A Fancy but Frugal Recycled Paper Craft for Home Decorating this Autumn Season!
I love Fall! And I have a feeling that you do too! Pumpkin lattes, a warm fireplace, a cozy blanket and a good book, leaves changing color, getting to wear new jackets and old sweaters,…. seriously! What’s not to love? The only thing that I do not love is the cost of holiday decor. Why does a plastic pumpkin have to cost 3 times more than a real one??
Well, no matter, it is my motivation for making my own little pumpkins this Autumn. These little papier-mache pumpkins are so fun to make! They are easy and inexpensive, but in all honesty, a little time consuming. So, grab your pumpkin latte, call a few friends to join you, get out the newspapers and let’s get busy.
SKILL LEVEL: easy
COST: under $5
flour and warm water
whisk and bowl (plastic works great because the mache washes off easier)
recycled papers such as newspaper, magazines, old books
masking tape or duct tape
acrylic craft paints OR scrapbooking papers and Mod Podge
(It helps to have a wet cloth nearby so you can wipe you hands off in case your phone rings.)
DIY PAPIER-MACHE RECIPE:
Crafters Note: This recipe doesn’t have any exact measurements. I suggest starting with a small batch and once you decide how many pumpkins you are making and you get the hang of it, you can make more.
- Pour some flour into the bowl. Start with around 3/4 cup, don’t measure, just eye-ball it!
- Now start adding warm water and whisking.
- Add a small amount of water at a time to your flour. Continue to whisk the mixture until it looks like thick pancake batter. It’s just that easy!
PAPIER-MACHE PUMPKINS INSTRUCTIONS:
Make the base of your pumpkin by wadding up balls of paper and continue wrapping papers around the ball until you reach the pumpkin size you desire. Now, smash the ball against the table to flatten it a little. This gives it more of a pumpkin shape rather than a perfectly round ball.
Secure the wadded up paper pumpkin by tearing off some pieces of tape and applying it to the pumpkin so that it doesn’t unravel and come apart.
Tear your recycled papers for the pumpkins into approximately 1 inch strips. There is no need to measure or be exact; some strips will be bigger and some smaller. Make a huge pile! I didn’t count how many strips or pages I used, but it is easier to make as many strips as possible now rather than later when your hands are messy!
Create a small stem for each pumpkin by taking one of the strips of paper and roll it up tightly and secure it with tape. This will be the stem; tape it to the top of the pumpkin form.
Ready to get messy? Whip up the pumpkin papier-mache recipe in a plastic bowl and prepare your work space by putting down some newspaper or wax paper. Begin by dragging a strip of paper through the papier-mache batter, use your fingers to pull of the excess batter and then wrapping it around the pumpkin form. Smooth down and continue adding strips. Smooth down the strips by adding some batter to your fingers and rubbing over the pumpkin form; this will get the air out and keep the seems from pulling apart as it dries. You will need to apply approximately 3 layers of paper to cover the base sufficiently.
Set your finished papier-mache pumpkins forms in a dry, warm area to air dry completely; this usually takes a day or two depending on the humidity and thickness of your papier-mache. If you want to hurry the process along you can put the pumpkins on a cookie sheet in the oven at 180 degrees until dry (approximately 1-2 hours). You will know when it is completely dry, not only will you feel the dryness but the pumpkin will be very hard and you won’t be able to make an indention in it when applying pressure. If it does indent, either it is not completely dry or you haven’t applied enough layers. If the latter is true you need to go back to the previous step and apply another layer or two.
Crafters Note: It is very important to make sure that your pumpkins are completely dry before moving on to the next phase or you risk the chance that your pumpkin will begin to rot from the inside out from the moisture!
Time to decorate!
You have several options at this point. You can tear more strips of decorative paper and apply to the pumpkins with Mod Podge or you can use acrylic craft paint. I really like the black and white look from the strips of paper so I tore up more strips from several old books and applied with Mod Podge. I made larger ones last year which I painted and decorated with glitter. This is the fun part and you can do anything you want so go at it!
Crafting Technique Tip: I used green Mod Podge for the stems of my pumpkins. This gave an awesome transparent finish so that the stem is green while you can still see the print on the paper. If you don’t have any green Mod Podge lying around you can add a drop or two of green acrylic paint or ink to the Mod Podge. Another idea is to tint your Mod Podge orange for a cool finish for your pumpkin.
Seal them! Once you have decorated your pumpkins, whether using paint or paper, you will need to seal them. You can use a Polyurethane Spray (if using glitter I’d recommend this finish) or just add a coat of Mod Podge. However, keep in mind that these are made of paper and the top coat will not protect them from dissolving if exposed to water. Display inside.
Did you like my little recycled papier-mache pumpkins craft? Be sure to stop back by Indoor Outdoor Space for many more upcycled seasonal decorations to whip up yourself on a shoe-string budget. Subscribe to our newsletter for the latest tutorials and freebies delivered to your inbox. You can find more upcycled and recycled paper decor at my own site, The Ragged Rose.
Until our next craft adventure,
DIY & Crafts Author at Indoor Outdoor Space