DIY Wooden Pumpkin Tutorial

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There are two types of people in the world: the first kind will want these pumpkins all over the house come the first of October (my mom), and the second will look at them and say, “How does a piece of wood look like a pumpkin?” (my dad). If you’re part of the latter group, this project is probably not for you (though I do highly recommend that you work on your imagination just a wee bit), but if you belong to the former group, jump right in! They’re one of those projects that doesn’t cost much to make, isn’t too time-consuming, and gets you in the mood for cool, autumn weather (because I know some people have a hard time letting go of the summer heat, though I’m not one of those people).

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Supplies:

  • wood (although I often just use scrap wood that I find in my dad’s workshop- at least I think it’s scrap wood- I bought one piece of 5/4″ x 3″ lumber for this round of pumpkins. The great thing is that this will make multiple sets!)
  • fabric or felt (for the leaves; you won’t need much, just a scrap) 
  • 3 finishing nails
  • acrylic paint (orange and white)
  • jute
  • hot glue gun
  • hot glue sticks
  • sandpaper
  • floral wire
  • jewelry pliers
  • scissors
  • paint brushes
  • pencil
  • wax paper
  • leaf template 

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Start by cutting you piece of wood to the desired heights of your pumpkins (if you’re unable to do this part on your own then find someone who can; tell them that it’s super important). You can cut them to any length, depending on the look that you’re going for (we love all shapes and sizes here), but I cut mine to 6″, 4.5″ and 2.75″.

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Pick your paint; I chose Craft Smart’s acrylic paint in the color “Terra Cotta” for a more rustic look (plus, it’s the cheapest paint at Michaels). To keep the same color tone between the pumpkins I use the same orange paint in all three of the pumpkin colors and just add more white to the lighter ones. Scientific, I know, but this keeps the colors matching instead of just being scattered oranges (which is fine too, just not what I was going for!).

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Don’t worry about making the paint perfect and even, as long as they’re nicely covered it’ll work just fine since we’ll be sanding them later on.

Set the painted pumpkins on a piece of wax paper to dry and don’t forget to rinse out your brushes! I’ve lost a many a good brush to a forgetful mind. While you wait for the paint to dry you can move on to prepping the leaves and curlicues.

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If you choose to use fabric for the leaves then start by wetting the fabric and ironing it well. This makes it a little stiffer and easier to work with. If you choose to use felt, skip the ironing and go right ahead to downloading the leaf template. I used the 1.5″ leaf for this set. Trace three leaves, cut them out, and set them aside for later.

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Next cut three pieces of floral wire, 11″ each. Take your jewelry pliers and curl both ends of all three pieces over to form small loops.

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Wrap the wires around a small paintbrush or pencil to create three little springs. Set them aside with your leaves.

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By this time your pumpkins should be about dry, so it’s time to sand them. I do a nice sanding over the whole piece, but focus on the edges and corners so that everything is smooth and round.

Take your three finishing nails and hammer them into the middle of each of the pumpkins’ tops, leaving about 1″ exposed.

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Warm up your glue gun and cut three pieces of jute, 10″ each. Dab a spot of glue onto the back of the nail at the base and attach your jute. Wrap the jute around and up the nail, adding small dots of glue as you go, and finish it in the back. Cut off the extra jute, and repeat with the other two pumpkins.

(Note that unless you’re a professional glue-gun-wielder you will get burned by this step; I am a professional and I still ended up with a blister. It has occurred to me that you could use another type of glue that won’t burn you, but I just don’t have the patience to hold another glue until it sets, so I just use the hot glue and accept the risk of injury.)

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Take your leaves back out and put a dot of glue on the bottom corner and fold it in. Do the same on the other bottom corner, and repeat with the other two leaves.

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Glue the leaf to the back of the nail and glue the curlicue on top of that (facing in opposite directions). Make sure that the glue goes through the loop at the end of the curlicue so that it holds it securely in place.

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Repeat with the other two pumpkins, and they’re complete!

Throw them up on a shelf; display them in your office; tie them up with a piece of twine, add a cute tag, and give them as an autumn-y gift to a friend!

And now, if you’re not sick of them after the first set, get started on the next ones. Because you have the rest of that piece of wood to use up.

(Not crafty but still like the pumpkins? You can purchase a set here!)

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