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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DIY Translucent Faux Pumpkin [Part 1]

The autumn themed crafts continue! This is supposed to be the last project to be posted, but it's taken me forever to get done and I found another project to make after this one! It's been quite a hassle to work with and I ran (and currently still running) into a lot of pitfalls. As with most of my craft projects, I usually fly by the seat of my pants and hope for the best. In the process of imminent fails and shaky recoveries, I learned a lot!

This post will be in two parts since I technically haven't finished it. It's not really a tutorial per-say.... more of a step-by-step photo documentary of the process and its trial and errors.

I was originally inspired by Martha Stewart's translucent pumpkins tutorial that I pinned on my Pinterest board. Martha used real pumpkins, of course. I have only carved one real pumpkin ever in my life and it was a mess and a half. I decided to try a faux pumpkin instead. (No seeds!) I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon which came out to be about $25. It's the Funkins brand, which is pricier, but higher quality and more realistic looking than other faux pumpkins. I figured it would be a long term investment.

I wasn't sure if I could spray paint the pumpkin since I read on the Funkins website that it was made of foam. If you've ever spray painted cheap styrofoam before, you know that spray paint literally melts it. I was terrified of seeing my $25 investment melt before my very eyes so I scoured Google for answers and even sent an e-mail to Funkins about it.

Coming up blank for real answers on Google and impatient for the Funkins rep to respond to my e-mail, I went ahead and bit the bullet and spray painted it. I used Krylon Satin spray paint in ivory. I wanted my stem to stay the same color so I taped it off with blue painter's tape.

It took about 3 coats of paint before I was please with the outcome. It was difficult to get good coverage between the grooves. Look! It didn't melt!

When I removed the painter's tape from the stem, I was a little disappointed to find that it took off some paint as well.

I mixed up some brown and purple acrylic paint and touched up the stem. Tada! Much better looking!

Next, I scoured for a suitable monogram letter "O" to use. I finally settled on the "O" from the "Horst" type face. I printed it off and carefully taped the paper on the pumpkin while trying to mold the paper into the grooves of the pumpkin's surface.

Then, I grabbed my X-acto blade, various attachment blades, a large sharp needle, and a marker.

I took the sharp needle and gently poked holes all the way around the the outline of the "O" so I mark the pumpkin and see where to cut.

Here's all the holes poked.

Carefully peeled the paper off.

Outlined the "O" with the red marker so I could see it better.

I picked this attachment blade for my X-acto. I guess I could've used the regular triangular blade, but this one was shorter and I didn't want to cut all the way through.

I just gently scored around the outline. I did NOT cut all the way through the foam.

After I scored the outline, I changed to this flat blade and started gently peeling away the upper layer of the pumpkin "skin" so I could get to the foam underneath.

At this point, I failed to take anymore photos because I got too caught up in carving. I must say that foam pumpkins are a bit iffy to carve. The foam adds a bit more friction than real pumpkin "flesh." It is still a bit messy with foam bits everywhere so I advise doing this outdoors. I used my front porch.

The flat blade of my X-acto did well in peeling away the upper layer, but I needed a more curved cutter to get into the rounded corners of the 'O.' So, I went to the art supply store in town and purchased an overpriced Speedball linoleum cutter set. I used the largest (size #5) cutter and "scooped" away at the foam.

This tool definitely made the carving SO much easier! I've seen people use it for carving real pumpkins too!

This is the part where this project became a................ CRAFT FAIL.

The bad thing about this certain carving technique is that it's difficult to gauge the thickness of the foam. Some areas were a lot thinner than I expected and some were a lot thicker than I thought. I over carved at one point and gouged a huge hole. :(

I went ahead and said "F@#* IT!" (while outdoors with the neighbors' children playing... oops) and just carved out the entire area where it was supposed to be "translucent." This is how it currently looks.

I even broke off a part of the middle "section" and had to glue it back together. :(

I have a vague idea on how to fix it! I do hope it works! I am a little sad at the moment. :( Are there any craft fails that you guys have encountered and fixed/revived?

Thanks for reading! I hope you guys are having a great morning so far!


1 comment:

  1. Oh my! I am writing a CraftFail book right now, and I would like to use this in my book! can you email me at and let me know if it's okay?