I sold one of my primitive witch dolls on Etsy and found, when I went to pack her up, that she was missing a prim pumpkin in her basket. Vanished! I make almost all the accessories for my witch and Santa dolls so I just decided to make another one... and for once took enough photos to capture the process.
Yup, he's not a cute and pretty Jack like you see everywhere at Halloween. My pumpkins have character!
So here we go.....
I have a stash of styrofoam balls and grabbed one in the right size. This process will work for any size foam ball. I flattened the top and bottom with a saucer to make it less round and more pumpkiny. Then I scored it with a small paint brush handle.
Using my clay tools I carved out a face. You can also use the tip of a steak knife, an X-acto blade or anything that will give you the holes you want. Crumpled up tissue torn into small pieces will cover the curves of the ball and Mod Podge sticks it on. Use a soft paintbrush and just smooth the tissue on gently. This takes the styrofoam look away from the ball and makes it look more pumpkiny and gourdy. You know what I mean!
Here I've used pumpkin orange and red to paint the whole pumpkin. You can let this dry naturally or, if you want a bit of warty skin texture, use your heat gun to dry the paint. Hold the heat close to the pumpkin surface and you will get a bubbly, bumpy effect in no time! Go slowly and steadily so the warts form but your styrofoam ball does not melt. Soon your paint will be dry and textured.
Next, add a bit of burnt umber paint to your pumpkin then blot it off with a rag while it is still wet. Use a damp q-tip to clean up the details. If you take off too much just put more paint on and blot, q-tip it again until you get the contrast you want.
I wanted my Jack to have some grungy teeth and I used the tip of a butter knife to press them into the mouth seam. Then I added black paint deep inside the eyes and nose holes and along the mouth. Use a damp q-tip again to clean up your details but not too much. Don't worry, you can keep adding and taking away paint until you get just the right grungy prim look you are happy with!
I have a jar o' twigs in my stash and found one just for this guy. What, you don't have twigs in your stash? A stick from the yard will do or even a small cinnamon stick. I added two silk leaves (which I grunged with a little burnt umber paint since they were too bright) and a bit of curly rusty wire to my Jack and voila!
My prim Jack looks happy in his new home and tomorrow he'll be travelling with his witchy mistress to a far city.
This process works for any size styrofoam ball and you don't have to carve them like jack o' lanterns at all. You can make some grungy primitive pumpkins for your Halloween and Thanksgiving decor. I guarantee no one will have pumpkins just like yours!