What do embroidery and cacti have in common? Needles—but that's not all. These cactus embroidery patterns are an even stronger connection between the two. One of the great things about growing a cactus is that it's easy to take care of, but you'll find that caring for embroidered succulents of all kinds is easier still.
In this curated list, you'll find patterns for simple saguaro cacti, potted prickly pears, and more than one blooming barrel cactus. Just as important as the patterns themselves are the many ways you'll be inspired to stitch these desert-loving plants.
So choose a cactus pattern or two to start with, grab your embroidery needles, and get started stitching and growing your own little family of cacti.
01 of 19
Learn to Embroider These Potted Cacti
Embroidery artist Trish Burr has lots of detailed needle-painting patterns, but before you get to that level of embroidery, you need to start with the basics. In her "How to Do Surface Embroidery" download, she walks you through the basics, and you get to practice on these sweet cactus patterns.
She also has another tutorial that includes a cactus pattern in which you can learn whitework techniques. Best of all, you can place a free order for them.
02 of 19
Hand Embroider Some Colorful Cacti
Add some color and playfulness to your embroidery with this fun cactus pattern. Jodie from Lova Handmade always has delightful designs that are easy to stitch. The decorative elements on and around the potted cacti make this a pattern you'll love working on.
03 of 19
Stitch a Maintenance-Free Cactus
Just as there are many different cacti and each one is unique, there are many variations on ways to embroider these prickly plants as well. This delightful pattern uses shades of green and satin stitch to show the ridges in the cactus, which then mirrors the container that the cactus is growing in.
To receive this free design, you'll need to subscribe to Bustle and Sew's newsletter, but that also gives you access to lots of other free patterns.
04 of 19
Create an Outlined Cactus in Full Desert Boom
DMC, the makers of arguably the most frequently-used embroidery floss, has an extensive collection of free patterns, including this delicate cactus. The main body of the cactus is striking when stitched in black and white with the pops of color on the flowers. Be sure to search for other cactus patterns on the DMC site as well.Continue to 5 of 19 below.
05 of 19
Fill a Hoop With Embroidered Cacti
If you love stitching but want to avoid the process of transferring the pattern, why not try this pre-printed fabric? Your entire hoop will be filled with charming cactus designs in a mix of sizes, shapes, and colors.
Cactus Stamped Fabric Embroidery Pattern, $16, Oh Sew Bootiful
06 of 19
Stitch a Familiar Lyric
Did this free cactus embroidery pattern cause you to instantly start humming a song or even dancing a bit? It's possible that the song this lyric comes from will be stuck in your head as you stitch, but you have to admit that it's true. You can't touch these adorably prickly plants.
07 of 19
Embroider Teeny Tiny Cacti
Stitching at very small sizes, like our tiny flower embroidery tutorial, requires using only a few stitches to create exactly the right effect. Aimee Ray of Little Dear includes detailed instructions for stitching these tiny succulents. They aren't exactly cacti, but a few a very similar and they would be great details to add to some of the other patterns on this list.
08 of 19
Watch and Learn to Stitch Three Cactus Designs
If you like learning by watching videos, you will love this cactus embroidery tutorial on YouTube. You'll learn exactly how to stitch this project, which is helpful for some of the more complex stitches like the long bullion knots, padded satin stitch, and more.
The free pattern is available on the designer's Pinterest page, but the shapes are simple enough you could probably sketch something similar as well.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
09 of 19
Make an Embroidered Cactus Patch
All this little cactus wants is a hug. The adorable kit comes with pre-printed fabric and all the threads you need to embroider a patch. You only need to know two stitches, so it's even perfect for beginners.
10 of 19
Practice New Stitches on a Cactus Design
Want to learn a few new stitches as you make a cactus embroidery? Sarah's "3 Stitches at a Time" series give you the opportunity to practice stitches in a fun design. This one features chain stitch, chevron stitch, and triple palestrina stitch.
11 of 19
Make Some Adorable Cactus Faces
You don't often think of a cactus as sweet, but this set of three patterns proves that even the prickliest of plants can be adorable. Each cactus design features a sweet smiling face that you'll fall in love with—and the pastel colors only add to the cuteness.
12 of 19
Give These Succulent Patterns Some Love
If you love succulents and cacti, then you'll love these hearts filled with different succulents. They're like a love letter to your favorite plants. After you download this free pattern, you should also check out Global Backyard's fantastic embroidery kit for stitching a little cactus in a tomato can.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
13 of 19
Stitch a Cactus Trio
Simple lines and perfect details make this trio of cacti an excellent pattern for beginners. It gives you the opportunity to practice several basic embroidery stitches while also leaving room for creativity.
Cactus Trio Hand Embroidery Pattern, $6, Wandering Threads Embroidery
14 of 19
Get Stuck on These Kawaii Cacti
Stitch some happy cacti with this free pattern collection from author Mollie Johanson at Wild Olive. Along with these and other designs in the set, the same post also has a link to a matching set of printable stitching cards so your kids can stitch along, too.
15 of 19
Paint Pastel Cacti With Thread
Aren't these pastel rainbow cacti lovely? They truly look like they were done in watercolors, which makes sense since they use a needle painting technique. If you've ever wanted to try needle painting, this looks like a great way to practice blending colors.
16 of 19
Stitch a Happy Cactus
Meet Jolene the Cactus! This free pattern is simple, but oh so cute. The PDF includes several pattern sizes, a reversed version for different types of pattern transfer, and a guide for suggested stitches.Continue to 17 of 19 below.
17 of 19
Add an Artistic Flair to a Cactus or Two
This pattern set from Slow Evenings Embroidery includes two different cactus patterns that look simple at first glance, but once you look beyond the outlines, you see what makes them special: tiny abstract patterns in the background. They are the difference between basic embroidery and an art piece.
Abstract Cacti Embroidery Pattern, $13, Slow Evenings Embroidery
18 of 19
Make Mini Embroidered Cacti
If you've ever seen teeny tiny embroidery hoops used for making necklaces and wondered what you'd stitch in them, here's your answer. These free mini cactus patterns, originally published in Mollie Makes, are ideal for framing in even the smallest of hoops.
19 of 19
Show Someone You Care With Cactus Embroidery
This adorable Valentine's Day cactus pattern is an iron-transfer pattern, so getting it ready to stitch is a breeze. And if you want to stitch it as a design you can use all year, all you have to do is cut the word Valentine off of the pattern before you iron it to your fabric.
Stuck on You Valentine Iron Transfer Pattern, $4, Colonial Patterns