Previously: Building a Cactus, Pt. 4 or follow from the beginning: Building a Cactus, Pt. 1

Now: the exterior and the grand reveal!

So, if you’ve been with us from the beginning you know that we built the skeleton from PVC pipe (stabilized with pvc glue and bolts, and utilizing screw caps to give us the ability to disassemble it for storage and transport). We then duct taped pool noodles to the pipe, wrapped that in batting, capped the ends with foam domes, and sewed the entire thing in a stretchable white cotton/poly blend to make sure it keeps its shape.

The top of the cactus looks pretty good! This is only partially stitched at this time, but getting the dome right at the top was paramount, so we felt pretty good...

The top of the cactus looks pretty good! This is only partially stitched at this time, but getting the dome right at the top was paramount, so we felt pretty good…

The most daunting piece of the entire project is upon us: sewing the exterior fabric. I mean, people actually SEE this part) Now, if the fabric store had carried 6 yards of this upholstery fabric, we would have bought it. We may have bought 6 1/2 and we bought six yards of everything else. Unfortunately, only 5 2/3 yards was available, so we knew we didn’t have any extra to mess around with. We had to stitch it right the first time.

Also, I had this crazy idea that I wanted the front of the cactus to be one long, unbroken piece of fabric so it would look natural, even though the cactus has to be able to be disassembled. So our plan was this: we sew up the entire top half of the cactus in the green upholstery fabric with enough remaining at the bottom to cover the entire length of the cactus. Then we cut small circles out of this portion to wrap around the arms, and sew velcro down the back. During transport, the bottom will be without the green upholstery and the top will have a skirt. Make sense? If not, don’t worry, it didn’t make sense to anyone else at first either…

After sewing the top, we assembled the thing out back, cut it where it wrapped around the arms, and marked where the velcro needed to be attached. That night, Kelly worked on sewing adhesive velcro tape (brutal) while Spencer and I sewed up the arms. The next day, after some last minute tweaks to the batting, and the velcro – we were ready to assemble the cactus!

Check out this fine, ultra-huggable speciman! We were so relieved once it all came together and it looks amazing!!

Check out this fine, ultra-huggable speciman! We were so relieved once it all came together and it looks amazing!!

Bringing this entire crazy project together was really special. A lot of work, a lot of attention to details we didn’t even consider at first, and a really rewarding team experience – kind of a mini-version of the entire book, honestly. Being able to make our mark at the Long Beach Comic Expo is going to be great, but having a crazy idea and bringing it to fruition is its own reward.

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