How to make a Walking Cactus from PVC
     There are a number of different ways to construct a Cambrian  Creature just like our friend, the Walking Cactus.  One of the easiest materials to work with is PVC pipe which is commonly used for outdoor lawn sprinkler systems and a variety of indoor plumbing applications as well.  Its plastic and is easy to cut, drill or glue together and is lightweight making it easy to hang or mount on the wall.  PVC comes in a variety of shapes and diameters and can be purchased at any home improvement store such as Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware etc.

    Our creature has ten legs, a bulb like abdomen with long legs lined with thorns or spikes.  At the end of each leg are claws that may have been used for locomotion or sifting through the sand for food.  You make a smaller version using 1/2 inch diameter pipe if size is an issue.

Materials Needed

(1)         3/4 " PVC Pipe ten foot
(10)      Four way junction fittings
(21)      45 degree angle fittings
(20)      End caps
(1)        PVC cement
             Hand saw or PVC pipe cutters
             Red Yarn (medium thickness)
             Carpenter's Glue 
             Small Foam Block or Pine Cone
             Large tooth picks or wooden dowels

 Getting Started 
       Once we decided on what material to use for our creature, we visited the plumbing section of Home Depot and purchased 3/4" PVC pipe fittings and pipe just like the ones pictured to the right.   

        You will need a saw to cut the PVC pipe although pipe cutters are available as well.  They are extremely sharp and should not be used by anyone other than an adult.   


                      Floral foam
           (Michael's, Jerrys Artorama)
        We checked our references and lined up the PVC fittings to get an idea as to how the spine of this creature was going to look.  The four way junction fittings actually look like vertebrae!

       We test fit each component to make sure that we had the proper distance or gap in between each fitting.  We cut two inch long pieces of PVC pipe and used them to join the 4 way fittings together.  We used a 45 degree angle fitting to join the two sections together.  So far so good.

      This is how our Walking Cactus spine looks from the side.  We will cut individual lengths of PVC pipe for the legs.

                 (Home Depot)
                     Poly Panels
                 (Home Depot)
     Once we had prefit all of the pieces for the spine, we used a clear PVC cement as pictured to the left.  This stuff literally melts the two surfaces together forming a permanent seal.  It works fairly quickly once  it has been applied do not waste any time in pressing the two components together.

     One word of warning, the fumes from this product are very strong and it should only be used outdoors.  This is one of those products that should be used under adult supervision.

     The next step in our construction is to add the creature's legs.  Once again, we will use small sections of PVC pipe cut to length along with a 45 degree fitting to add a curve or bend in each leg.

     We cut two pieces of PVC for each leg- one piece is about two inches longer that than the other.  

     We then test fit each leg into the creature's spine without gluing.  We wanted to see how each leg fit knowing that some of the legs would be turned to simulate walking or movement. ​​

     Here is the creature constructed from PVC without any other details added.  This material makes for a very effective "skeleton"  and should support the weight of the creature when it is mounted.

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