Make a Crepe Paper Pumpkin

Crepe paper isn't just for party streamers! Create a gorgeous fall display with our grown-up spin on papier-mâché.

Make a set of gorgeous paper pumpkins with our easy dying techniques.

Crepe paper is generally the sign of a party, but this year it's also a sign that fall is approaching. We're loving this grown-up take on the classic papier-mâché technique—cover a papier-mâché pumpkin with strips of crepe paper to make your own gorgeous fall craft. Take it to the next level by creating your own patterns using color-discharging and color-dying techniques. They're so easy you'll want to create a whole crepe paper pumpkin patch!

  • Working Time 1 Hour
  • Start to Finish 2 Hours
  • Difficulty         Projects Kind of Easy

What you need

Tools

  • Gloves
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Bristled stencil brushes
  • Plastic cups
  • Cotton swabs
  • Chip brushes

Materials

  • Paper mache pumpkin
  • Crepe paper, in fall colors
  • Soft scrub, with bleach
  • Red and green food coloring
  • Waxed paper

How to do it

Step 1 Prepare your paper

To start this project, cover your work surface with waxed paper, then cut 16-inch sections of crepe paper and lay them on the prepared surface. We used crepe paper in fall colors, but you can make pumpkins in any color you want! 

Step 2 Add color

To add a pattern of darker colors to a piece of crepe paper, add a food coloring solution to the paper. We created a green-brown color by combining drops of red and green dye in a plastic cup. Add enough food coloring to coat the bottom of the cup, then add 1 tablespoon of water. This color mixture should be very color-saturated—darker than the mixture you'd use for dyeing Easter eggs. Use a chip brush, stencil brush, and cotton swabs to add the additional color to the crepe paper in various patterns. When you're satisfied with each decorated sheet, set it aside to dry.

Step 3 Remove color

We also love the look of dark crepe paper that's been stripped of color in some places. Rather than adding dye or coloring, this pattern is created by applying a bleach-and-water mixture to the paper. To create this mixture, combine a bleach cleaning scrub with a splash of water, and use a paintbrush to apply a light coat of the liquid to the paper in various patterns. Play around with the amount of water in your mixture—adding very little water will make the pattern stand out a lot, while adding a lot of water will create a more understated pattern. Make sure you're working in a well-ventilated area and wearing protective gloves while using the bleach solution.

Step 4 Cut crepe paper strips

Once the large pieces of finished crepe paper are dry, cut them into 1- to 2-inch strips; thicker strips will look better on large pumpkins, while smaller pumpkins will require thin strips. Once the treated crepe paper has been cut, cut a few more 1-inch pieces from untreated crepe paper tol cover the pumpkin stems.

Step 5 Cover pumpkin

Cover the pumpkin in crepe paper, starting with the stem. Use hot glue to secure the end of an untreated paper strip to the base of the stem, and wrap horizontally around the stem until it is fully covered. To finish the rest of the pumpkin, use one treated crepe paper strip at a time and wrap it vertically around the pumpkin. Secure each strip to the base of the pumpkin with hot glue, then wrap it up to the top of the pumpkin. Trim any excess lengths of the crepe paper strip and secure to the base of the pumpkin's stem with another dot of hot glue. Repeat this process until the entire pumpkin is covered. When the glue is dry, display your pumpkins on a mantel or in a festive fall tray.

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