Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to Decorate a Pumpkin - Without Using a Knife!

After I bought two pumpkins, a friend with a big garden gave me three more!  I decided one trip to the hospital this year was enough though, so we're not cutting any more pumpkins to make jack-o'-lanterns this year! (My son's hand slipped while carving one of them this week, and he ended up with stitches. You can read about that here.)

Yesterday, I started thinking about different ways to decorate our remaining pumpkins.  I was tempted to look for ideas on Pinterest, but instead decided to see what I could come up with on my own.   I made four very different pumpkins - and I really can't decide which I like best!
My four pumpkin creations - - and the culprit that cost my son a trip to the emergency room!
I approached this craft project with absolutely no idea of what the finished pumpkins would look like. I have a lot of sewing notions and crafting supplies left over from other projects, and I looked to these for inspiration.  It is best to keep an open mind, and let the personality of the pumpkin emerge.  Here are some tips.

Gather up items that might be useful materials to work with. For example:
  • sewing notions and crafting supplies 
  • office supplies, toothpicks, packing materials, etc
  • items in a “junk drawer” 
  • hair clips and accessories
  • costume jewelry 
  • glue, hot glue gun, paint, finishing nails, scissors, etc.
Look at the shape of each pumpkin, and consider what design might work well on it, using the supplies you have available. These characteristics of the pumpkin might give you some hints:
  • shape
  • size
  • type of stalk
  • degree of indentation of the ribbing down the sides of the pumpkin
  • blemishes, markings and color
Have a general idea of how you will proceed, and then just have fun!  I found it a little tough to get glue to stick to the shell of the pumpkin, but I had fairly good luck with Mod Podge and a hot glue gun.  Small finishing nails were helpful: thumbtacks would work well also.

Your supplies would be different than mine, but these easy steps for how I decorated each of my pumpkins, might be a helpful guide.  This is how I made each one:


#1.  Flowers and Friendly-Insects Pumpkin  

This pumpkin would be an appropriate centerpiece any time throughout autumn.
  • Cut four sections of glittery orange ribbon, long enough to run from the stem down to the bottom of the pumpkin.
  • Glue each ribbon (I used Mod Podge) along a rib of the pumpkin.
  • Secure the ribbons by pressing in finishing nails into the top and bottom of each one.
  • Repeat the same process with the checkered ribbon, placing it in-between the orange glittery ones.  
  • Attach a few artificial flowers and leafs with a beige chenille stem (previously these were called pipe cleaners!)  Tie a bow around the chenille stem with the checkered ribbon.
  • Glue a bee and a ladybug button on the side. (A hot glue gun worked best for this.)
Autumn-Garden Themed Pumpkin


#2. Patriotic American Pumpkin

This one was so easy and quick to make!!  (It would also be pretty using just white stars!)
  • Pull the protective covering off felt-like adhesive backed fabric stars, and stick the stars all over the pumpkin, making a random pattern of star sizes and colors. (I no longer had the packaging, so I am not sure what brand of stars these are. I bought them at a craft store.) 
  • Stick the ends of star-shaped silver paper-fasteners into the shell of the pumpkin, spacing them evenly all over the sides of the pumpkin. (These paper-fasteners are the kind with two sides that split and lay flat against the back of the page.)  Alternatively, flat silver thumbtacks would look nice!)
  • Glue a fabric flower (star shaped) to the end of the stalk, then push a star fastener down through the center of it.
Starry Pumpkin


#3 Little Pumpkin Girl

I said I don't have a favorite, but she has sort of stolen my heart! She almost looks like one of the “Who's” from “Whoville”!

The stem of this pumpkin was fairly tall, but really thick and blunt.  I decided it would be a good place to glue some hair.  The brown crinkly stuff is actually packing material that I had saved - thinking it would come in handy for something like this!
  • Cover the stem liberally with Mod Podge.  Start pressing the crinkly packing paper shreds against the stem, adding glue as necessary, and building it up until you create a “ponytail.”
  • Tie a ribbon around the base of the hairdo, and make a little bow.
  • Attach “googly eyes” with a hot glue gun.
  • Shape a red chenille stem into a mouth and attach with hot glue.
  • You could add a nose - but she just didn't seem to need one!
Such a cute little pumpkin girl!


#4 Lines and Swirls Pumpkin

None of these pumpkins were hard to do, but this one took a little more time and skill with the glue gun then I anticipated! I had originally planned to paint a design on this one ... but then I spied my pack of long black chenille stems!
  • Shape a black chenille stem into an interesting pattern.  Using a hot glue gun, apply glue along the full length, and then quickly press it onto the pumpkin
  • Repeat the previous step with as many chenille stems as need to make a design covering the full pumpkin.
  • Wrap the stalk with a chenille stem; coil the end, and glue it to the tip of the stalk.
Note: I haven't tested it yet, but I don't think the glue is hot enough to harm the surface of the pumpkin. This pumpkin could possibly last until (American) Thanksgiving. Another idea would be to use chenille stems in the autumn shades of brown, burgundy and gold, for both a Halloween and a Thanksgiving style.)

Swirled designs pumpkin


#5 Traditionally Carved Pumpkin

Here it is - the pumpkin that injured my son!  I think the only advantage a carved pumpkin has over the ones above, is that you can illuminate it from the inside.
The almost-carved, injury-causing pumpkin!
We will put a candle inside my son's creation on Halloween night; to light up the darkness we also have our electric, artificial pumpkin decoration!

We use this store-bought jack-o'-lantern every year!


It is rare that we have any trick-or-treaters visit us.  The houses in our neighborhood are just spread too far apart, and our driveway is too long and steep.  If it could be visible from the road, I would have participated in the teal pumpkin project, and painted one of these pumpkins teal. I have stocked up on a few non-food treats - just in case a child with allergies appears at my door.

I was quite surprised by how easy and how much fun these pumpkins were to make.
Which of these pumpkins do you like best?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!


  1. What an incredible project!!! I love the result :-)

  2. Those are so clever! Inspiring. I'm going to drag out my boxes (and boxes) of stuff and see what I can do!

    1. I hope we get to see what you create, Diane. I bet you are as imaginative with crafts as you are with words!

  3. I love them all! I think the Flowers and Friendly Insects pumpkin is my favorite - but honestly, they're all so cute! We carved our pumpkins last night and all I could think about was your son's stitches :)! Thanks for linking to the teal pumpkin project - I hope you get at least one trick or treater!

    1. Your favorite was the first one that I made. I hope my son's experience didn't ruin yours! And I was happy to link such a good idea as the teal pumpkins. I hope a lot of people have done it this year!

  4. What a heap of fun. The traditionalist in me probably likes the one which savaged your son best - but pumpkin girl has a lot of charm too.

    1. I like the traditional ones as well - or I did, before one "savaged" my son!

  5. I love this idea! I always sucked at carving pumpkins anyway so I just didn't do anything now I can do it without the stitches haha! Hope you son is feeling much better. Stitches in your hand are not fun at all!

    1. Thanks Rena - I hope you have fun if you try one of these next year!

  6. They are all good......I've always liked the illuminated pumpkins but I really like the wavy line pumpkin.

    1. Thanks Delores - it was one of my favorites too.

  7. They are all gorgeous but I especially love the Autumn Garden Pumpkin and the Little Pumpkin Girl! Very creative!!! :)

  8. These are soooooooo CUTE :)
    We don't celebrate Halloween here so all the decorations with pumpkins are not familiar here. I just love seeing what you all do
    Very creative and FUN

    1. I'm glad you like them Winnie! Maybe you can start some new traditions there :)

  9. I like them all! So cute!

  10. Thank you for posting on Motivation Monday!

    1. You are welcome Barb - I always love all the posts I see there!


If you enjoyed this post, I would love it if you share it on your social media sites and with your friends!