Papier Mâché Pumpkins

IMG_8864Papier Mâché (From Wikipedia)  (French for “chewed paper,”) is a composite material consisted of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.

I am using an artificial pumpkin that I purchased from Michael’s for this project.  That way, I can enjoy my papier mâché pumpkin for many years to come.

IMG_8814First I selected fall themed handmade papers from my vast collection.  I chose yellows, oranges and reds and the green and yellow paper was meant for the stem.  Handmade papers work so much better for this project than other papers such as gift wrap, etc.  Handmade papers have longer fibers so you are able to manipulate the paper without it falling apart, and besides it just so beautiful.  Paper Source sells a variety of beautiful handmade papers.

IMG_8871Then I proceeded to tear the paper into approximately 1″ strips and then tear the strips into 3″ to 5″ pieces.

IMG_8873(Strips of paper the pumpkin papier mâché project).

IMG_8889Then I brought out the Methyl Cellulose.  This is an awesome product for papier mâché.  It’s wet and a little sticky, but not like glue.  You are able to maneuver your strips of paper on your project without it becoming stuck so quickly, like it would with glue.  The methyl cellulose comes in a plastic jar, and it is a powder.  You fill the container half-way with piping hot water, stir and let the powder dissolve, and then fill with cold water and let it sit overnight or at least for several hours before use.  (Methyl cellulose (40%) mixed with PVA (60%) is an excellent combination for bookbinding projects as well).

IMG_8890I always pour the methyl cellulose into another container (one in which I can soak my paper strips in).  This way you aren’t contaminating your main container.

IMG_8891After soaking the strips of paper in the methyl cellulose for a few seconds (just long enough to throughly wet the paper), strip off the excess methyl cellulose with your fingers and then place the strip on the pumpkin.

IMG_8816Repeat until the pumpkin is covered in paper strips.

IMG_8976The finished project.  Now all I have to do is let the paper dry thoroughly, and then spray it with a clear glossy glaze.

I have a decorated pumpkin that was so much fun to make.  (I actually made two, the first one was a brown craft pumpkin).

Happy Crafting!

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