How to make a paper mache pumpkin

By Calasandra Spray (TheLorian)

Once again, fall has arrived with it’s chilly days. Luckily, fall décor can combat those early evening blues with bright pops of orange, red, and yellow. And what says fall like a pumpkin? Unfortunately, real pumpkins can get messy to keep indoors, but store bought pumpkins look too fake.

A fun solution is to create your own pumpkin with paper mache. To do this you’ll need flour, water, newspaper, a grocery bag, tape, paint, and a few free hours.

Getting started, I recommend setting up a place for your pumpkin to dry where the bottom will also get air flow. Personally, I used a cookie drying rack with some paper towels underneath to catch any drip from the glue. After you know where the pumpkin is going, it’s time to actually make the pumpkin. Take the grocery bag and stuff it with newspapers; once it is completely full you can tie off the top. At this stage, it should look round like a ball.

However, as we all know, pumpkins have ridges. In order to create the shape needed you have to wrap the bag in tape. Cut three equal strips of tape, large enough to wrap around the circumference of your bag. Place the edge of the tape over the knot created from the bags knot and wrap around the entire bag. Repeat with the other pieces of tape spaced around the pumpkin. There should now be six ridges around the bag.

To complete the look, your pumpkin will need a stem. Take a half a page of newspaper and crumple it until it’s a cylindrical shape. Wrap the cylinder in tape to hold its shape. Once you’re happy with your stem, secure it to the pumpkin. I found the most stability by cutting six small pieces of tape and laying them flush with the pumpkin spines; curving the tape upwards to stick onto the stem. After the stem was connected to the spines, I wrapped one last piece of tape around the six smaller ones so that everything was secure. Your bag should now look like a pumpkin.

Now that you’ve achieved a desired shape you need paper mache to cement it. To create the glue warm water, either on the stove or in the microwave. Once the water is warm add flour one spoonful at a time until it is a desired consistency. The paste should be neither watery nor lumpy. Dip strips of newspaper into the paste and begin coating the bag with the strips. Make sure to push out any air bubbles and cover every surface of your pumpkin. Here is where it’s important to layer, layer, layer. I made three layers of newspaper over my pumpkin.

After the pumpkin is coated in paper mache, set it on your predesignated drying space and let it sit for 2-3 days. Once dry you can paint your pumpkin and your new fall décor is complete. Enjoy your pumpkins!

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