Introduction: RPG Cactus

About: DM Scotty's 2.5d dungeon tile system is great for low cost gaming. - The DMG is also a great place for gaming…

This is a terrain piece for RPGs, war gaming and miniatures gaming. It's quick and easy to crank out 5 or 10 of these guys for a desert setting.

The Heroclix is there for scale. I can usually pick them up cheaper than minis for RPGs.

You can use this technique to make some alien plants as well. I just went with a run of the mill fantasy cacti that you'd see in any movie. tv or setting when they are wanting a desert plant.

Maybe tomorrow or during the week I'll make a mini one to show.

Step 1: Stuff You Will Need

Stuff you will need:

A toothpick

A twist tie

Razor knife

Hot glue gun


Piece of cardboard

White glue


Step 2: Prep the Stuff

Cut the twist tie in half (or however long you want the "arms" to be).

Make a small hole in the cardboard with a razor knife or punch.

Stick the toothpick in the hole.

Step 3: Make the Armature

Secure the toothpick on the cardboard. Stick it in the hole and add a dab of hot glue. Wait for teh glue to cool down and set up a little bit.

Fold a little bit of the twist tie around the toothpick and give a twist. Repeat for the other arm.

Step 4: Glue the Baby Up

This is a slow process. Add a little bit of glue at a time so it cools quicker. You also have to twist it around as the glue cools so it is not just blob down from the high points to the low points.

It takes a little bit of patience and practice. If I could get the hand of it anyone can. A monkey might not be able to do it but a trained monkey could.

The idea is do encase the whole thing with a coat of the hot glue. Think Han Solo in carbonite, You don't want to see any of the armature through the glue.

Step 5: Done Right It Looks Like This

This is about what you are going for. The twist ties and toothpick not showing through..... you may need to add some dabs of glue and hold the thing upside down for a minute to have the glue ball up at the end points.

If you use too much (more than a dab to touch up) you get drips on the tips of the arms/head. It actually can look like some cool buds about to flower.

Step 6: Get Out Your Sand and White Glue

Come on, you used to coat your fingers with glue as a kid, who hasn't! Now you have an excuse to do that as an adult :)

Smear white glue all over the cactus and the base. I poured out a bunch of sand I had in a used pie tin and buried the little cactus in it. You wanna give it a good coat of glue and a good coat of sand.

Step 7: Let It Dry

Since it was a sunny day and the cactus like the desert I let it dry outside. The slight breeze helped out a bit.

When he's dry you can give him a coat of black spray paint as a primer but you don't need to. The sand is a light enough color that the green easily covers the piece.

Step 8: Dark Green Paint

Hit the cactus with a coat of dark green paint. If you want to make it an alien cactus make it purple and then dry brush with pink.

Step 9: Dry Brush Light Green

Squeeze out a tiny bit of lighter green paint on a paper plate.

Dry brush it on the cactus. You just want to hit the high spots to make the texture pop out a bit.

If you don't know what dry brushing is I explain it in a few of my other instructibles.

Dry brushing is when you take a small amount of paint on your brush. Then you down a bunch of quick strokes on a piece of paper (or the paper plate) to try to get the majority of the paint off the brush.

Dry brushing is sort of meant to hit the high spots on your prop without getting the nooks and crannies the same color.