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Wednesday, October 29, 2014
HOW TO TAKE YOUR PUMPKIN DECORATING TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Now that we’re well into autumn, Halloween and fall decorations are never far from people’s minds. With fall’s beautiful colors and the easy availability of pumpkins and gourds, fall décor is something that anyone can get into, and The Big Basket is no exception! We decided to bring some of the festivity of fall inside to liven up our office space – and what better way to do so than with some pumpkins?
To really kick things up a notch, we decided our pumpkins needed to be embellished, but the iconic carved pumpkin isn’t exactly office friendly (who really wants to deal with that mess and smell inside, anyway?). So, as an alternative, we dug through Pinterest and used our imaginations to come up with some less messy, indoor-appropriate ways to take our pumpkins to the next level! And with several different people decorating these pumpkins, you can be sure that there are some techniques in here that even the least crafty person can conquer. So read on for step-by-step directions on how you can create your own pumpkin masterpieces to add to your fall centerpieces!
100 or more metal thumb tacks
Dry erase marker (optional)
This first pumpkin decorating technique is really pretty simple. All it requires is creating a design out of thumb tacks! One tool you might choose to use to aid you in creating your design is a dry erase marker. As long as your pumpkin is clean and dry, a dry erase marker will wipe right off of most pumpkins. This is really helpful if you are unsure of what you want to do with your design, because it allows you to change what it looks like without putting extra holes in your pumpkin. Extra holes should be avoided, if possible, because any holes you create that are not covered by a tack will eventually turn brown and will be noticeable on your final creation.
Once you have your design drawn on your pumpkin, or at least in your mind, begin pushing thumb tacks into your pumpkin to create your design. Keep in mind that the edges of your tacks will stick out past where you push the point in, so unless you want the tacks to overlap, keep them spaced out. If any of your dry erase design shows once you have finished pushing in your pins, erase what is visible, and your pumpkin is finished!
Pumpkin (the smoother the surface, the better)
Rubber alphabet stamps
Phrase or quote
The first step in creating this pumpkin is to choose a phrase to stamp onto your pumpkin (this example uses the first stanza of the poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe). While you are choosing, keep in mind that the size of your pumpkin and your stamps will affect how much text you can fit onto your pumpkin. Once you have chosen what you are going to stamp, create a template to work from. You can either do this by writing out your phrase by hand in letters roughly similar to your stamps, or you can change the font size on your computer to be similar to your stamps (tip: if you are copying and pasting text into a word document and don’t want to have to retype everything by hand to make it all capital letters, highlight your text and press “Shift” and “F3” at the same time to toggle through different capitalization styles)
Once you have your template, fold it in half perpendicular to your text. This will create a center line from which you will work to stamp out your phrase. Then choose a crease on your pumpkin that runs all the way from top to bottom and is fairly straight (the crease that was used for this example is indicated with black dots on the picture below). This crease will correspond to the fold that you created in your template paper and will help you keep your text lined up properly.
Now, begin stamping the letters onto your pumpkin, starting with a letter that is centered on the fold or lies just to the right of it, and work your way right. After you have completed the right half of the line, stamp the left half, working from that center line and out to the left (you will be spelling your words backwards here, so be careful to pay close attention to your template). If you have a long phrase, this will take quite some time. You may find it helpful to arrange your stamps alphabetically to help you find them as you go along. If any of your letters do not come out cleanly and have gaps in them because of creases in the pumpkin, instead of trying to re-stamp them, you can dip just the corner of the stamp into your ink and fill in any gaps manually.
Glittered Chevron Pumpkin
Masking or painter’s tape
To create this glittery pumpkin, first take your tape and tape off any areas where you do not want the glitter to stick. This is the hardest part of this decorating method because it can be difficult to get the lines to match up just right. One trick that you can use to make this easier is to take a dry erase marker and draw equally-spaced dots at an equal height all around the pumpkin. These will be the top points of your chevron stripe, so make sure there is plenty of room between them. Then, take your dry erase marker and draw a second row of dots an inch or two below the first row, with each dot centered between the two above it. If you then connect those two rows of dots, you will have your first row of taping complete. You can then use the creases on the pumpkin to help serve as a guide for where to put the points of your next row by keeping the points of your chevron the same distance from the crease as the point directly above it. To make your points nice and sharp, trim any overhanging ends of tape with your X-Acto blade.
After the areas where you do not want the glitter to stick are completely covered with tape, place a large piece of paper below it to catch any stray glitter. Then take your spray adhesive and spray the untaped areas on one side of the pumpkin. Sprinkle glitter over the untaped areas until they are well covered. Then, rotate your pumpkin and repeat the process on the other sides until all of the untaped areas are covered with glitter. When you are finished, find an end of your tape and peel it all away, revealing your chevron-striped pumpkin!
Scotch tape (optional)
This colorful pumpkin is a lot of fun to create, but can get a bit messy, so be sure to first protect your work area with some newspaper or scrap computer paper. Then you will want to select your crayons (for a medium sized pumpkin, you’ll need about a dozen full sized crayons). Later on as you melt the wax onto the pumpkin, the colors of the crayons will mix together, so be sure to select crayons that will blend well together and won’t end up making strange shades of brown or grey. The easiest way to make sure you don’t get any not-so-pretty colors is to arrange your crayons in rainbow order, without skipping any of the primary colors.
Then, take your crayons and peel off the wrappers. After you have the wrappers peeled off, you’ll want to break them in half so that the wax stops dripping about half-way down your pumpkin. Then, heat up your glue gun and glue all of your crayon halves to the top of your pumpkin. It may be difficult to get the crayons to stick to the hot glue (only a few of our actually stuck well, possibly because they were a different brand), but this is not difficult to fix. If your crayons will not stick with hot glue alone, you can use the hot glue to create a “cradle” for the crayons, and then use a few long pieces of tape to secure the back ends of the crayons to each other. The tape will be removed later, so don’t worry about how it looks.
Once your crayons are secure, take your hair dryer and turn it onto low speed but high heat. Then begin to heat your crayons. Be patient and hold the hair dryer in one place and let a few crayons begin to melt at a time. As your crayons melt, you can remove the any tape you may have used to help hold them in place. If you feel like you need more crayons in any one place, you can just stick the new pieces into the melted wax. Once you have finished melting all of your crayons, you can then add some glitter to the melted wax to bring a little bit of sparkle to your pumpkin!
Now that you’ve got a whole colletion of decorated pumpkins, be sure to show them off around your house or office (and, if you didn’t know, upturned baskets make wonderful pumpkin pedestals! Just make sure to add a layer of protection, such as some plastic wrap, between your pumpkin and basket, in case the pumpkin begins rotting).
Remember how we said that dry erase markers work really well on pumpkins? Well, why not make a Halloween countdown pumpkin using a dry erase marker and some fancy writing? Happy Halloween everyone!