Literally! I remember seeing these 'death-world' cacti in a White Dwarf a long time ago and have been meaning to put some together myself. They are very easy to make and inexpensive to boot.
Tools + Supplies
- 1 pkg 2.5"/6.5 cm styrofoam balls
- 1 pkg 1.5"/4 cm styrofoam balls
- toothpics (the kind that's pointy on both ends)
- ready to use wall filler (I used LePage Polyfix)
- art board, stiff card board or masonite (I used art board)
- assortment of small stones, pebbles, sand and other debris
- hobby knife
- hot glue gun
The first three items on the list came from a dollar store and you end up with enough for several projects. The biggest expenses on the list are the filler and art board but again the materials will last you many, many projects. I figure this particular project costs less than a buck.
Start by cutting some board to the appropriate shape. Bevel the the edges with a hobby knife and sand smooth. With a hobby knife shave one side of the ball flat. Attach the ball to the base using liberal amounts of hot glue. Add a smaller ball in a similar way by cutting one side flat and making a corresponding flat cut on the larger ball. Stick together using the hot glue gun. Next coat the entire piece (base and all) with a thinned layer of filler. I used an old wash brush. If there are any gaps between the balls or the base pack in some filler. While the filler is still wet add some rocks, pebbles, sand and debris. Let the filler dry a bit then using an old brush stipple (jab with the brush) the surface of the balls to add some texture.Next use a toothpick to poke some guide holes into the balls. Break the ends off the tooth picks and insert into the guide holes. The length of the spike depends on the size of the ball for the half ball I used just the tip of the toothpick to represent an immature plant, while the spikes on the large ball stick out a lot farther representing a mature specimine. One note though, I really should have blunted the ends of the toothpicks by running them on some sandpaper but I was on a roll and didn't think of it.
I played around with the glue gun and came up with a couple of effects that I thought were cool. By carefully applying a blob of glue and then slowly teasing it out I created a root. By adding some smaller blobs the effect is pretty convincing. Also just applying simple blobs of glue creates another form of plant life or perhaps seedlings of the bigger ones. Once I get these painted up I'' post some pictures of the finished product.