Thursday, August 1, 2013

Embellish! A Pumpkin Tutorial

Pumpkin Tutorial

(Please click on pictures for larger image and to see print appearing on the pictures)

Why am I writing about how to embellish a ordinary fabric pumpkin?  Easy!  To turn it into an "extra"ordinary pumpkin!  Also, every technique you will apply to the pumpkin,  can be applied to the embellishment of your Art Dolls, including lace covered fabric, glittered fabric and leaves or other items, and more.  By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to make your own embellished pumpkin and have fun learning techniques you can apply to your doll and accessory designing skills!  

Embellished Pumpkin
Spin off on this pumpkin and make a plain orange pumpkin, then embellish with crystal swirls like the ones featured in shops and magazines for $50.00 a piece!  Make three pumpkins in varying sizes and embellishments for the beginning of a wonderful fall display

Just a note to my very Prim Friends and Prim Artists...This pumpkin would also do well made out of muslin, then painted and stained with tea stain coffee stain and "grubbied up" instead of all the "bling".  I've done many pumpkins in the past that way and was very pleased with  results (Pic A).  This pumpkin was painted in acrylics, sanded, and then stained for a very primitive look.

pic A

This Pumpkin in (pic B) is large enough for me to sit one of my bears on back when I was a Teddy Bear Artist( I guess I still am...but bears cost so mush to make).  The only difference is that it uses a larger wedge pattern and more wedges.  More wedges make for a slightly flatter pumpkin and therefore will balance larger dolls or, in this case, bears.  This bear's name is Smudge and he is still one of my favorites!

pic B

The pumpkin you will make from this tutorial, is very much like the one you have seen in this year’s Art Doll Quarterly Fall 2013. Just look at my Bird Cage Doll, Marguerite, below  (pic 2) ,
and you will see the little owl sitting on it inside the cage (pic 1)

pic 1
This is a Pumpkin Tuffet for a doll or a critter to sit on and therefore it has no stem.  In this case, a stem would just get in the way.  If you want to make a normal (or should I say "more" normal) pumpkin, I would recommend to  just fashion a stem out of a little green felt.

pic 2
Please send me an email with any questions you may have, and I will post the questions with the answers in the comment section of this blog.  Also, I would like all of you who make this pumpkin to submit the pictures to me so I may publish them on my site.  Don’t be afraid to experiment!  Perhaps you want a purple pumpkin, different lace, and with another trim and a different color crystal…have fun with it!!!  

Before beginning, you may want to review the article in Art Doll Quarterly to better prepare yourself for the techniques you will be using in this tutorial.  The Fall 2013 issue is available from the publisher at Stampington,  Barnes and Noble and various other fine book stores and craft stores.

Click arrow above for Video

Tools and Materials

 (some knowledge of general sewing techniques is required)
  • Scissors 
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot fix crystal applicator (Mine is Made by Darice - see links)
  • Cotton print fabric at least 26 inches by 24 inches (see links)
  • Black lace fabric about 2 inches by 2 inches (see links)
  • Mastex thread (available through Edinburgh Imports-see links)
  • Two approximately 1" sturdy buttons JoAnn's or Walmart)
  • One 5" sculpting needle
  • One package of 7 mm rick rack in black
  • Size 16ss olive or black hot fix crystals (see links)
  • Elmer's Spray Adhesive
  • Hot Glue sticks
  • Five green Millinery leaves approximately 3 inches long by 2 inches wide
  • Lime green ultra fine glitter (available at many craft stores)
  • Polyfil stuffing 
  • One 4 inch beveled wood base (bought mine at JoAnn's but not online)
  • Black acrylic craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Matte Interior Varnish by Delta Ceramcoat
  • Glamour Dust (glitter paint) Black Ice by DecoArt, sent to me by my swap box pal, and found at Micheal's  
  • Sewing Machine
  • Fabri-tac fabric glue
  • Large Books (to hold weight in place Step 20)
Useful Links
     Stampington                Quarterly-Autumn-2013 request your magazine today!

      Fabric  for other Halloween fabric of your choice

      Fabric       orange/zprd_11668480a/  for the fabric I used on the pumpkin
      Lace  for the lace I used on the pumpkin

      Crystals  very important how you order these and make sure they are not from overseas!  I learned the hard way that things coming from China are on a very slow boat!

       MastexThread    main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&keyword=mastex&inc_subcat=0&    sort=20a&page=2  Very strong thread that is great for sculpting!

      Millinery Leaves be sure to get leaves that come with a wire down the middle and protrudes out from the leaf stem about 2.5 to 3 inches.  Holding the wire while you glitter is very helpful!  I prefer velvet leaves.


 Several Examples of Lace Covered Cotton Print




Here We Go!

Step 1- Choose a piece of fabric and a piece of lace.  For teaching purposes, I have chosen an orange with black dots cotton print fabric and a fairly open, bat-patterned lace.  (found at JoAnn’s online, see useful links section)

pic 4

Step 2- Fuse the lace fabric to the cotton fabric.  This is done by spreading out your 26 inch wide by 24 inch high, cotton fabric, face up, and smooth (iron if needed).  Then take a piece of your lace, the same size or  a little larger and have it ready to lay over the dotted fabric. Be sure to protect work surfaces with newspaper or plastic (pic 4). 

 Now, take your Elmer’s Spray Adhesive and spray lightly over the cotton piece.  Immediately, but without hurrying, place your lace, face up over the cotton and smooth it from the center, outwards.  You may lift slightly and adjust the lace until it lies flat. A ruler may help with smoothing the fabrics better than your hand. 

You now have a two layer, custom, fabric with which to make your pumpkin! See how the cotton pattern peeks out between the lace pattern?... Let it dry several hours. You have just embellished your cotton with lace…the same way I did Marguerite’s bodice! 

Step 3 - Trace the wedge pattern over the fabric you have created.  I usually trace on the right side of the fabric to make sure I  can place the pattern exactly where I want to with respect to the lace pattern,  including as much of the bat design as you can.  If, for instance, you traced on the back of the fabric, you wouldn't be able to see what part of the lace was included in each cut. (pic 5).  

Label one end the "Top" and one end thee "Bottom".  Pin so that all the tops are facing the same direction.


Step 4 - Now sew the wedges together (right sides facing each other) two at a time until you have 3 wedge pairs (pics 6&7).

You are going to sew the pairs together until all three of the pairs are connected (pics 7, 8 & 9). Be sure to keep the top of the wedges together or your pumpkin may become lopsided!  



pic 9

Make sure to leave 1/2 inch open seam at the bottom of each pair and at the bottom when sewing pairs together. You will use this opening to turn your pumpkin right-side out, so don't let it get too small. Now, stuff your pumpkin firmly, but not too tight, with the Polyfil (pic 10).

pic 10

Step 5 - Using the five inch sculpting needle, attach one of your large buttons, using the mastec thread. (I double-thread my needle, even with this strong Mastex)Then begin to sculpt each wedge in half (pic 11 & 12)  When bringing the needle up through the middle of the pumpkin, exit just outside the button's edge, but do not come through the buttonholes. The thread...visible here ( pic 11),  will not show on your finished pumpkin. 

pic 11

Pull tightly to crease the wedge and then wrap thread around the button several times to hold it tightly.  Go back down through the pumpkin and knot thread to bottom securely (pic 12). Repeat sculpting for each of the  six wedges.  I usually re-thread for each wedge

pic 12-A

pic 12-B
The picture above shows how the top of your pumpkin should look after sculpting (pic 12-B).

The picture below shows the bottom of  the pumpkin as it should look when sculpting is finished (pic 12-C).

pic 12-C


 My little ghouls look as if they are thinking they want some Pumpkin Pie!

pic 13

Step 6 - The next step is pretty easy.  Make sure you have practiced a little with your crystal applicator beforehand as sometimes it can be a little tricky. Be sure you have the correct tip in place, a size 16ss, to match the size of the crystal.  Heat the gun and apply the crystals to the rick rack as shown (pic 13).

I place the crystals along the rick rack in a zigzag pattern that corresponds to the pattern of the rick rack (pic 13-B).  If a crystal won't detach properly from the applicator, keep it in position and gently poke a straight pin down the slot above the crystal.  Put a little downward pressure on the crystal with the pin, holding it in place, while carefully lifting the applicator off the crystal .

pic 14

 Now heat your glue gun.  Lately, I've been using a spare beverage glass to hold my glue gun (pic 15).  It seems to keep it upright. is less messy, and protects surfaces from the hot glue tip.

 pic 15

Step 7 -You are ready to attach the rick rack to the pumpkin!  Beginning at the bottom of the pumpkin, hot glue the rick rack over the needle sculpting that you did in step 5.  This will completely cover  the sculpting thread (pic 16).  Continue up the pumpkin a little bit at the time until you reach the edge of the button. Going slowly helps to keep you from making mistakes like getting the glue on your new lace fabric. I use a maneuverable mini glue as it is much easier to control.

pic 16

Your creation is really beginning to look like a tuffet!!! (pic 17)

pic 17

Step 8  Ready to "BLING" again?  Some of you may have you may have noticed...I'm always ready for that! So, prepare and protect your work surface, get out your glitter, spray adhesive, and Millinery leaves and let's get ready to "blow" glitter.

Please see Art Doll Quarterly's article on "The Bling Factor" due out August                                 1, 2013. There, inside, are complete instructions on "blow" glitter.  It is available                         from my publisher, Stampington, and also Barnes and Noble book stores.  I'm sure it is also available at many other fine bookstores and craft supply stores See Useful Links).

pic 18
Step 9  Great Job!  Your leaves are glittered!  Good Job! After your leaves dry, take a leaf and press it up next to the button on top of the pumpkin.  Wrap the wire around the button, being careful to tuck it under the button and out of sight as you go around it (pic 19).  

pic 19
Take the wire jewelry snips and snip off any leftover wire (pic 20).  Continue adding leaves until you have five or six placed evenly around the button.  some leaves will overlap each other slightly,  giving them a very natural look (of course, what is natural about a bejeweled pumpkin?) 

pic 20

Gently coax the leaves into position, bending some tips up and some tips down for a life-like appearance.  This is know in the floral world as "re-flexing"(pic 21)

pic 21

Now, stand back and admire your pumpkin and what you've done so far!  You are almost finished!  All there is left to do is to cover the button and make the base!

Step 11-  Take your second button and trace it's outline on the wrong side of the 2 x 2 pin dot fabric.  Cut the circle out, leaving approximately 1/4 - 3/8 inch around the circle you have traced (like a seam allowance) pic  22 -25. 
pic 22

pic 23

pic 24
 Step 12   Using a small drop of hot glue, glue the button to the middle of your circle, keeping the glue on the wrong side of the fabric (pic 25 and 26). 

pic 25

pic 26

Step 13   Snip the fabric around the button to the edge of the button...each flap should be about 1/4 inch apart.  Encircle the button with a thin line of hot glue.  As you go around the button, press the cut edges snugly against the edge of the button (pic 27 and 28).

pic 27

pic 28
Now you have a nice little pin dot covered button that will give you a finished look for the top of your pumpkin!  This technique gives you a nice custom button for many applications.  I can easily see it as the center for a large sunflower.

pic 29
Step 14   Hot glue the fabric covered button directly over top of the exposed button, being careful not to get glue on the pumpkin (pic 30 and 31).

pic 30

pic 31
Wow!  You are almost finished!!!  All you have to do is make a base and your Halloween Doll will have a Pumpkin Tuffet to sit on!

Step 15  Gather the supplies to paint the wooden base.  Paint it with 2 coats of black acrylic craft paint allowing it to dry between coats (pic 32 and 33).

pic 32

 When I am working with just a little bit of paint, it is not unusual for me to squeeze a little onto my wax paper and wet my brush from there.  When you have finished your first coat, remove the newspaper and allow your base to dry on wax paper...otherwise,
the newspaper will stick to the edge of the base  
pic 33  
Step  16   Paint one coat of glitter paint (pic 34 &35) and allow to dry for an hour or so...

pic 34

pic 35

Step 17  Varnish your base with one coat of the Matte Interior Varnish by Delta Ceramcoat.  Let it dry for a few hours (pic 34) Allow to dry on wax paper.

pic 36

.Step 18   Paint one more coat of glitter paint...yep, apply it over the varnish.  This really helps the glitter to shine! 

pic 37

Time to Really Bling!

One key factor in crystaling, in order to stay organized, is to find the right organizer.  This one shown  (pics 38 and 39), was found at Walmart. For me it is the best I've found if you plan to crystal quite often.  The sections just unscrew for ease of removal and you only need to have out the colors you need at the time.

pic 38

pic 39

.Step 19  Using the same technique as Step 6, place your crystals around the base about 1/4" to 5/8"apart as shown in pics 40 and 41. 

pic 40

pic 41
Last Step!  You're almost there!

*need pics and text of gluing

Step 20  Got your books ready??? You are going to need them! (pic 42)   

pic 42

Turn your pumpkin over and apply the Fabri-tac to it's underside (pic 43). 

pic 43

Then, being careful not to drip glue, turn it over and center it over the base.   I just set it down in  the spot I think will center it.  If the glue is applied as shown, small adjustments can be made once it is placed...turn the pumpkin and base around slowly, check to make sure it is centered all around and does not overlap the base anywhere (pic 44).

pic 44

Keeping it in place, gently press it down as you place your books on top of the leaves and add the weight.  Yes, it will look silly for a day....(pic 45)

pic 45

But, just wait 'till you remove the books!!!  All you have to do is adjust your leaves one last time...

Now, your embellished Pumpkin is finished!

Ta Da!  The Finished Product!
Please go and take some pictures of your pumpkin and send them to me for publishing here on my blog!!!

Copyright 2013  C.R. Smith

This document is the property of C.R. Smith and any reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.  This document is intended for personal use, with the emphasis on recreational crafting, and private craft shows. The use of this document and the contents thereof is not permitted in such a way that it may be used by any persons for commercial use or sale, without the expressed written consent of Carolyn Rene Smith. By using this document, you agree and adhere to the preceding terms, and any violation thereof is subject to penalty by law..


  1. This is an excellent tutorial. I see many opportunities to use this information in creating pumpkins for use in many different ways! Thank you ~ Joyce

    1. Well, thank you so very much Joyce! I hope I get to see some of your new pumpkins! You sound very creative!


      Carly Anne

  2. I enjoyed this very much. At the pace in which I work, it's going to take me 10 years to finish one pumpkin, but I enjoyed the tutorial nonetheless.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the tutorial! It will always be available on my blog. I may make a whole section devoted to tutorials...maybe that will make it possible for you to indulge yourself in your creativity.Sincerely,


      Carly Anne

  3. Great tutorial Miss Carly! You sew the pumpkin for me and I'll do the rest!!

    1. Hello there, Dear One! I just may do that...then you'd have to try your crystal applicator! LOL! Thanks for stopping by!


      Carly Anne

  4. Thanks for sharing this is awesome!

  5. Lady Jane, Just hearing that is such a reward...Thank you so very much!

    Love Always,

    Carly Anne

  6. Following your blog and so happy to be in the contest. Thanks, Pam It's midnight here in Florida. Stayed up to enter. Thanks, Pam