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I found this project here at Spooky Blues. Giant Paper Mache Jackolanterns :: Spooky Blue
When I saw it I knew I had to do them!!

So I bought a large plastic pumpkin and I already had the cauldron. Now, don't think you're going to ruin these. You're not. It's just a form. You're gonna take the hardened shell off of it so you can do as many as you want and still have your decorations! Here they are before their transformation.



Now I bought some generic heavy duty aluminum foil and covered them in it. I used duct tape (best invention ever) to tape down some of the seams. Use it sparingly. Now, that's what the instructions on the website says. I've just been thinking to myself why can't I duct tape the entire thing after I foil it? It would be really smooth. So if you want to try that let me know how it turns out. If I do any of these next year I'm gonna try it. Anyway, now they're foiled.



I use the palm of my hands to try and flatten out all the wrinkles I can to make it a little smoother. Then I get everything ready to start gooping newspaper strips on it.

I prepare my newspaper by first ripping it in half and then tearing strips about 2" wide and no more than 10" long. I just kept them the length of the newspaper half. The instructions specifically say to tear the newspaper and not cut it. There was no reason why but what the heck. Let's follow directions.

You're supposed to use a mix of glue and water. I tried that first cause again..following the directions. I had never used glue/water for my paper machete. After using a bowl of that and seeing that my usual way stuck much better, I dumped the glue. Flour and water. Slap some flour in a bowl and add water. Stir well until you get a pasty mixture. Trust me..I've done a lot of paper machete heads in the past. This works a lot better. And it's a ton cheaper!

Everything is set! I put on my trusty vinyl gloves. I take a strip of newspaper and dip my fingers in the paste and rub it on the strip. Don't drench it! Place it on the form longways. Always put the strips on top to bottom, not side to side. After it's on, dip your fingers again in the paste and rub it on the outside of the strip. Keep going and going and going!

But STOP!! Before you go strip happy remember it's a mold. You're gonna need to be able to take it off the form! What you need to do is draw an imaginary line down the center of the prop. Leave a small space in between strips so when you're ready to take it off, it comes off easily. You'll be able to see that in my last picture.

Only do 1 layer. Let it dry over night, then do another layer the next day. I'm supposed to do at least 7 layers, so when I'm ready to go on to the next step I'll add more here!

Below are the pictures of the first layer of machete. The last one you can see how much space I left for the seam!



 

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Finally an update!! YAY!!

Okay, after waiting forever and putting 7 layers on my pumpkin it was time to cut it loose!! Erm..it was a bit difficult. But after some coaxing, sweet talk and bribing, it finally split. So now I've got 2 halves.



When sitting them up and putting them together you can tell that there was quite a gap.



I smushed the sides together as much as I could and duct taped both the inside and outside seams.



Now to start on the stalk!! I rolled up paper towels in the thickness I wanted and duct taped in strategic places to keep the roll tight. I went back when I was pleased with it and duct taped the whole thing. Then I rolled smaller pieces of paper towel and wound them around the main stalk, just using regular tape to keep it in place. After that, I taped the stalk onto the pumpkin!





Then I did one more layer of paper mache. Yes another 24 hrs til it dried. ugh


(more to come in my next post)
 

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Time to start cutting!!

I first drew an outline of the eyes and mouth with a pencil then cuty it out with my utility knife. I know that sounds really easy. Do you know how difficult it is cutting through 7 layers of mache??? Take your time. Don't cut youself!!



Doesn't he look awesome?? I'm excited!!

So I go back to my flour/water mache mix but now I'm cutting squares of white paper towels. I first start with wrapping my stalk. Then I bunch up some paper towels and make ridges.



Now I go back and wrap the entire thing.



I haven't done anything with the teeth yet. Depending on how well the paper towels do when it dries, I may use wads of them for the teeth instead of actually go and buying some clay crete. I'm all about loop holes and short cuts!

And I may do the teeth after I've painted it. So we'll just see what happens tomorrow when it's all dry. :)
 

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I'm almost done here! Actually I would have been done but I don't like the color so I'm going to redo that.

After I put the ridges and paper towel layer on, I brought my babies outside to spraypaint. Meh, the color them look too cheery. I need to do something about that. I'm going to go with a more brownish color as soon as their teeth dry.

I got the claycrete to do the teeth. It's the first time I've ever used it, and it won't be the last! I love that stuff! I'm trying to figure out how I can make the pulp myself without too much fuss.

Here's the pics:






Now...what did I do wrong and what can I improve on?

First off, the taller pumpkin has a really long stalk. I didn't pay attention when I was macheing it and just let it dry dangling off the kitchen table. BIG mistake. Now that it's completely hardened, I can't move it or it'll break. So I'm going to have to set it on a table or covered box. Bummer.

I wish I would have made more ridges. Like, a LOT more.

And I wish I wouldn't have used that bright orange paint for the outside. (but again, I'll fix the color tomorrow so no biggie)

OH! OH! BTW..since I couldn't use actual candles to put in these, I searched through AC Moore and found these awesome battery powered tealight candles! I can't want to try them out!
 

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This could be a stupid question, but how do you get the paper mache off of the pumpkin molds? I would like to build one of these for my PVC scarecrow. Has anyone ever used anything else for the basic shape of the pumpkin?
 

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This could be a stupid question, but how do you get the paper mache off of the pumpkin molds? I would like to build one of these for my PVC scarecrow. Has anyone ever used anything else for the basic shape of the pumpkin?
You put aluminum foil (I used heavy duty) all over the mold. You'll need to use duct tape and flatten out the foil as much as possible. Then you leave a little room from the side where you don't paper mache. Understand? Like the one half you mache then leave like oh, 1/4" of room to do the other half. Although if ou're not in any danger of damage, you can just go ahead and do the entire thing and use an exacto knife to split it.
 
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