Paper Mache Pumpkin

How to make a paper mache pumpkin for your fall décor, using a plastic bag form.  

Never done a project like this before? Learn more here*. 

Age: 6 and up

Difficulty: Easy

Time scale: 3 out of 5

Paper-mache-pumpkin

Supplies:

  • paper mache paste recipe here*
  • margarine container
  • newspaper
  • plastic grocery bags (about 20-25)
  • string
  • scissors
  • masking tape
  • orange paint
  • black paint
  • paint brush
  • black felt pen
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks
  • rag
  • spray sealer


Make a Paper Mache Pumpkin

Stuff a plastic bag with crumpled up grocery bags. Poke a few small holes in the main bag to let the air out.

This is a fairly small paper mache pumpkin and it took around 20 bags or so.

Squeeze the bag to make the shape fairly firm. Tie the top in a knot.

Stuff-plastic-bag-to-make-form

To make a larger pumpkin stuff a bag with crumpled newspaper or shredded paper instead. Make a REALLY big one using a big garbage bag and a lot of stuffing!  

Use string to wrap around the shape. Pull the string tight and tie at the  top.  This will make the indentations in the bag, for the ribs on the pumpkin. Do 6 - 8 sections.

Tie-string-on-bag-to-make-ribs

Mix up your paste in a plastic container. Using a margarine container works well.

Rip up strips of newspaper about 2-3 inches wide. Dip the strips of newspaper into your paste and apply to the plastic bag shape. Don't cover the top where the knot in the bag is. Leave about a 3 inch opening across the top.  Apply 3-4 layers of newspaper strips and let dry.

When it has dried completely, check to see if there are any thin spots by squeezing slightly. If it still seems a bit squishy, add another layer to these areas.

When dry, cut the string and the knot on the plastic bag and start carefully pulling the bags out.

Roll a 3 inch wide piece of newspaper into a cone shape to make a stem. Tape with masking tape to hold. Add 2 layers of newspaper strips to the stem. Let dry.

Apply 3 layers of newspaper across the hole in the top of the pumpkin. Push in slightly and poke a hole with scissors big enough for the stem to fit in. Let this dry and then hot glue the stem in place.

Add 2 more layers over the top and around the stem. Dry again and then add another layer over the entire thing. Okay, this may seem a little over done BUT, it won't fall apart and it won't squish easily. I like durable. If you are in a hurry and want to try less layers, that is fine. You can check after drying to see if it seems strong enough, by giving it a squeeze.

Make sure that this is completely dry before painting. Do 2 coats of orange craft paint. When the paint has dried, apply a blackwash. Leave on for a few seconds and then wipe with a damp rag.

This paper mache pumpkin is a faceless one that can be used for fall decorating. Kids doing this project may like to draw on a face, using a black felt marker. The eyes, nose and mouth can then be painted on using black paint.  

Want something really different? Try painting a different color than the traditional orange and add a design.  

This is my version of Moon Eyes from the book Pumpkin Painting by Jordan McKinney.

Painted-pumpkin

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