Paper Mache Pumpkin from Plastic Bags

This paper mache pumpkin truly turns trash into something beautiful. Use old bags for the soft inside, rubber bands to make the dents, and mache to make a smooth surface.
paper mache pumpkin
MATERIALS
• About 40 plastic grocery bags
• Saran wrap
• Three 3″ rubber bands
• Newspaper and paper towel
• Paper mache
Orange acrylic paint
Orange glitter paint
Green acrylic paint
DIRECTIONS
MachePumpkin11. Collect about 40 plastic bags and loosely stuff them inside each other, one at a time. Compress lightly and tie bag shut with a slipknot at the top.
MachePumpkin22. To smooth the surface, wrap the outside of the bag with a few long pieces of Saran Wrap. Overlap as necessary to keep edges lying flat. Take a rubberband (I used a 3″ dia.) and slip around the center of the ball. Repeat with 2 more rubberbands, adjusting them evenly.

MachePumpkin33. Adjust your rubberbands on top to be as close to the “stem” as possible, and the bottom to make a nicely centered crisscross as shown above.

MachePumpkin44. Cover the pumpkin with one layer of paper mache. Be sure to run your finders through the creases often so that they stay prominent and don’t get smoothed over. For my favorite mache recipe, click here. Let dry overnight. Repeat with another layer of newspaper and let dry.

MachePumpkin55. This step really helps to smooth out the bumps and gives you a nice white background to paint on. Cover the pumpkin with one layer of mache and paper towels.

MachePumpkin66. I painted my pumpkin with two shades of orange acrylic paint. First a solid one, then highlights of glitter orange, and finally green for the stem. A layer of Mod Podge or a spray sealer will keep your pumpkin protected and looking good for a long time.

I’m going to experiment next with making more of these in different sizes. I think for elementary age students though, this size or larger would be best. This pumpkin measures about 8″ in diameter.

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15 Responses

  1. Meg
    |

    This is so cool!
    I’m not up to painting yet, but it still looks great with the paper towels!
    My mom found this thing online where you use a balloon and string for the base, but that was WAAAYYYYYY to hard so i looked it up again and I found this one and it looks great and the paper towels look like plaster and its so cool and easy it takes a while but its worth it i cant wait for halloween and Monday when i show my teacher and its gonna look sooooooooooooo cool and i wish my parents would make a couple as well but they say that i do it cuz they dont feel like it its so cool so THANKYOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. […] Read more: Mache Pumpkin from Plastic Bags | Art Projects for Kids […]

  3. Jane LaFazio
    |

    this is fabulous!! love yours and those kids from barcelona, with their excellent color choices.

    I teach an free afterschool art program, and just found your site. love it!
    http://mundolindobeautifulworld.blogspot.com/

  4. Kathy Barbro
    |

    Oh my Cristina – Those pumpkins are SO adorable. And the colors are to die for! Could I possibly post a link to your post? I’d love to share the fun color approach you took with your students.

  5. La classe màgica
    |

    Thanks for sharing Kathy! Here there are 🙂
    http://manualescanigo.blogspot.com/2010/11/calabazas-de-pages.html
    BIG HUG from Barcelona, Spain.

    Cristina

  6. Aiming4Simple
    |

    Saw this on The Craft Crow and loved it! I’m wondering if the plastic bags could be removed after the mache dries, to make a hollow interior for a pinata. Perhaps I’ll soon find out…

  7. Cristina
    |

    Thank you for this great idea and thank you for sharing!! I can’t wait to do this with my artists!! 🙂
    Cristina from Barcelona

  8. Kids @ Art
    |

    Looks fab. Of course, I will need to find an alternative to plastic bags, as I use mine to pick up after my 2 large dogs, but I’m sure shredded paper stuffed inside a bag will work just as well. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Melissa
    |

    This is so wonderful. My little preschooler will love this. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Kathy Barbro
    |

    Hi Anonymous,
    I would guess that I used a total of 5 cups of mache to make my sample pumpkin. If possible though, I would make extra as kids to tend to spill…just a bit…

  11. Anonymous
    |

    I checked out your mache recipe and I’m wondering how many gallons do you think I would need for about 20 pumpkins?

    Love this idea! Thank you!

  12. Panda
    |

    oh i love this idea! i am going to show the kids at the UGM how to do this!

  13. Anonymous
    |

    I have been saving piles of plastic bags, hoping to come up with a creative way to use them in my art classes! Thank you for this great idea!

  14. Yo' Mama
    |

    Wow! What a great way to bring in fall! Can’t wait to do this with my girls. Thank you so much!!

  15. polwig
    |

    That looks great… what a wonderful way to recycle old bags… fun fun fun

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