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by Nancy A. Cavanaugh


Carving pumpkins is a lot of fun, but after a week or so, your jack-o-lantern will start to droop and pucker, even if you’ve used all the tricks for preserving it. If you’re looking for a pumpkin that will last a bit longer, try making one out of papier-mâché. Note: These shouldn’t be used outside, as they will be destroyed in the rain.

What You Need:
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • Wax paper
  • Balloon
  • Newspaper
  • Pen or marker
  • Craft knife (adults only!)
  • Paint – orange, green, black and yellow
  • Paintbrush
  • Varnish or decoupage glue
  • Battery-operated candle

What to Do:

1. Mix the water and flour to make a paste. Make sure there are no lumps; mixture should be thin but not watery. Add more flour or water if needed.

2. Cover your work surface with wax paper or some other covering that the paste won’t stick to.

3. Blow the balloon up to the size you want your pumpkin to be. A good size is about six inches in diameter.

4. Rip the newspaper into strips that are approximately one inch wide by six inches long.

5. Place a strip of newspaper into the paste, wiping off the excess, then one by one, carefully cover the balloon with two layers of newspaper strips. Leave a small area about the size of a nickel uncovered on the bottom. Allow the pumpkin to mostly dry then pop the balloon and remove it.

6. Continue to cover the entire pumpkin with several more layers. If it is getting too wet looking, you can let it dry a bit then go back to it. You can create the look of a pumpkin by building up areas with extra strips of newspaper. Make a stem and add it to the top. Allow to dry completely.

7. Draw a face on the pumpkin and a circle around the top, like you would for a real pumpkin. Have a parent use the craft knife to cut the sections out. Or if you prefer, you can paint them on later.

8. Paint the pumpkin orange and the stem green. Allow to dry completely. You can paint on the face now if you’ve chosen not to cut it out. Allow to dry completely. To cover the newspaper print, you can either apply a coat of white paint first or two coats of the orange and green.

9. Cover with a clear varnish or decoupage glue following the directions on the bottle. Allow to dry completely.

10. Place a battery-operated candle inside and display.

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