When I was pregnant with my first child, I used to sit at my desk at work and daydream about all the things I would do when I was a mom and no longer chained to my desk 8-10 hours a day. Oh yes, they were lofty dreams. I assumed I would run and bake and sew and paint and achieve general domestic perfection. Now that I am living the dream, to that person I say “ha.” Without as much free time as I envisioned, my crafting goals have come down a few pegs. Our craft projects around here fall into the quick and dirty category (so many jokes, not enough word count).
My six-year-old daughter has been requesting some Halloween decorations for her room. When I undertake craft projections with the kids, I aim for cheap and forgiving (again, so many jokes). We grabbed this paper mâché pumpkin from Michael’s for $3. The rest of the materials we had at home. We used white, gold metallic, gold glitter, and orange acrylic paints, plus a glaze. I used Folk Art and Americana brands because that is what we had leftover from previous projects, but buy the cheap stuff because it doesn’t matter. I used a large brush, a small brush, and a tracing brush.
I started by mixing equal parts gold metallic paint and glaze. When I paint paper mâché, I prefer to let the brown paper show through slightly, as opposed to a more opaque look, so I mix most of my paint with glaze. Using my small brush, I roughly striped each ridge of the pumpkin with the gold mixture. After painting each stripe, I went back over it with the paint brush to smooth any paint that was pooling. After I showed her how, my daughter could do this step.
Next, I put circles made from painter’s tape randomly all over the pumpkin. If you’re not in a polka dot mood, skip his step. Then I made a mixture of glaze and white paint with just a dot of white paint mixed into the glaze. I wanted a soft white-washed effect and tested the paint on the bottom of the pumpkin until I was happy with the ratio of glaze to paint. Using the large brush, my daughter painted the entire pumpkin with the glaze. I went back over it with a paint-less brush to remove excess paint, but I had to act fast because the paint quickly absorbs into the paper. I then softly blotted the surface with a paper towel to remove any brush strokes. Next I used my thin brush dipped into pure gold metallic paint (no glaze) and made a thin line of gold paint down each ridge. Also using pure gold paint, I roughly outlined each polka dot – some dots I only partially outlined.
We let this step completely dry (and by “completely” I mean we patiently waited for ten minutes) before removing the tape dots. I cut out a circular piece of sponge, and my daughter dipped the sponge into gold paint and sponged gold paint into the center of each dot. I blotted the sponge on a paper towel a few times before she stamped to make sure there was only a light layer of paint on the sponge. Then we repeated the process with orange paint, stamping orange paint over the gold paint on each dot. You can use any color combination, and you could also stamp the dots directly onto the white paint without taping them off. The polka dots show up slightly better if taped off. After letting the polka dots dry, we coated the entire pumpkin with a mixture of gold glitter paint and glaze – we used about a 3:1 glaze to paint ratio but this entirely depends on how glittery you want it. We painted the stem gold and called it a day! From start to finish, even with drying, I think we only spent about 45 minutes.
While perhaps not a “perfect” pumpkin, it was a perfect craft to share with my daughter.