Paper mache pumpkins are a classic fall craft! They’re SO EASY to make and they’re a really fun craft to make as a family. Add some homemade charm to your fall decor with DIY paper mache pumpkins!
Paper Mache Pumpkins
These paper mache pumpkins are so cool! They may be a bit messy to make, but they look great and cost WAY less than the expensive decorative pumpkins you can find at the store.
And no worries about struggling with balloons for these paper mache pumpkins! We used pillow stuffing inside a plastic bag to create perfect ridges for the pumpkin shape.
Pumpkins are a clear sign of fall weather and Halloween approaching, and a paper mache pumpkin is a fun decoration that, unlike real pumpkins, you’ll be able to keep out until Thanksgiving. In fact, it’ll last for years to come!
Check out our Paper Mache Pumpkins video tutorial:
*Note: Scroll down for the step-by-step photo tutorial.
Looking for more pumpkin crafts? Here’s some of our favourites:
Here’s what you’ll need:
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The full printable instructions are at the end of this post, but here’s a list of products on Amazon and Target that are similar to the supplies we used:
What can I use instead of fiber fill stuffing?
If you don’t have fiber fill you can stuff the plastic bag with: filling from an old pillow (that’s what we used), crumpled newspaper, more plastic bags, crumpled tin foil, old t-shirts, old towels, or even rice.
You can also forget the stuffed grocery bag and do paper mache over a punch balloon. These balloons are perfectly stretchy and flexible enough to create ridges in the pumpkin. We don’t recommend using a regular balloon because the pumpkin grooves won’t go deep enough and your pumpkin will look like a ball.
What if I don’t have newsprint?
If you don’t have newsprint, you can definitely use another type of paper for your paper mache pumpkin. Some alternatives you can use are: paper towels, construction paper, lined school paper, tissue paper, or even blue shop towels.
How to Make Paper Mache Pumpkins
Step 1: Form pumpkin base
- Stuff the plastic bag with fiber fill stuffing. We used the stuffing from an old pillow.
- Tie a knot in the grocery bag, close to the fiber fill, making sure all the air is pushed out.
- Cut the handles off the bag so you're left with a few inches of plastic above the knot.
- Fold the remaining handle around itself and use masking tape to make a stem for the pumpkin.
- Cut a piece of yarn long enough to fit around the pumpkin (about 20 inches).
- Tie the yarn around the pumpkin and pull tight, creating ridges for the pumpkin.
- Tie a knot in the tightened yarn and cut off the loose strings close to the knot.
- Tie three more strands of yarn around the pumpkin at different angles, creating the ribs of the pumpkin. You should see a pie shape on the bottom of the pumpkin.
- Your pumpkin is now ready to have paper mache added to it.
Step 2: Paper mache the pumpkin
- Add 1-1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of flour.
- Whisk the mixture together until there are no clumps remaining.
- Rip up the strips of newspaper into various sizes. Our strips ranged from 1/2 to 2 inches wide and they were 4 to 6 inches long.
- Place a strip of newspaper into the paper mache mixture, dipping it completely. Use your fingers to wipe off the excess paste.
- Place the strip vertically on the pumpkin, smoothing it down with your fingertips.
- Add more strips of paper with paper mache paste on them, putting some horizontally, and overlapping the strips as you work your way around the pumpkin.Placing the strips at different angles makes the paper mache stronger.
- Continue adding strips of newspaper until the top of the pumpkin is covered.
- Then add paper mache strips to the stem of the pumpkin, making sure to cover the top of the stem.
- Flip the pumpkin upside down and place the stem of the pumpkin in a mason jar or glass.
- Begin adding strips of paper mache to the bottom of the pumpkin.
- Allow the paper mache pumpkin to dry on the mason jar for 24 hours. Then add a second layer of paper mache following the steps above. Allow the second layer of paper mache to dry for 24 hours before painting it.
Step 3: Paint paper mache pumpkin
- Once your second layer of paper mache is dry you can add a white coat of paint or primer to cover the entire pumpkin. This is optional but we find that it takes fewer coats of orange paint to cover the newsprint if you paint it white first.
- Paint the top of the pumpkin orange and the stem brown. Allow to dry for at least 30 minutes.
- When the top is dry enough to handle, paint the bottom of the pumpkin orange.Paint a second coat of orange and brown paint on the pumpkin and stem if needed.
- Paint lines down from the base of the stem into the grooves of the pumpkins to give the stem more shape. Start thicker near the stem and taper down into a point, almost like a triangle.
- Your paper mache pumpkin is complete!
You can draw a jack-o-lantern face onto the side of these paper mache pumpkins for a spooky touch. Or make several pumpkins of different sizes and shapes to make a pretty little grouping for your Thanksgiving table. They’ll stay beautiful year after year!
Here’s even more fun pumpkin craft ideas:
Our book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids is loaded with 72 fun and simple craft ideas for kids! The projects are fun, easy and most importantly low-mess, so the clean up is simple!