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Topic: Paper Mache Jack-O- Lanterns!  (Read 1749 times)
Tags for this thread: halloween , jack_o_lantern , occasions_2012_halloween_challenge  Add new tag
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TkRainy
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« on: November 04, 2012 05:53:48 PM »

This year my MIL was interested in finding lace or doilies to decorate pumpkins with. She lives alone with 2 large dogs and only has a part time job and school loans to pay off, so, when she couldn't find anything cheap, she just kind of gave up. I decided to give paper mache a try, because I love doing pretty much all kinds of different crafts and trying new ones out. My plan was to make her some pumpkins, then print out lace patterns to put on them. Then I showed her the website I found the tutorial on here: (http://www.stolloween.com/?page_id=67), and she decided she liked the pumpkins on there instead.

Their's are much much better than mine, but here are the ones I've made:







I spent all of October making these. I also made one with the face carved out for my dad, but I had already given it to him when I remembered to take pictures.

I personally used a mixture of flour, Elmer's Glue, and warm water as my paper mache paste. The paper mache clay was bought at Hobby Lobby, for about $8. We spent about 2 weeks collecting newspapers, however I only used like 1 Sunday paper. I stuffed the garbage bags with old Oprah Magazines... Basically, get the tips of your fingers wet, open the magazine and lay it on your lap like you are going to read it, place your finger tips at the top of the page, then start pulling down with just your fingers. It's quick and easy to get all of the regular pages off... The thick cardstock ones will probably stop you though.

I absolutely love Halloween. So imagine my disappointment, after I had spent all month making these, when my MIL didn't even put them outside and hand out candy. It was a real blow to me, because I have all sorts of friends who have me make them things and they don't seem to respect how much work I put into them. However, this project was about Halloween. I just cannot believe the disrespect my amazing Jack O Lanterns got. I was so proud of them.

I also made a small Pumpkin Pillow, based off a How To by Martha Stewart. I can't find the actual tutorial I followed, but the woman gave pretty much all credit to Martha Stewart.


I thought the fabric was a wonderful choice. This pumpkin was made with a 6" X 12" rectangle of fabric.

Mini Tutorial: Fold the rectangle in half so it's a square, sew the open side. Then sew the top and pull the thread tight so that it's gathered as much as possible. Stuff it with as much stuffing as you can shove in there, then sew up half to 3/4 of the bottom. Stuff more stuffing.... Just make sure it's over stuffed. Finish sewing the bottom, pull it tight tight tight, before tying off. Take thread and pull it through the top once, then wrap it around the side to the bottom. Pull it as tightly as possible without breaking the thread, stick the needle in and out the middle of the bottom, wrap it tightly around the side to the top, pull it tight, go through the top and wrap it to the bottom... Until you have all the ridges you want on your pumpkin. Then make a stem whichever way, I simply made a tube of brown fabric, stuffed, then sewed straight onto the top. Instant adorableness!

EDIT:
I feel since this competitions prize is Elmer's stuff, I should talk about it some more since I actually used it.  Huh I don't really know why, but whatever!

When I first started these pumpkins, I had read somewhere that paper mache paste made with just flour was the strongest you can make. Well, I was having a hard time with that. Basically, I did 2 layers on the first 2 pumpkins with just flour and water. They were flimsy, while there were only 2 layers I felt like my pumpkins would cave in if anyone so much as touched them. After that, I was really happy that I had brought my little container of Elmer's glue with me. That 1 half empty bottle was more than what I needed to make my paste a billion times better. Before, the newspaper strips were having a hard time staying in place while they dried. After I added the glue, not only did they stay in place but they dried much harder. I only planned on doing 3 layers on all of the pumpkins, and I got to stick to that plan for my first 2. My last 2 I only did 2 layers!

The pumpkins that you see here are still stuffed with newspaper for stability and weight. However, the one that I carved I had to take the stuffing out. I was pretty nervous about taking all the stuff out and possibly ripping open the whole pumpkin, but it had no problem. It is keeping it's shape wonderfully for just being paper mache and no support! I was a lot more worried about the pumpkin being blown away instead of crushed. Thanks to the glue!

Moral of the story: Definitely use some glue while making paper mache paste!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012 11:16:33 AM by TkRainy - Reason: Talk About Glue » THIS ROCKS   Logged

kaz814
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012 05:58:58 PM »

Great job!

I love the little pillow, too!
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LimeRiot
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012 06:06:34 PM »

I'm shocked that your MIL didn't want to display these front and center!! I really love them - they have a lot of personality and I like the rustic aged look. I might keep them up all year Smiley. You should be really proud of them!
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TkRainy
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012 09:30:48 PM »

Thank you so much!

I really am SO disappointed about it. I mean, that much work and she didn't even hand out candy. I don't understand how she felt that would go over with me, but I haven't said anything to her. I just convinced my BF to let me go trick or treating. (I was raised Jehovah Witness, so I didn't get to do it as a kid. So why not?  Wink)

However, my dad put his out! I did spray them with some clear sealant but it's been raining a lot so it wasn't out for long. But at least he celebrated the holiday.
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012 08:46:28 AM »

Next year, you can send me pumpkins instead Smiley. I will display them proudly!!

Unfortunately, I think it's relatively common for people to underestimate the work and care that goes into creating handmade gifts like this. You'll always find support and admiration among the crafty people here though!
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012 09:05:45 AM »

Those are amazing! Such personalities!

I'm sorry they weren't appreciated at home, but they certainly are on here, I'm glad you shared them! Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012 09:22:06 AM »

These pumpkins are so adorable!  Pooh on your MIL.  I adore these!
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TkRainy
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2012 11:04:06 AM »

Thank you everybody, you all are making me feel much better! I feel like starting on xmas stuff now!
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microjivvy
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012 04:55:23 AM »

Mr. Jivvy and I were both sick this year, so no handing out candy for us, but I believe if we had these marvelous pumpkins for inspiration, we would have made the effort -- I love their distinct personalities and their wonderfully vintage look.  We've a front stoop with several steps and I would have been proud to have such pumpkins greeting all the trick-or-treaters.
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