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In this guest post, Kim teaches us how to make a paper mache pumpkin lantern for Halloween. (I’m going to make several of these myself – the plastic forms are on sale now at the local Wal-Mart for $1!)
I’m trying a new format for this post, with a gallery of photos first, and the instructions below. Click on the photos to see them in a larger size. Now, here’s Kim, the author of this post
I’m Kim Van Munching from Connecticut. I’m a paper mache artist and Halloween enthusiast…we start decorating our house on October 1st! I haven’t come up with my own website yet…mothering an 11 year old boy and teaching crafts at a local pre-school and at my town’s Senior Center has kept me super busy.
Step 1: Cover plastic lantern with wet newspaper without any glue…this prevents my first layer from sticking; I don’t use a release agent but by all means do if you usually use one. I leave a small seam around the pumpkin; this is where I separate the two halves once the paper mache is dry.
Step 2: Cover newspaper layer with about an 1/8″ thick layer of paper mache clay. My recipe is courtesy of Scott Stoll and is made up of 3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup liquid starch, 1/2 cup Elmers glue and enough warm water to make a liquid the consistency of heavy cream. Then I add 1 cup of powdered joint compound and newspaper pulp. I pat that around the form, being careful to mind where I’ve left the seams bare.
Step 3: Once the paper mache is dry, I pop the halves off the form. Sometimes I have to wiggle a pallet knife under the seam edges to loosen things up a bit. Then I use masking tape to re-tape the halves back together. This is also when I build up the facial features with more newspaper and tape and sketch out where I’d like the eyes and mouth.
Step 6: I cut the eyes and mouth out with my Dremel and add another layer of paper mache clay to form the features. Since this is a two-faced lantern I work both sides.
Step 7: Once everything has dried, I cover my lantern with gesso, let it dry, and smooth is a bit with sand paper. I leave the surface fairly rough as I like the way it grabs the paint later.
Step 8: Dark brown acrylic underpainting.
StepÂ 9: I start to dry brush with orange paint.
Step 10: Once I’ve finished painting, I add a layer of paste finishing wax, which I buff to a nice glow.
Step 11: I design the eyes and mouth inserts on my computer. I believe Martha Stewart has some on her website, too. I glue the eyes and mouth inserts in with Aleene’s Tacky Glue. This is a two sided lantern – see photos 11a and 11b below, to see both sides.
Step 12: The lantern with an electric tea light inside.
Thanks, Kim! This looks like a really fun project. If anyone makes one, please post a photo in your comments below, so we can all see how your pumpkin lantern came out. And remember, everyone – no candles! We want you all to stay safe this Halloween. 😉
By the way, Kim says she should have her own website up and running by the end of October. As soon as it’s live, I’ll post a link to her new site.