Is it just me, or has this year gone by wayyy faster than usual? Sure feels like it. Summer is drawing to a close and autumn is pretty much here. So, I thought I'd get a head start on some fall decorations!
I love seasonal decorating. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, you name it. But I also don't like to spend a whole lot. By this, I mean I'm just plain cheap and if I can't find it at the dollar store I'd rather just say forget it.
I was working on a little project for my brother - a bridge for his NASCAR stop motion races. (Check them out here) And it ended up turning into multiple projects. You can see the pictures of the bridge at the end of this post, along with a little mini-tutorial.
I first stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest. I read a few little tutorials but ultimately just did my own thing as I went along.
Here's the finished product:
This is a fairly quick project, but can become time-consuming and most definitely can get a little messy. But it isn't difficult, and can be done with both kids and adults of all ages!
The paper mache might take a while to dry, some even say that it takes all day. Mine was dry in a couple hours, but I set it outside. (It was dry, humid, and sunny, so that made for perfect pumpkin-drying weather).
•Paper mache paste (Mix 1 cup water, 1/4 cup flour, & a dash of salt)
•Paint & paint brush (I used simple craft paint, but you can use outdoor paint, spray paint, glitter, or whatever you desire.)
Get started by making the pumpkin form. I used a small plastic bag that had a couple other bags stuffed inside, but you can also use shredded paper or other scraps. Get creative! Tie off the top of the bag, and this will be your stem. I folded mine down in half. Then take some string, yarn, (or even duct tape, whatever you have on hand) and measure it around the pumpkin, leaving a couple inches extra. Cut the yarn and wrap it around, tying it tightly around your stem. Repeat this until you have as many sections as you desire. I cut 3 pieces of yarn so I had 6 sections.
I used some of the excess yarn from wrapping around the pumpkin to tie around the stem. It definitely helped it hold it's shape better. It looks a little tacky, yes, but it's functional.
Now it's time to start with the paper mache! Have your bowl of paste and a stash of shredded papers set out. Take a shred of paper and run it through the paste. Just one side is good, you want the paper to be wet but not so much that it's soaked and soggy. The shreds should be the right size so that it wraps from just under the stem to the bottom of the pumpkin. I found this size of paper to work best - I tried using longer strips, but they wouldn't wrap around very well.
Continue working around the pumpkin, smoothing it out and adding more strips where needed.
When it came to the stem I found that using smaller pieces worked better.
Yay! Here's the covered pumpkin. Set it someplace to dry. I put mine outside, and it dried really quick. The flies were heavily attracted to it, however.
Make sure it's 100% dry before you get ready to paint.
I went with a traditional orange color for my pumpkin. I actually mixed it with a little bit of gold, since I didn't want it to be super bright. It made for a really nice color! (It's darker in person)
Depending on what kind of paint you use, you'll probably need several coats. The more coats - the better. You don't want any newspaper showing. (Like mine turned out..... Don't look too close! Lol)
Almost done, just need to paint the stem. I used a bit of brown and gold mixed together. It wasn't quite the color I was going for, but close enough.
Just let the paint dry and you're all done! I tied some twine around the stem and it makes a lovely little decoration piece!
For the bridge, I took some thin cardboard pieces that I had on hand (But you can use any kind of cardboard, cereal box, poster board, or whatever you can find.) and simply used scissors to cut out the shape of the bridge. Make sure you measure first to get the right size and shape that you're looking for. Then lay the first cut out piece on top of the other piece of cardboard and trace around it, to ensure that they're identical.
I recommend holding the two pieces together, (or have someone hold them for you), and wrap a piece of duct tape or string around it. This will hold the bridge in place while you paper mache around it. This is a very important step!
Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the bridge before I paper mached it.
To paper mache the bridge:
Smaller pieces work better. Using bigger strips of paper didn't work since it was such an uneven shape that I was wrapping them around. There is no specific or definite technique to use, so just try what works best for you!
Once you set it aside to dry, it's time to paint it! I used the same type of craft paint that I did for the pumpkin, only in different colors. I used a very, very small paintbrush to do the lettering, but you could also use a paint pen or even a sharpie.
Thanks for reading along! I hope y'all have fun making your pumpkins! Let me know if you like these craft tutorials and what other ones you might like me to do in the future!