Its that time of the year when the Summer is ending, and Halloween seems just around the corner. I start seeing the fall items appear in stores and immediately want to start making Halloween decorations. For the past two years I have made “gourd guys” with the faux pumpkins and gourds you can find at any craft stores. First I turned them into ornaments and a topper for my Halloween tree
. Then last year year I used them to create a wreath
. This year I still had the urge to paint their little faces but wanted to create something new.
-faux gourds and pumpkins, these come in all kinds of sizes and you just want to pick something that matches up with the size of your jars
-floral picks with red berries for noses, these are found in the floral section of most craft shops and come in all sorts of sizes. Round balls or some times longer oval shaped berries.
-acrylic paint and brushes
-glue, I used a hot glue gun
-glass jars and corks that fit into them
-sharp x-acto knife for cutting into bottom of pumpkins
Follow my tutorial for painting the pumpkins faces found here.
Trace the top of the cork onto bottom of your pumpkin or gourd, and use x-acto blade to carefully cut away a space for the cork.
Use hot glue and hold cork in place while it dries. Thats it! Its very easy!
You can make tiny jars, or bigger jars which I think would make fun gifts filled with candy. You can fill your jars with sweets, colored water for potions, or even something like bobby pins, q-tips, etc and display them in the bathroom to bring some Halloween decor to other rooms in your home. If you choose to make some and post it on social media please consider using the hashtag #gourdguys so I can find it.
Here is a little walk-through for the painted pumpkin ornaments I made. They are very easy, so I feel a little silly calling it a DIY, but maybe reading through the whole process will be helpful to some.
The main supply for this project is foam pumpkins and gourds. I found mine in the Fall section of Walmart. The small sizes were 97¢ each and the large one which I used as a tree topper was $5. I love all the various shapes and sizes they come in. I have seen foam pumpkins elsewhere, lots of craft supply shops carry them, and they are sometimes sold grouped in a bag. The noses came from Michael’s craft store. I found them in the aisle with some of their floral Christmas picks. I picked up two sizes but perfered the larger size. The small ones would be great if you have smaller foam pumpkins.
You’ll also need craft paint, paint brushes, and if you’d like them to be ornaments you’ll need string and a big needle. I used some black elastic I got on clearance at Joann Fabrics, but string will go through the rubbery stems a lot easier.
I think the key with painting these fellas is to just go for it. Free hand some various eye shapes and let them dry. Even though I used a high quality craft paint I still found I had to go over my eyes a second time. Once my eyes were dry I liked to go ahead and snip off a berry leaving a stem of wire that was about 1/2 inch long. Since the pumpkins are foam you can just push the nose in place with the wire, no need to even glue it there. The mouths only took one coat of paint, and then I added the blacks to the eyes.
Once all that paint has dried you can just dab on little teeth and highlights in the eyes. I didn’t worry so much about making any of the faces perfect, and even ones I didn’t like so much while painting look really great when they are all grouped together on the tree. So try not to stress about painting them. Most of all just enjoy yourself, and have fun! I especially liked painting the grumpy ones.
You can even add leaves and tendrils to the top of your pumpkins and gourds just by pushing the wired areas in the foam like the nose. My berries came with a few leaves so I used those. If you’d like to make a tree topper like I did, just paint the large pumpkin the same way and then use a knife to carve a small deep hole into the bottom. Since they are foam it cuts really easily. I then just pushed the pumpkin down onto the top of my tree and it stays put perfectly.
This is a very easy DIY if you are used to using a scroll saw. If you don’t own a scroll saw you could always mount these cats to some thick card stock or cardboard to make a festive thread holder instead.
Print the vintage cat images
, and mount them to a thin board of wood. I used a inexpensive piece of pine from the craft store and a matte gel medium
to mount the paper to the wood. Spread the medium on thinly with a foam brush. Then you can use a brayer or lightly press down with your hands to help smooth the paper to the wood. Allow to dry completely and then use your scroll saw to cut out your cats. You can lightly sand the edges, and seal the entire thing with a clear coat to protect it from wear. If you don’t want to use them as a thread holder, they also look great on the wood just stood around the house as a spooky cat decoration!
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