Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY: Painted pumpkins

Carving pumpkins is a fall tradition for most folks, including myself. I hope to make it out to the pumpkin patch in the next couple of weeks to pick out some yummy fresh pumpkins to carve, but in the meantime I wanted a festive decoration that was a little less messy and a little more long-lasting.

These are fake pumpkins that I purchased at Michael's craft store on sale this past weekend. I wanted all three to be unique but cohesive, so to achieve this I picked out three colors to use on all three designs.

What you'll need for all three designs:

Craft paint
Brushes of various sizes
Painter's tape

Argyle pumpkin:
This design is made up entirely of equal sized diamonds.

Step 1- Draw a diamond shape onto paper and cut out. Label the left and right points of the diamond as 1 & 2, respectively. Using the stencil you've just made, lightly mark the 4 corners of the diamond shape onto the pumpkin. Moving around the pumpkin, match up the left corner (1) of the stencil to the right corner (2) of the previous diamond and mark it. Continue doing this until you've moved all the way around the pumpkin and met up with your initial diamond.
Step 2- Using painter's tape, mask off the outside of every other diamond using your marks as a guide. Press the tape down firmly into the ridges in the pumpkin to keep the paint from seeping under.
Step 3- Choose your first color and paint inside the tape and let dry. I had to do three coats to get the desired look, letting each coat dry completely in between.

Step 4- Remove the tape and repeat steps 2 and 3 on the remaining diamonds with your second color.
Step 5- Once your solid diamond shapes are dried, you can remove the tape and make touch ups if needed. A little water and a thin brush will allow you to clean up rough edges or places where the paint seeped under the tape. Don't worry if it's not perfect!
Step 6- Using the same diamond stencil and method as before, place your stencil in the middle of two diamonds so that it overlaps them on either side. The left and right points of your stencil will land in the center of the diamonds to it's left and right. Mark the corners as before and move around until you've done this across the whole pumpkin.
Step 7- Mask off the diamond with painter's tape exactly the same as you did before.
Step 8- Using the head of a sewing pin or other similar tool, dip into your third paint color and dab dots along the edge of the tape like shown:

Step 9- Let this dry (shouldn't take too long since it's just dots) and continue around the pumpkin until your argyle design is complete. Remove all tape and you're done!

Color-blocked letter design:
This one is really simple! Only uses 2 paint colors.
**I forgot to take photos but I hope it's easy enough not to need them.

Step 1- Place a strip of tape all the around the middle of your pumpkin. Try to keep it as even as possible but don't worry too much if it's not exactly perfect all the way around. Press it firmly into the grooves of the pumpkin to prevent seepage.
Step 2- Paint the entire bottom half of your pumpkin in your first paint color. This may take a few coats, letting each coat dry completely before the next. I used a tall vase to prop my pumpkin upside down as I worked.
Step 3- Trace your desired letter onto paper (I used an S for my last name) and cut out. Lay the letter onto the center of the pumpkin and lightly trace around it.
Step 3- Paint inside the lines you've just traced, getting as close to the line as possible to hide it with paint. I found it easiest to trace with black ink and use black paint to cover.
Step 4 - Let it dry and it's complete!

Owl pumpkin design:
This one is made entirely out of triangles and various sized circles.

Step 1- On your paper, trace 4 different sized circles varying from large to small and cut them out. (The largest is for the owl wings, the next sized down is for it's feet and eyes, the next smaller is for the pupils inside the eyes, and the smallest is for the light source in the pupil.)
Step 2- Trace a small-ish triangle shape that goes along proportionally with your circle sizes, and cut it out.
Note: I recommend tracing your design onto another piece of paper first to make sure you are happy with your sizes and to give you an outline of how to line the pieces up.
Here is mine to use as a guide:

Step 3- Starting with the first eye, place your medium circle onto the pumpkin and trace around it. Do this again for the second eye, leaving a large gap between them.
Step 4- Take the triangle shape, turned so that one point faces down, and place it centered below the two eyes and trace.
Step 5-  Directly below that triangle, trace another triangle the same way. Now trace another one on the right and left side of it, keeping them aligned with each other. Move below those and trace two more triangles centered between the ones above it. And last, trace one more triangle in the center below the two triangles you just did. (I used dots to trace my pieces just in case the lines were hard to cover with the light paint.)

Step 6 - Take your largest circle and cut it in half. Using these halves to make wings, trace them on either side of your group of triangles so that the rounded edges are facing out.
Step 7- Finally, for the ears and top of the head... Take the two halves of the large circle and place them above the eyes, with the rounded edge up, so that they touch in the middle and form a widow's peak between the owl's eyes. Trace around the rounded top edges and the peak, but not the bottom flat part of the stencil. For the ears, place your triangle at an angle so that one corner touches the left side of the half circle you just traced, and another corner points outward at a slight angle. Do this on the other side also. Now draw a straight line connecting the two remaining triangle points to each other. (Take a look back at my outline for help with this.)
Step 8- Using one color at a time, paint inside all of the shapes you just traced. For the straight edges it does help to use the painter's tape to keep the edges clean. For the round edges, all I can say is do your best! Mine is far from perfect, but that is what makes it special.
Step 9- Finishing the eyes: After you've fully painted in the medium eye circles and let them dry, trace your pupils with the next smaller circle. Paint the pupils in and let dry. Finish off with the last and smallest circle to give off the impression of a light glinting in the owl's eye. Try to place these in the same spot on both eyes.
Step 10- Take the same circle that you used for the main eye and cut it in half. Use those two halves, flat side down and rounded side up, to trace feet at the base of the owl. Paint this in completely with the same color as you used for the wings and ears and let dry. (I went a step further when I was painting to make little points like toes or claws, but that is not necessary if you don't want to!)

Now display your adorable pumpkins with pride!

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