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by Susan Randstrom Bruck

Here’s a kid-friendly project that won’t send shivers down your spine.

When autumn winds turn bone-chilling cold and children dream of becoming vampires, parents might want to have some crafty ideas in their bags of tricks. If you don’t feel like getting pumpkin slime all over the kitchen this year, try this DIY project that doesn’t require 30 minutes  just for cleanup.

Since decoupage is the art of decorating an object with paper cutouts, I used a pumpkin as my object. Look for cutouts made from thin paper or try flat, natural elements from your backyard. I looked for inspirational cutouts that are easy to find in October such as pre-cut, black paper crows or oak leaves and real foliage or flower petals. Whether you use scary cutouts or natural materials, the cutouts must be thin enough to lie flatly on the pumpkin in the decoupage process. Watch how innocent pumpkins
will reveal their darker side – even without the eerie flicker of candlelight.

Gather your supplies and start the haunting!


*One small jar of “Outdoor Mod Podge.” This brush-on adhesive triples as a glue, sealer and finish. Crafters often use it for decoupage projects because it is non-toxic, dries quickly and is water-based for an easy cleanup – perfect for children and adults. (It is available at craft stores or online at plaidonline.com.)

*Look for your favorite paper cutouts on text-weight paper. (Tip: Cutouts won’t adhere and lay flat on a rounded pumpkin if you use thick paper.)

*Select your favorite orange, white or blue-gray pumpkin or gourd – any size will work. (Tip: Use a smooth-skinned pumpkin because it’s easier to keep the cutouts flat when applying Mod Podge.)

*Find inexpensive, one-inch wide brushes for applying thin coats of Mod Podge.


*Newspaper or plastic to protect table surfaces.

How to:

1.  Thoroughly clean pumpkin with water and pat dry.

2.  Choose the best side of your pumpkin for the front view.

3.  Plan your design with your chosen art elements.

4.  Brush a thin layer of adhesive on the pumpkin (only where you want to place the first cutout). Place cutout on pumpkin and brush on another layer of Mod Podge to seal it. Go over it lightly with a brush to flatten the paper and remove any creases or bubbles.

5.  Continue to add more cutouts or leaves to make any pattern you choose. Repeat process.

6.  Allow Mod Podge to dry approximately 15-20 minutes between each coat. (Adhesive will turn from white to clear when it is dry.) You will want to apply three to four coats over each cutout or leaf before you are finished.

7. When you are finished applying images, brush on a layer of Mod Podge over the entire pumpkin for a continuous, glossy surface.

8.  Allow pumpkin to dry for 24 hours before placing it in a protected outdoor area. Finished pumpkins can be enjoyed indoors too, but they won’t last as long in a warm home (approximately 1-2 weeks). m

Sources for Paper Cutouts

*Dover Books clipart in book or cd format at doverpublications.com

*Martha Stewart decoupage art is available at craft stores and online at marthastewart.com

*Best of all, make your own designs!

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