While looking for Fall decorating ideas using natural materials, I came across a picture of a Pumpkinman on Pinterest, and I just had to try it. Here’s how my version came out:
If you’d like to give it a try, you can learn from my mistakes! Here’s how I did it, and, maybe more importantly, what I’d do differently the next time. Be sure to read all the way through before taking a knife to your pumpkin! First, I bought a bunch of pumpkins, specifically looking for a nice big one for the bottom, a slightly smaller one for the middle, and a little one for the head. Now I feel like I’m digressing into Goldilocks and the Three Bears! Back to Pumpkinman . . . Turns out you can’t just stack them one on top of the other – there’s no way they’ll balance like that. So what to do? I decided to saw off the top of the bottom pumpkin to make a flat surface, like this:
DON’T DO THIS!
While the middle pumpkin covers most of the top, I still think it looks a little funny. Instead use two pieces of a wooden dowel or sticks from the backyard to connect the bottom and middle pumpkin. I had a 3/8” dowel sitting around, so I cut that into 5-6” pieces. Cut a small hole in both sides of the top of the bottom pumpkin and the bottom of the middle pumpkin (got it?). Stick the dowels into the middle pumpkin first, then push them into the top of the bottom pumpkin.
Dowels in the bottom pumpkin. MISTAKE — Put them in the middle pumpkin first!
I did the same thing to connect the top pumpkin to the middle pumpkin. I only had one dowel left, so I used a stick for the second piece. I also found two sticks to use as his arms. Just make a small starter hole with your knife – the pumpkin carving tool works really well – and push them in.
The pumpkin carving tool was a huge help.
Pumpkinman — version 1!
So off I go to find a pine cone to use as a nose, but WHAT? Pumpkinman is too top-heavy so he topples over soon after I walk away. Oh no!
Pumpkinman turns into Humpty Dumpty!
I decide to move him to the soft ground on the other side of the walkway just behind a big boulder and hope that will make him more stable. Off I go pine cone hunting, and when I turn around a minute later Pumpkinman’s head is rolling down the driveway. Not again! What to do? I cut a 6-8” piece of a nice thick 1” dowel that I also had left over from some other project, stuck it into the ground, and cut a corresponding hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. You could also use a nice thick stick. That seems to have done the trick as he’s still standing over 24 hours later. I also put two thick pieces of dowel in front of him on either side as an extra precaution.
I assemble the pieces for the THIRD time, and get to work on his face. I found a pine cone for the nose, but you should really do the eyes first! So I took the pine cone out, and picked some sedum from my garden to make two eyes. I thought of using two yellow mums, but I wasn’t sure how they would hold up as they dried. If you use a different flower, please let me know how it works out. I attached a toothpick to the stem of the sedum with a little piece of florist wire. Place the pointy end of the toothpick facing the pumpkin. Make a starter hole with your tool – not too big or the flower might fall out – and gently jam the flower in. Repeat for the other eye.
Now do the nose. If you can find a pine cone with a little stem attached it makes it much easier to attach. Just make a tiny hole in the center of the top pumpkin and gently slide it in. If you push too hard the stem will break. You might want to wear gloves working with the pine cones as the cones in my yard are full of sap.
- This stem was actually a little too long but easy to cut.
VOILA! Pumpkinman lives!
I thought about adding a mouth, and some small stones might work well, but I didn’t have any :-(. If I get ambitious, maybe I’ll build a friend for him and try to perfect my method. It’s October 22, and I hope no critters or bad weather get to him before Halloween so he can great our tricker-treaters. When he’s ready to go, the pumpkins will be smashed and thrown into the yard for the deer and other animals. The sticks and flowers will just go into the compost pile. Just as with our gift bags, there will be no trash left behind! If you make a Pumpkinman – or Pumpkinwoman – I’d love to see how it comes out and what you do differently. Please post a picture on our Facebook page
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for gift suggestions and holiday ideas.