Cactus Pillow


Every summer growing up, we left our house in Southern California and drove to Phoenix, Arizona to spend a few weeks with my grandma and cousins….which in hindsight, seems a little backwards. Not the hanging out with family part, but the leaving-Orange-County-with-ocean-breezes-and-driving-to-the-AZ-desert-in-July part. Right?
But as a kid you don’t notice the heat.  And we LOVED our grandma’s house, full of dress-ups, a pantry of treats, a swimming pool and trampoline in the backyard, and plenty of summer monsoon storms. I have many memories of doing cartwheels on her grass in the rain, and can still smell that scent of raindrops on the hot cement. Do you know that smell? Every once in a while we’ll get it here in TX (when the weather is dry) and it takes me right back to childhood summers.

On those awesome drives across the desert, we had plenty of time to gaze out the window at dirt and rocks, Joshua trees, and miles of cacti. Specifically the Saguaro Cactus (pronounced suh-wahr-oh)…which I had stared at for years as kid, but never fully appreciated till I was an adult. I mean, I always thought they were cool and unique with those awesome arms, and how amazingly tall they can get.
Did you know they can live for 150-200 years?
And that some don’t get arms till they are 75 years old?
Some don’t get arms at all, and are called spears.
And it’s actually illegal to cut down or damage a saguaro cactus.
They’re pretty special.

And I guess that’s what I took for granted. All those summers, driving past cactus and never realizing that the only place in the whole world that the Saguaro cactus grows is in the Sonoran desert (parts of Arizona, Mexico, and a small part of California).
This quintessential image of a cactus that we see everywhere in artwork, clothing, and pop culture trinkets….they only grow in this one place!
That’s amazing.
I have a new appreciation for these desert giants.
So let’s enjoy their beauty….let’s make a Cactus Pillow!

I had so much fun drafting this pattern—which only took about 7 tries, to get those arms just right….which is like minutes, in the lifespan of a saguaro.
The printable pattern is a 6 page PDF, which you can download and print from your home computer.  Just piece the pages together and cut out the shape!

Then decide how you’d like to your cactus to look.
Like people, each one is unique.
Does your cactus have many spines (prickles), or just a few spines? A flower, a piece of budding fruit?

In this project I’ll show you how to make a cute fabric flower to go along….which, technically looks more like a Prickly Pear flower (another type of cactus which is plentiful in Texas and other parts of the world). A true saguaro bloom is white, with a yellow center, and they grow in bunches on the top of the cactus head.  I found this image on, which is the city where my husband Casey grew up. We have a lot of Arizona in our blood.

I love that you can make this cactus pillow from many types of fabric. I used a solid olive-green flannel from Jo-Ann Fabrics for my main cactus. Then I mixed it up with prints from my Day Trip collection. Look how cute it looks on Lucy’s bed with her Sherpa Fleece Blanket! So many options.

Okay. Have I rambled enough? With my love letter to a cactus?
Owen’s ready to use it as a punching bag.

Actually, Owen really loves stuffed animals (and he’ll probably hate that I’m sharing that). The pictures above made me think of this road trip below (also through the desert) a few summers back to their grandparents’ house. We stayed in this funny little motel in the middle-of-nowhere Texas. And they each brought along their stuffed animals….which of course had to be photographed in front of the awesome pink motel exterior.

And here’s another pic from one of our many summer road trips. This was taken as we pulled in to our hotel in Tucson, AZ after a 15-hour drive. They paused long enough for a pic before we hit the swimming pool.

Okay. I’m done talking.
Let’s sew!
Click the play button below and enjoy. Or you can watch it on my CHANNEL HERE.

Happy saguaro Sunset.

  1. 1) Jo

    Very cute! I’d love to make some for gifts, especially considering I live in Tucson and most of my relatives are in AZ.! Great idea!

    • 2) Dana

      Yesss! These would make the perfect gifts! I actually gave one to my sister for Christmas!

    • 3) Susan Terrill

      I lived in Tucson, AZ for 5 years in a lovely Adobe home with a Sugaro cactus in the front yard. Unfortunately a bird made a nest in it and it did not live as long as I had hoped it would. I love the pillow pattern. Thank you.

  2. 4) Cristal

    These pillows look so cute! I am always so amazed by how ingenious you are, Dana. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • 5) Dana

      Haha. Thanks Cristal! Have fun sewing cacti! 🙂

  3. 6) Alison scarll

    I am knew to sewing but you give so much inspiration cannot wait to get started

    • 7) Dana

      Awesome! Thanks! This is such a fun project to make. Have fun with it!

  4. 8) elisheva

    omg Dana this is great!!!!
    thanks so much!
    gonna try sewing it asap

  5. 9) michele

    Already made one in a cute floral for my granddaughter’s second birthday and paired it with two little story books about a saguaro cactus and a real, tiny cactus that she can care for. Thanks so much!

    • 10) Dana

      Oh my gosh what a fun idea! LOVE it!!

  6. 11) Judy Stranak

    I’m amazed every time I open your website. I use your ideas constantly to make hits. After retirement I consider gifting and visiting my ministry. Thanks for sharing your gift of design!!❤️❤️

    • 12) Dana

      Awww this is the sweetest comment 🙂 THANK YOU Judy! 🙂

  7. 13) PJ

    I found your tutorials a couple of weeks back and successfully put in 3 zippers in a snap. Then you posted the Saguaro – we spent two weeks in the Sonoran Desert in May. I have always LOVED the Saguaros and HAD to make one! I LOVE IT!!!! I want to send you a picture of mine, but I don’t see a way to attach it. Thank you for all your tuts – they are the best!

    • 14) Dana

      Oh my gosh I love that! And I’d love to see your cactus pillow! You can share it on instagram and tag me @made_everyday. Or send it through a private message on Instagram or Facebook 🙂

  8. 15) ann welch

    Dana, you’re the best! Love popping in to see what’s new.
    I’d really like to make a Japanese apron but I can’t find a pattern. Can you help? They are so fun!

  9. 17) Kavita

    I love all your projects. I am new in sewing and find your videos super useful. I am always looking for new ideas from your videos. I tried making skirt and pillow and it turned out really good. Thank you!

  10. 18) Poppy

    I have made a pillow before but made of recycled t shirt- does this eco fabric idea work for one of these cute cacti pillows?
    Also,could you try to make an eco recycling project… what with not being able to go out I can’t buy any proper fabric and we have tons of old skirts and shirts lying around that I could totally use for a crafty boost in my life!!!
    From poppy🙂xxx

  11. 19) Aileen

    What a cute pillow! I really enjoyed watching your video 😊. Thanks!

    • 20) Dana

      Thanks! I hope you make one! They’re so fun

  12. 21) Jill Davis

    We live in Arizona, and I love to get to the perfect elevation to start seeing the saguaros! Thanks for this pattern. I’m going to make one for each of my grandkids.

  13. 22) Mike

    Thank you for the pattern and great video! Did one with flowers and spines and for the other I made a little stuffed owl sitting on top with a nest of yarn!

  14. 23) Sarah Coyle

    Very new to sewing, just got my machine, last used one 35 years ago.Done some of your beginner YouTube projects,loving them.Definitely going to make this cactus cushion. Want some quirky stuff around my house and this fits the bill,thanks Dana.😃

  15. 24) Becky B

    OMG! I love this cute little pillow! Your video inspired me to get a sewing machine and try making one. Perfect as we just moved to Tucson. I think it turned out great for a first attempt. I wish I could post a picture of it. Thank you so much!

Leave a Comment