This pumpkin art 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.

• 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

1. 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.
2. 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.


3. 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.


4. 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.


5. 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.


6. I painted my pumpkin with two shades of Americana® orange acrylic paint. First a darker Cadmium Orange, then highlights of Jack-O-Lantern Orange, and finally Holly Green for the stem. After the paint dried, I added a layer of “Craft Twinkles Orange” from DecoArt®. It’s a kind of gel-looking paint that not only adds glitter, but a nice shine as well.

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.