What do a cactus, a bowl of spicy salsa and sour milk have in common? They all have a single mysterious power over us … they all force us toward the need to personally experience the potentially detrimental effects associated with each. Just how hot is that salsa? Is this milk really sour? Is that a real cactus? Ouch!

Cacti, and succulents as a whole, are incredibly popular for decoration right now. We see these prickly pals everywhere, but unfortunately, small kiddos can’t get too close. Plus, some well-meaning family members have trouble grasping their limited watering requirements.

Finally, the worries are over — it's time for you and your littlest to make a simple, cute craft that will allow them to warm up to a cactus without the concern of getting a spiny surprise. Plus, they will love making this (non)-spiky yet sweet creation. No watering required.

Mini cactus pots

Materials:

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  • Rocks
  • Light green outdoor acrylic paint
  • Dark green outdoor acrylic paint
  • White outdoor acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes, multiple sizes
  • Old newspaper
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue

Outdoor acrylic paint, a brush and clay pots are the basic supplies needed to make Mini Cactus Pots. Just add a rock! (Mary Rasch / For the News Tribune)
Outdoor acrylic paint, a brush and clay pots are the basic supplies needed to make Mini Cactus Pots. Just add a rock! (Mary Rasch / For the News Tribune)

Instructions:

1. Head to your favorite local crafting store to select a clay pot. I chose mini pots because I think the size is adorable. You can do whatever rocks your socks.

2. Finding the perfect rock is instinctive to a child. Make merry picking your favorite rock. Depending on what size pot you selected, adjust the desirable size of rock (smooth or jagged is up to you).

3. Make sure your rock is well rinsed and dried. Spread out your old newspaper to protect your work surface and consider switching the kids to play clothes.

4. Apply two coats of green paint on your rocks according to the instructions on the paint label.

5. When the green paint is dry, apply the cactus needles with white paint and a thin paintbrush for detail. You can make small X’s, diagonal marks or dots covering the surface.

6. When the white paint is dry, glue the googly eyes in place. Apply the glue to the inside rim of the pot and set the rock inside until the two are adhered together.

7. Repeat these steps to make as many fun friends as desired.

Mary Rasch is a Duluth artist, mother of two and author of "Fleece Hat Friends and Playful Hoodies."