By General Crafts Contributor Michelle
Welcome autumn with this cute pumpkin topiary. It’s a great project to get the kids involved with, and can be made either in this simplified form, or gussied up by painting and embellishing with lots of details. Either way, this cute decoration is a fun way to welcome fall!
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own pumpkin topiary:
- Metal burner covers. Mine came in a 2-pack from the dollar store.
- Some kind of container to hold your topiary. I used a small metal bucket from the dollar store, but you could just as well use a clay flower pot or other water-tight container.
- White semi-gloss or matte spray paint.
- Acrylic craft paint in orange, black and green.
- Paper plates.
- Pencil, pen or marker.
- A craft knife.
- Stenciling brush.
- Paint brushes.
- A wooden stake the height you want your finished topiary to be. It needs to be flat (like a yardstick), rather than round (like a dowel) in order to adhere your finished pumpkins to it easily. Mine is a two-foot tall stake that is a little over an inch wide.
- Plaster of Paris.
- A disposable mixing container and disposable mixing stick.
- E6000 Adhesive.
- Green Krinkle Shred.
- Green felt.
- Green chenille stems.
- Fabric scraps.
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks.
The first thing you’ll want to do is to spray paint your burner covers white. This will get rid of any art work printed on your burner covers, and also give the acrylic paint a better surface to stick to. Let them dry completely, and then paint your burner covers completely orange with your acrylic craft paint.
While your covers are drying, decide what kind of face you want your pumpkins to have, and draw a jack-o-lantern face on the flat part of your paper plate. Use your craft knife to cut it out. This will be the stencil for your pumpkin face.
Next we’re going to stencil the face. You can either use a stenciling brush, or you can use a clothespin with a piece of sponge clamped inside, like we did. When your orange covers are completely dry, place your paper plate stencil on the inside of your burner cover (so what used to be the decorated front of the burner cover is now facing down, against your work surface), and begin painting your face with black acrylic paint and your stenciling brush. Use minimal paint on your brush, and a light up and down pouncing motion to paint. It helps to keep a finger on the plate next to the area you’re stenciling to keep the plate from moving around and to keep your stencil edges crisp. Carefully remove your plate when you’re finished painting, and let dry.
Paint your wood stake green, and let it dry.
Position your pumpkins down the middle of your wooden stake and then use your E6000 adhesive to glue them in place. Use a small book, or magazine under the edges of your pumpkins to keep them from tipping side-to-side and falling off while you’re waiting for the glue to dry. It may be tempting to use hot glue for this step, but stick with the adhesive instead, because hot glue will peel right off of the metal surface.
When the adhesive is fully cured, and your pumpkin stake is completely finished, mix your plaster of Paris in your disposable container (according to the directions) and pour it into your base container. Do not stick your pumpkin stake in immediately, but wait until you can stick a stick into the plaster and have it stand up on its own without falling. For me it took less than five minutes for it to reach a “clay-like” consistency that would hold the weight of my stake. Just keep checking it and re-checking frequently, it will cure very quickly. Once you have inserted your pumpkin stake, let the plaster fully harden.
To finish your pumpkin topiary, use your hot glue gun to add a stem and leaf of green felt to the back-top-edge of your top pumpkin, and using a chenille stem, give it a curly tendril or two. I tied some strips of fabric onto the stake between my pumpkins, and added some green Krinkle shred to the top of the pot to hide the plaster.
I think a couple of these topiaries would look great flanking a front door, or in your entry way to welcome visitors to your autumn home.