on the bottom I bent outward in the middle to form a hook to hold the first row of garden hose.
  2. Pull an end of the hose from the center of the coil and lay it flat against the cutting board.  
  3. With a SHARP knife or shears, cut the end off the hose at a shallow angle, about 20°, such that the pointed end is on the inside of the natural curve of the hose.
  4. With the point starting at one of the slots in the drain, wrap the hose around once and start around the second time to the outside of the first row.
  5. Fit a cable tie down through the second slot and secure it around both layers of hose so that the end of the tie points outward on the bottom and gently snug but do not tighten at this point.
  6. Keeping the first coil tight, repeat this every other slot 2 or 3 more places. This should give you control of the coils.
  7. Recheck and snug up the first row and tighten the ties in the order you started with but not so tight that you flatten out the coils of hose.
  8. Add ties to the skipped slots and continue around and around building up coils each lashed down to the coil before it. Normally, if you placed the tie on the same side of the tie in the previous row, you would end up with a spiraling pattern of ties. For the cactus, if you look closely you can see that I alternated back and forth to keep the rows of "spines" vertical and perpendicular to the center.
  9. Periodically check to be sure your rows stat evenly spaced.
Brooklyntonia2 months ago

I wish I could have been at your exhibition. It looks fantastic!

WUVIE8 months ago

Oh, my gosh, how cute is this!

My mum is a professional gardener and even she thought it was a cactus from afar.
Aron3133 years ago
I dont have enough zip ties!
BrianJewett (author)  Aron3133 years ago
You can buy them in stores. ;-) Look them up on the internet or from electronics parts distributors. I get them in bags of 1000. I think one bag should cover something this size.
Wow thats only 1000! I would think it would be over 5000.
BrianJewett (author)  Aron3133 years ago
Counting the rings and multiplying by 32 ties per circuit, I'd guess this one uses about 800.
Buale3 years ago
Thank you so much, I will definately make one of those for my girlfriend as a christmas present :D
That is awesome!
cearles4 years ago
someone has tooooo much time on theirhands
farzadbayan4 years ago
Very pretty picture! :)
tgray14 years ago
Interesting artistic message, interesting medium. Glad to hear that these sold well.
teddy244 years ago
Absolutely Brilliant, love them all.
These are amazing, could they be made into a bird box to be mounted on a wall?
BrianJewett (author)  Green Silver4 years ago
Yes, but as I mentioned in another reply, the white cable ties and even the hose won't last forever outside. This is really just basic coiled basket construction and you can build up almost any shape you can imagine. Try googling "coiled basket directions" to see how it works.
solmstea4 years ago
These are totally awesome and I especially like the faucet handle flowers! Would have liked to see a few more pictures of the interim steps, but I love the outcome!
BrianJewett (author)  solmstea4 years ago
Unfortunately these were projects that were finished and sold several years ago. I learned of the zip tie contest just a few hours before it was to end and had no time to create a new piece to show individual steps. I was as thorough as I could be with the verbal directions. There are a few clarifications in the comments but I think a skilled builder should be able to create a cactus from what I wrote.
RReslan4 years ago
For the small cacti, how long of a hose did you use per level?
BrianJewett (author)  RReslan4 years ago
Multiply the average diameter by pi (3.14) and then by the number of coils. I use 50' hoses. That will make a small one with leftover and the large barrel above used 2. If you finish one and need to start another, cut the end square on both the end and the new one so you don't have a gap. Make the joint at a place where it will be covered by a tie and don't pull it too tight. I rolled up some scrap 35mm film about a foot or two long and slipped it inside the joint to back up and support it.
Sounds4cc4 years ago
really really cool. But, expensive!! I just bought a water ho$e - not cheap. But what a "coolness factor"
BrianJewett (author)  Sounds4cc4 years ago
It's a lot cheaper than if I made one for you! ;-)
ynze4 years ago
Beautiful, really! Your pictures make me want to make them!
BrianJewett (author)  ynze4 years ago
Go for it! That's why I put it up here.
This is pretty awesome!  And in case it helps, there are cacti with black spines, so someone could make one of these and place it outside using the black UV resistant zip ties.  Of course, it won't be as iconic as with white spines which I suppose is the cost of doing it that way.  I suppose you could potentially risk it with the white and buy some time by placing it in the shade.

Oh, and I especially like the use of the handles/knobs for flowers.  It's a very clever touch.
BrianJewett (author)  AngryRedhead4 years ago
Thanks Angry. That would probably buy you a few more years but I imagine black ties will last longer but not forever and the hose will deteriorate too. Anything left outside permanently would be limited to just a few materials if you wanted it to last long.
The world needs more brilliant minds like yours.
BrianJewett (author)  falcotheimpaler4 years ago
Actually, the world needs more minds like Paul Krugman, with a few of them to replace Obams's economic staff! ;-)
rsw7074 years ago
VERY creative. Nice Job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This is awesome! In addition to being interesting sculptures, these could work well as tongue-in-cheek planters for another plant (assuming you use the black zip ties so that they'll last).
AngelBunny4 years ago
These are truly amazing! What unique material choices, you sure don't normally think of garden hoses and valves being beautiful!
vishalapr4 years ago
Well done on winning the zip tie contest!
Weldeon4 years ago
Congrats on winning the zip-tie contest!
BrianJewett (author)  Weldeon4 years ago
Wow, Thanks! So, now what do I do?
I'm actually not sure, haha. I guess you will be claiming your prize. And Ive actually never won anything before, so I wouldnt know how to go about doing that, but i would think you would get a message with instructions. Hope it gets to you soon!
bajablue4 years ago
I love this!!!
pedleyfigg4 years ago
Very clever. Nice work.
so cool
BrianJewett (author) 4 years ago
A note of warning. plain white cable ties are NOT UV resistant. People often want to place these in their gardens. But if they do, I'd place the life expectancy at about 1 year before the ties start to get brittle and break.

Black zip ties are UV resistant but don't look much like cactus spines.
These are cool!!!
ramhardikar4 years ago
Nicely done!
sunshiine4 years ago
This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
vishalapr4 years ago
Wow! Can't believe you actually made them! Well done!