Halloween Pumpkins: paper mache your own pumpkin

Paper Mache Pumpkin

Materials Needed:

  • Liquid Starch
  • Newspaper
  • Large bowl or small tub
  • String
  • 1 large round balloon
  • Orange and orange paint
  • Paintbrush

Cover the work surface with newspaper. When you are done you can just throw it all away. Inflate balloon so that it is almost all blown up. We want a little play with it so don’t blow it up too full. This is the base of your pumpkin.

Rip or cutup all of the newspaper into thin strips about 6-8″ long. Pour the starch in your tub and you are ready to begin.

Making the Pumpkin

Take a handful of the torn newspaper and add it to the starch. Mix it around so every part gets saturated. Go ahead, get dirty. Now one by one add the strip onto the balloon making sure to overlap them as you go. After the balloon is completely covered, add another layer all over for strength. Repeat this until there are four layers. Wet the whole balloon down by rubbing the starch all over it to insure no part has begun to dry.

Now you need to put the ridges in the pumpkin. It is easier with two people but possible with one. Taking your string, loop it around the balloon and tighten until the string is sunken below the surface of the balloon slightly. Knot. Turn the balloon and repeat until you have divided the balloon into eight parts with string. Repair any paper areas that may have shifted.

Making the stem

Using newspaper strips, roll up the strips until you have a round cylinder shape about 2″ long by 1″ thick. You can make it longer and thicker but this gives you a beginning. Attach it to the top of the pumpkin and use additional strips of starched paper to adhere it. Make sure you do not lose the string indentations.

Finishing off

Allow to dry completely. You can now sand any rough edges and paint the pumpkin orange and the stem green. If you are feeling creative paint your pumpkin a nontraditional color and add leaves and vines.

You can also include a Jack-o-lantern face.

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