Papier-mâché Pumpkins -tips– How To Make Them – Well, since this was my first experience using this medium, let me tell you that I have learned a thing or two!
Firstly, you need to really exaggerate features with this clay.
(I love this clay and you are witnessing my learning process!) Thinking that I had exaggerated the features, the pumpkin was set aside to dry and the features began to seem less apparent, especially the eyebrows and the teeth. If you remember, the picture in the last post did look pretty soggy, right?
One batch of clay covered most of the small pumpkin and about half of the big pumpkin. So when this clay dried some, the features shrunk.
Dave helped me mix up another batch of the clay and this time we mixed in more of the cellulose fiber insulation creating a dryer clay. There should be less shrinkage with it. (The paddle worked great for this. We didn’t have any trouble with it. I guess the screw and nut worked perfectly.)
More clay was added to build up the brows and the teeth, and once again, the results looked pretty good. Yes, you can apply this right over top of the dry clay and it adheres perfectly! Be sure to blend in the edges. You can see where a crack was filled at the base of the stem, too. (Cracks are not a big deal. Imperfections and cracks can easily be filled with the clay.)
Secondly, I don’t know how Jay or Scott cover the pumpkin all in one day. Maybe they don’t. Granted, the clay I used was wetter, but even with the dryer clay, it was too wet to set on any surface, grid or otherwise. The next pumpkin attempted will begin with covering the bottom half. That will be allowed to dry, upside down, creating a nice foundation.
When the top half is covered first, there is a lot of weight pressing down on the wet base. You would be surprised at how much the pumpkin actually weighs. If the bottom is wet, that extra weight pressing down on it is not a good thing. Wouldn’t it be better to reverse the process?
Then, the top of the pumpkin and the features will be added. When the pumpkins above were turned upside down to allow the bottom to dry better, extra care not to smash any features had to be taken. Wouldn’t it just be easier to do the bottom first?
Thirdly, and last, the wetter clay did not brush so well. After the clay had dried, I rubbed a thin coat of the clay over the outside, a little at a time, and brushed it. That gave a smoother, more pumpkin-like texture. From the beginning, the dryer clay from the second batch was easier to brush and achieve the same results. Being able to apply numerous coats of clay makes this medium fun and easy to use.
As soon as this smaller pumpkin dries completely, it will be painted all over, inside and out, with flat black latex exterior paint. Drying is taking a little longer than I thought. Then, multiple layers of acrylic paint will be applied and lastly, a clear satin coat of polyurethane will be applied. Just waiting for these Papier-mâché Pumpkins to dry!
Want to keep up with progress on the pumpkins? Check out and Follow my Facebook page here ◄