Monday, September 29, 2008

How to make a Paper Bag Pumpkin

Well here's our take on a paper bag pumpkin.
A fairly easy craft you and your kids can make that's cheap to make from everyday supplies.
Materials required:
lunch bags, paint, paintbrush, glue, scissors, 1-2 clothespins, paper for stuffing (we used shredded waste paper), some wire ( this could be pipe cleaners, florist's wire, whatever is in the tool kit ), a stick
You need to paint your bag first. I find this makes a more realistic pumpkin if you paint before stuffing.
Place the bag on your hand like a puppet and paint away. The kids and I talked about how pumpkins can be different colors so we tried to vary our color as we painted from yellow orange to a red orange to a bit of brown or even green.
Let dry.
While you have the paint out, cut open a few bags to lay them flat to paint your leaves.
Again we tried to vary the colors with different shades of green, some yellow, some brown.
If your using pipe cleaners or white florist's wire, you can also paint them green at this time if needed.
Let dry.
When dry you want to cut the bottom off the pumpkin bag and run a bead of glue around the bottom edge inside the bag.
Scrunch it up together trying to get a rounded shape on the bottom. Use your clothespin to hold it together while the glue is drying.
While the pumpkin bag is drying, make some leaves. Take your green painted bag and trace out a leaf shape in pencil on the unpainted side.
Cut it out.
Turn it over and trace around. This way you have both sides of the leaf.
Cut it out.
Put some glue on one of the leaves, lay down your wire, ( I usually form a loop or zig zag it a bit to give something more for the glue to hold on to ), then place the other leaf on top sandwiching in the wire.
You can also make the curly feeder vines at this time. Cut a long strip from your painted green paper and twist it into a rope.
You can also wrap it around a pencil at this point to get it really curly.
When your glue has set up on your pumpkin you need to stuff it. We used shredded paper but you could also just use some crumpled newspaper or recycle some plastic bags for this step.
Don't overstuff as you need some room to close up the top, try to get a rounded shape so it looks less like a lunch bag.
Put a bead of glue around the upper edge on the inside, put some glue on your stick, scrunch up the paper gathering it together, when you are about halfway insert the stick and gather the rest of the bag around it.
Use your handy dandy clothespin to hold it together while the glue sets up.
When dry attach your leaves. I just wrapped the wire around the stick, bend them a little so they look more like real leaves, glue on your curly vine as well.
Make a few, they look great on the table or the mantle. I tried making one out of a large paper bag but the paint did not take as well on the heavier paper. I guess I could try acrylic, but I'm thinking I need a pretty big branch for the stem.
You can also make apples this way painting the bag red, green, or yellow.
I'd also like to try to make a pear using the same method I'll just have to work out the shape.
Give it a try.
see you later


  1. I just found your site and love it. You have some great ideas. My kids and I are in the process of trying out your glue batik directions.

    Very cute pumpkins.

  2. you are a life saver!!!

  3. Oh my gosh! I just found you blog and it has been sooooooo helpful. I signed up to be the art mom in my daughter's classes. Our teachers aren't able to provide much art in the classroom and your website is really helping to bring art back! You have such great projects! Thank you so much.

  4. We just made these today! Thanks! The only thing we did differently was use the pipe cleaner to keep the tops closed just in case the glue didn't hold. I only had Elmer's, no craft glue, so I wasn't sure if it would hold. I just twisted the pipe cleaner around the stick, on top of the bag.

  5. My kids (11yrs, 9yrs) just made these pumpkins, substituting leftover cloth from a batik project from this site, for the bag. They turned out absolutely perfect, a decoration that can be used for years to come.

    Your site is simply fantastic. Thank you so much for making it available.