I am a little behind, but Phase One of the Halloween Porch Make-over is complete! I pulled out some of my summer annuals and created my Stacked Pumpkin Topiaries. Yay!
I got this fabulous idea from Good Housekeeping here and just tweaked the project a bit to make it my own.
There are witches and spider webs to come, but today I will be sharing a quick tutorial for how I made my pumpkin topiaries.
Materials You Will Need
A Sturdy Dowel – One that will extend far enough into your planter to provide sturdiness and will extend up into the top pumpkin of your topiary (I used a 1 inch x 48 inch dowel and had to cut a few inches off the height to make it work in the end)
A saw or something to cut down your dowel if necessary – I didn’t have one, so I used my chicken bone cutter… yep… you read that right. Ha ha. Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?
Fake or Real Pumpkins – I used Funkins from Michaels so I can enjoy them every year! The number of pumpkins will depend on your design
2 strands of 100 clear/white holiday lights
A knife to carve your pumpkins
A paint brush (See below)
A drill and drill bit (I used a 11/64 HSS drill bit and it was the perfect size for standard holiday lights to fit through and hold snuggly)
Acrylic Paint (See below) – I bought the 8 oz container and it was more than enough. I probably only used 1/3 of the bottle, so you can certainly buy a smaller bottle if you would like. (One lesson I learned – I purchased the first black acrylic paint I saw and, in the final product, the painted portion of the trees appears to be a matted black while the paint pens have a more glossy effect. I actually didn’t mind the contrast as it added dimension; however, if you do not like the idea of this, be sure to purchase a glossy black paint to match.)
2 Acrylic Paint Pens (One Shown below)
How to Make Your Topiaries:
(My pictures are a little backwards because I did not take pictures after every step)
- Cut your base/bottom pumpkins – Cut a dowel sized hole in the bottom of the pumpkins (making sure it was a large enough hole for the electrical plug to fit through) so the pumpkin would sit sturdily on the dowel. Then, cut the top of the pumpkins flat (for stacking a pumpkin on top) making sure the opening is large enough to fit your hand through to string the lights inside. (As you can tell, I made rough cuts as you cannot see the cuts once I stack the pumpkins.)
- Then, cut your second tier pumpkins. Since I have one topiary that is three pumpkins tall and another that is two, I cut one of my second tier pumpkins just as I did the base pumpkin with a small (dowel sized) hole on bottom and the top cut flat with room for my hand to pass through. The other second tier pumpkin, I had to cut a large whole in the bottom with room for my hand to pass through and left the top closed (as shown).
- If you will be making a third pumpkin on one side for the moon, the third pumpkin needs a smaller hole on the bottom only. This hole should be just large enough for your holiday lights to pass through and then to sit on top of the dowel. You do not need to be able to fit your hand through that hole as you will simply leave the lights loose in this pumpkin. Try to avoid making the hole much larger so it sits snuggly on the dowel. Next, use a knife to cut the shape of a moon into the pumpkin. Learn from me and draw a sketch with a pencil onto the pumpkin (or print an image from the computer and trace it) so yours comes out better than my freehanded version.
- Next, use the paint pens to draw the outline of the bottom half of the trees onto the bottom two pumpkins. I tried to make my trees a little crooked in the trunk to look natural and a little Halloweenish.
- Once the bottom halves of the trees are drawn, put the pumpkins on the dowels just as they would appear in the final project. This allows you to start drawing the top half of the trees starting at the bottom of the pumpkins so they would line up perfectly when the pumpkins were stacked for good.
- Use the paint pens to draw the entire outline of the trees and to fill in the skinny branches of the trees that will be hard to fill in with the foam brush.
- Next, fill in the remainder of the trees with the acrylic paint and foam brush. Allow your trees to dry completely before moving on to the next step. This will keep you from getting bits of pumpkin stuck in your wet paint.
- Drill holes (using the drill bit described above) into the funkins where ever you would like your stars to appear. Try to avoid pushing the tip of the drill down all the way to the pumpkin to avoid circular impressions around your star holes. Also, make sure to create a nice round hole so you do not have to force the fragile lights through.
- Test your lights to make sure they light properly before going through all the work of stringing them.
- Start stringing your lights from the bottom pumpkin up. Be sure to remember to leave the end that plugs into a jack hanging out of the bottom pumpkin. Then, from the inside of the pumpkin push the lights through the back of each star hole. I worked up one side of the tree and down the other. Then, I had to leave a few lights dangling inside the pumpkin to string my lights into the pumpkin above.
- For the moon, I simply left the excess lights remaining at the end in a bundle in the top pumpkin. This provides ample glow. I am actually going to line the moon with some cheese cloth or wax paper (from the inside) today so you cannot see the string of lights from any angle but still get the glow from the lights.
- The raven (from Michael’s Arts and Crafts) I chose to counter the height of the moon had metal spikes on the bottom of its feet. I just drove these right into the top of the pumpkin where I wanted him to stand.
- Plug your lights in and enjoy! I am keeping a close eye on my topiaries to see how the wind affects them. If they shift at all and the trees lose alignment, I will use a glue gun to glue them together.
What do you think? There is more Halloween decor to come!
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