DIY Paper Mache Pumpkin

I’ll be honest. Fall isn’t favorite season. But I can get on board with candy, costumes, and pumpkin decorating! This year I decided not to go the traditional carved pumpkin route. Instead I wanted to make a pumpkin I didn’t have to worry about rotting from the inside out on the front porch. 

I considered a foam pumpkin that claims to be carvable, but it just seemed so generic. So I decided to make a pumpkin. Like from scratch. I knew with a little trail and error I could figure out how to construct a pumpkin. And I did! That’s what I’m sharing with you today. How to literally make a pumpkin.

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Here are the supplies you’ll need:

Several sheets of newspaper
Yarn or string
Celluclay (about a 1/4 cup depending on the size of the pumpkin)
Toilet Paper tube
Paint and brushes
Collage papers
Acrylic Medium (Mod Podge, Tacky Glue, or Elmer’s will work too)

So here’s how to make this fabulous pumpkin!

  1. Create a ball using a sheet of newspaper. Continue to wrap more sheets around the ball until it’s the desired size of your pumpkin. It will expand on its own but you want to focus on the size of it when it’s squished together. 
  2. Wrap with yarn to create the rib indents that mimic a pumpkin. I made six indents for 7 sections. You’ll want to tie the string pretty tight. That helps make the puffy part between the strings. You can use this time to shape your pumpkin a bit, too. Smoosh it against the table, squish it tighter with strings, whatever helps you get the pumpkin shape you’re wanting. Also, keep in mind, some pumpkins are tall and skinnier, some are fat and squat, and some are anything in between. Have fun with creating your pumpkin shape!
  3. Cover the whole pumpkin with Celluclay. This is an instant paper mache product that can be found at most big box craft stores and online. You can use traditional paper mache if you like, but this product makes it fast to cover and leaves a bit more texture. 
  4. Wait for the clay to dry. This is the hardest part. It takes about 24 hours to dry. If you’re in a more humid climate or it was a humid day, give it another several hours to really set. 
  5. Once your pumpkin is dry, you can paint and decorate it anyway you want. I painted mine all black. Then added collage papers in triangle shapes. I added additional painted details once the collage was dry. The “Boo” was hand cut and layered from papers. I also added a stem using a coiled piece of toilet paper tube. You could add the stem before covering with Celluclay, if you want it to have the same texture as the pumpkin. 
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Sounds pretty easy, right? I can’t wait to see your pumpkin!  

PS- the papers I used for the collage is a free digital download here

Painted Succulent Pots

Have I ever mentioned I have a black thumb? I think it explains why I’m so drawn to floral patterns and prints. You can’t kill a painting of a flower. In the past several months, I’ve been able to keep an African Violet alive and she is beautiful by the way. But I can’t seem to keep succulents alive. I thought they were supposed to be hardly and strong in the face of the not-so-savy-gardener. I guess not so much. As I was setting up my art studio, I knew I wanted some type of plant life. I decided it didn’t have to be living plant life, so I went on a search for real-looking-fake plants. I found the cutest selection of succulents at Michaels. And because most succulents look a little fake, these actually look real. I purchased three little pots, which on sale cost me a whomping 99 cents each. I knew they would need a little sprucing up to fit into my space. That didn’t worry me one bit. I’m always up for a project.

 
 

Here’s how I decorated the pots:
First, I paint them all with two coats of bronze metallic paint. This paint happens to be the Blick Matte Acrylic paint. The metallic colors have a bit of a satin finish which I really like. You could also chose to paint the base whatever color you want. I just liked how the bronze added simmer while being close to the original color of the pots.
Once the base layers were dry, I used a small paintbrush to add some details. I kept these simple since the pots were so small. There are several ways you can add details here- stencils, stamps, rub-ons, collage papers. I chose to paint them because it was quicker and easier for me in the moment. Once the details were painted and dried, I was ready to display them on my little shelves! (By the way, these shelves are actually a Heidi Swapp marquee letter “I” turned on it’s side. I found them on clearance and couldn’t pass them up!)

Since I’m a better painter than a gardener, I thought I would share a few tips for painting on these pots.
1- Practice on paper first. This can help you determine exactly how you want your design to look, how big or small, and you will get used to the brush.
2- Use a fine tip brush for the details. Most details will come out a little thicker than the brush tip because of the pressure you use. If possible go a little smaller than you think you’ll need. You can always make the lines a little thicker, but it’s more difficult to make them smaller.
3- Don’t be afraid to use your paint. Keep your brush fully loaded so you have enough paint to make marks. You don’t want to have a glob of paint on your brush, but you want to make sure it’s covered. This will take some trial and error to figure out how much works for you. However, keep adding paint to the brush so you don’t run out and get half painted lines. Those can be hard to fix.

Do you have any other tips for painting details? I would love to hear them.

And if you’re in the Savannah area (or willing to travel), don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to be the first to hear about my upcoming workshops! All classes will take place in my new studio! It’s going to be awesome!