Scot over at Stolloween is simply AMAZING with papier mache, and has a great tutorial for making all kinds of scary looking pumpkins, as well as many other dastardly and evil looking characters! Check out his pumpkins tutorial. Here is my version:
I didn't take any pictures before the papier mache process was started, but you will see on the lower half that my garbage bag is stuffed full of scrunched up paper and wound around with string to try to create a pumpkin shape. I made the stalk with a rolled up newspaper and taped/glued it in place, then began the first layer of papier mache (I used a simple flour, salt and water paste and old newspapers).
Here it is after 4 layers of papier mache - the final layer I used plain white newsprint so I wouldn't have to cover up all the earlier ink with paint, leaving me with a nice, clean base. You might notice I also chopped down my stalk as felt the original was WAY too long!
It was a bit lumpy in parts where I didn't want lumps, and not lumpy enough in some places I did, but some of that will be rectified in the next step, and as for the others...well, they make my pumpkin gnarly and one-of-a-kind!
I cut out a hole in the base of the pumpkin and removed the bag and all the scrunched paper.
Now it was time to add some definition, particularly to the top of the pumpkin, trying to define all those seperate pieces which may not have translated very well after those layers of papier mache. I decided to use (for the very first time) drier lint clay, so had saved a load of lint just for this purpose.
I made it by cooking it with a bit of water and some flour added in (you can find many dryer lint clay recipes if you search online). I have to say, I don't think I will ever use it again, I absolutely HATED the way it felt in my hands - UGH. Nevertheless, I had it there so decided to push on for this project at least!
Here is my pumpkin out to dry in the sunshine! You can see the darker grey areas around the top and the stalk where my clay has been added - at this point, I had also drawn my face on too, ready to be cut out.
I carefully cut out the face using an exacto knife.
The next part was reinforcing all the holes I just cut out - I used strips of cereal boxes and a glue gun to do this, making sure they protruded out more than in.
Then more of that icky dryer lint clay (I'm all for keeping things out of landfill but that stuff is just GROSS!) to build up around the eyes, mouth and nose.
While the clay was drying around the features, I stuffed some paper into the mouth to help it hold its shape and not droop with the wet weight of the clay. Unfortunately I was a bit too eager to take them out so in the end his mouth did sag a little, but I still think he looks suitable nasty!
Next up was a coat of black craft paint:
It was really quite hard to paint the inside of this pumpkin, I think if I made another in the future I would make my first layer of papier mache black construction paper to save having to paint the interior at all.
Finally, some additional paint - I was going to paint him orange but the only orange I had to hand was NEON and I didn't think this would fit in with his old and grimy character. Instead I dry brushed with white, put some brown on the stalk and some green towards the top - maybe this year he will get a new, orange coat!
There is always the option to use the hole in the bottom to light this guy - I tried a battery operated tea light (not even close to powerful enough) and didn't want to use a live candle for obvious reasons - he is made of paper after all - I'm open to any other suggestions for getting some eery flickering coming from within!
Unfortunately this guy is too big for my mantle, but I will find an appropriate spot for him to scare people! Maybe I should make a couple of smaller ones which will fit up on the mantle..?