Monday, November 4, 2013

Paper Strip Pumpkins

Just in time for Thanksgiving decor--out with the jack-o-lanterns and spiders and in with the pumpkins and gourds--I made some paper strip pumpkins.  I read a few different tutorials for these online (even one from Martha Stewart), but I ended up adjusting the instructions slightly to minimize the amount of paper needed.  

To create two large pumpkins and four small pumpkins you will need:
2 orange 12 x 12 sheets of scrap book paper
1 sheet of green scrap book paper (for the leaves--an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet or some scraps should work)
12 metal brads
two green pipe cleaners
one paper lunch sack
hot glue gun

Cut your 12 x12 sheets of orange paper into 7/8 inch thick strips.  The first piece of paper I chose had an ombre effect that took the pattern from yellow to dark orange (so it looks like different piece of paper--but it was all cut from the same sheet).  

You should end up with 14 strips of paper.  Cut the strips into 8 inch pieces with 4 inch pieces leftover.  The 8 inch strips will be used to create the large pumpkin and the 4 inch strips will create two smaller pumpkins.

Next, use a hole punch to punch holes in both ends of the strips.  Try to get them in approximately the same place on the strip, but if they aren't exact, don't panic, you should still be able to wiggle the brad through the holes.  Put the brads through the holes on both ends to connect all 14 strips of paper. You may end up with some slight bowing like in the photo below, but that's ok, it will still work just fine.

Next, pick up your strips and bend them in half to start your pumpkin.  Start carefully pulling the strips apart to create your sphere.  With the long strips, they should come apart very easily.

Next, repeat this process for the smaller pumpkins, but only use 7 of the strips for each small pumpkin. The smaller strips will be harder to pull apart, but once you get it started, they should be easy to arrange into a sphere.

Next I cut some leaf shapes out of some green paper.  I used the template on the Martha Stewart project page to get a general idea of the shape.  After that, I just winged it for the smaller ones.  When I was done, I used a green colored pencil to draw some veins on the leaves to give them a more realistic look.  Then I folded the leaves in half (along the long vein) and bent them a bit so they wouldn't be completely flat.

Next I wound some pipe cleaners around a pencil to create the little spiral vines. I left a little tail at the end to glue on the pumpkin and cut it with a scissors. The hardest part of this whole project to me was figuring out how to make a stem for the pumpkins. I ended up rolling up strips of brown paper from a lunch sack and then trimming it off. I glued the pipe cleaner down first, then the leaf, and then the stem on top of it. Once the hot glue dried, I adjusted the pipe cleaners and trimmed off the stems. In the end, I think they turned out pretty well.  Making the spheres was the most gratifying part of this project, and I look forward to messing around with width and sizes to make some holiday ornaments very soon. :)

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