So… I am a clearance section shopper… if you see me buying seasonal décor at full price just know I am going to keep the tags on the bottom of that bad boy and return that as soon as I am done with it. (confession).
Last year I bought all of the little faux Pumpkins that were left on the nearly empty Final Clearance shelves at Joann’s… because you NEVER know when inspiration might strike and a girl needs to be prepared, am I right? Anyway, they were 70% off and I had a coupon… WIN.
This project was a no brainer and was Pinterest inspired… you know what I am talking about…the cute fresh petit pumpkins carved out and used for your Fall flowers? Brilliant and adorable, Right?
Yeah, well, as much as I love fresh, I love things I can re-use more. That makes the whopping $1 per pumpkin price tag all the more sweet.
So here you have it, fake pumpkins, long term décor. Mix it into your fresh fleurs mix and BAM… fabulousness year after year.
I promise I will be better at taking BEFORE pictures in the future… I get antsy and when that happens I skip those little steps. Anyway… just know that these little guys were not the “Funkins” or “carvable” pumpkins you see all over, these were pre-colored ready to place around your table and made of dense foam kind.
Kind of similar to the ones you see in this picture here (which I pinched off the Joann’s site). I linked them if you want to save yourself the trip to the store.
Anyway… let’s get started.
1) Paint your pumpkin
The easiest step and can be done faster than the time it takes to remove the pesky labels off the bottom of the pumpkins.
I use a base layer of Rustoleum White Universal Primer to cover the color and then a layer of (in this case) Rustoleum Gold in this case) spray paint… which if you are a spray painter you know to do this OUTSIDE… and away from open windows lest your house reek like a paint shed for hours. (headache).
I let my pumpkins cure over night even though I KNOW they are technically workable a few hours after spraying. Actually I am not usually that patient, I just got side tracked by having to “Parent” so they cured over night.
The final KEY step in the painting process that makes this a little different than most painted pumpkin projects is to use Sheffield’s GOLD LEAF as your final coat. I’m not going to lie, I LOVE liquid gold … it gives a much harder finish than just spray paint, it is easy peasy to use and a little goes a REALLY long way andBut just note… it really stinks… another do it in a well ventilated area coat here friends.
2) Hollow out your pumpkin
Think of the steps needed to carve a REAL pumpkin and you are repeating here but in a medium of dense foam.
I use a small, serrated knife to do this. I use a kitchen version rather than a cheap pumpkin carving version as it is sharper and sturdier. The foam can be pesky and it’s really just my preference. You can use whatever you prefer obviously, just don’t cut yourself and blame me when you are in the ER getting stitches.
Carve out the top… if you are meticulous enough you could technically save it for future use but personally I don’t like the way that the foam underside looks so I trash it. If you are saving your tops you will obviously want to be less sloppy when painting them stem.. I am not saving them so I don’t care what the stem looks like.
I then take a small, sharp edged spoon to hollow out the foamy interior. This is where things can get frustrating, the foamy bits in these pumpkins are made up of the compressed ball foam which kind of explodes when it breaks part… and sticks to EVERYTHING… and I am still finding in my kitchen a few weeks later.
I hollow out enough of the foam to fit a small cylindrical votive holder. Because of the foam’s “ball” texture it is nearly impossible to get a perfectly even base but that’s okay, there are 2 options for placing your flowers that will counter this discrepancy.
How to place your flowers:
1) Votive Holder:
Half of the time, I want these little pumpkins to have a little weight especially when I am using some taller flowers like the Bells of Ireland in my Post pic. The foam is very light which is a blessing and a curse so depending on how “big” your mini arrangement is (and how heavy…) The votive provides a little extra stability for the mini arrangements.
When I am using the votive holder vase method I make my mini arrangements in hand, bundle with floral tape or a rubber band, and then trim to fit the length of the vase. You will have VERY short stems but bundling the bouquet before placing in the water helps keep it all together better in my book.
It is just as easy to use some cut to size oasis in the base of these pumpkins to house your arrangement. As with larger scale florals, the oasis allows you to create as you go, and (if using pre soaked for fresh flowers) it also provides you a little more longevity in how fresh your flowers stay.
The only drawback for this with these pumpkins is that the oasis is as light weight as the pumpkins to it is not ideal when using heavier stemmed fresh flowers or those with any real height.
I find it best for thin, stick-like stemmed flowers with very light blossoms or dried flowers (statice, straw flowers, baby’s breath, etc.) that won’t be effected as the oasis dries out. Added bonus.. this type of arrangement gives you a longer running arrangement.
So there you have it… the Pippa version of the mini pumpkin vase with my unsolicited advice of how I fudge my way through table decorating for the Autumn holiday.
Cheers, and Happy DIYing!