Friday, October 7, 2011

Jack-o-Lantern Totes

Picture taken by my talented sister, Aria

Several years ago I was smitten with all things vintage where Halloween is concerned. I found the cutest vintage-looking fabric for my son's clown costume and knew that he needed a tote with the same vintage-charm. I knew that back in the day, jack-o-lanterns were made with paper mache so I figured that I could make some for myself. Thankfully, my planned worked and we have used them ever since. Here is how I make them:
First (and not pictured. Woops), cover a balloon 3/4's of the way up with several layers of strips of newspaper and paper mache paste. Let dry and pop the balloon. Press down your bowl so that the bottom flattens in slightly. Cut top down to the height you want it:

Cover form with about a 1/4 of an inch of paper clay or Celluclay (I like to keep a bowl of water by me so that my hands can stay wet. I find that the clay doesn't stick to me as much like this).

Leave bottom basically uncovered:

Add extra clay around the rim so that it is a little thicker:

Flatten rim with your finger so that it is even:

With your wet fingers, carve out your jack-o-lantern's face features by pushing the clay off to the side or removing it completely.

Carve pumpkin ridge lines every so many inches around your jack-o-lantern by pressing finger down at the forms base and pulling upwards:

If there are any lines or edges that need smoothing, wet your hands and softly smooth the clay out. When done, let dry in the sun (or in your oven on warm).

When dry, paint however you please:
 (I like to use a mix of Americana Tangerine and Jack-o-lantern orange acrylic pain)

When your paint is dry, slightly dilute a small amount of black paint and lightly wipe on your jack-o-lantern (I suggest starting in the back so that you can make any learning mistakes there where it won't be as noticed) in small sections at a time. Then wipe the area down with a damp cloth until you get enough of the antique look that you like:

 After spraying your pumpkin with a finish (like this. I like mine glossy because I think it looks nice) to keep it safe from the elements, drill two holes near the top on opposite edges for the wire. Then decide how long you want your wire chain (I buy my wire at Home Depot in a big roll for about $3) and cut a piece twice that length. Fold in half and twist all the way down.

To attach chain, (1) take sharp end and thread through one whole going from the inside out. (2) Pull chain through until the other end of the chain catches on the inside. (3) Continue to pull chain up and over until you thread it through the opposite hole going from the outside in:

Bend the sharp tip in towards itself so that it creates a loop and holds in place.

Tah-dah! All done! Now you are ready for your trick-or-treater to collect as much loot as they please on Halloween night! I hope this tutorial was helpful! Have a wonderful Halloween!


Robin @ Bird On A Cake said...

These are super cute!

Jaimee @ Havenwood House of Boys said...

Holy crud are these amazing?!?! Your costumes are fabulous, too! Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm your newest follower : )
Jaimee @

Janet said...

What a cute little pumpkin! It looks like it's fun to make too. :)

Unknown said...

Totally adorable! You painted the cutest little face! I'd be thrilled if you'd link this idea here:

Kim@todayismysome-day said...

What a happy little pumpkin! I'm sure all the kids will want one :)

Came over via Southern Lovely.


Morgan said...

Hi! Just found your site via Totally Tutorials, and I must say I am your newest follower and fan! Your site it AMAZING, you are so talented, and I just LOVE every single cotton-pickin' post! :) I'm so happy that you are sharing your creativity and awesome tutorials, thank you!


ps-Your babies are absolutely PRECIOUS!

senovia said...

I love these pumpkins! Thanks for sharing!

Twigs and Twirls said...

Very Cute !!

Marie said...

What a fun project! Thanks for linking up with us at Show & Share! Can't wait to see what you link up this week!


Cap Creations said...

Wow you did a great job with these! Love it!

Jenn Erickson said...

Absolutely love the vintage style of your paper mache pumpkins. Beautifully done!


Kids craft ideas said...

Love it, thanks for sharing.

St. Patrick's Holiday Craft Bazaar said...

My son and I tried to make paper mache pumpkins just like this and failed! They were too thin. Great link to the paper mache clay, that will help so much. Thanks!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

These are just adorable!! They have a great vintage Halloween look!

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing your fun pumpkin project. I have been wondering what type and gauge of wire did you use for the pumpkin totes? What section/dept of Home Depot did you find the wire?


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