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Lately I’ve been rather feeling the whole ‘decorating with pumpkins’ thing. So you can imagine my dismay when I was unable to find fake pumpkins anywhere. No pretty neutral white pumpkins. No rustic pumpkins. No burlap pumpkins. Nada.
See, decorating with pumpkins isn’t really a ‘thing’ here in Australia. We’ve only recently semi-jumped on the Halloween bandwagon (I say ‘semi-jumped’ because it’s still not super commonly celebrated). In addition, unlike America, we don’t really have the cultural history around the autumn harvest. As such, despite going to nearly every craft and homewares store in a 10 kilometre radius, I’ve found exactly 0 fake pumpkins.
Well, actually, I did find one fake pumpkin. It was hot pink and glittery. So, you know. Super neutral farmhouse.
After a few weeks of searching, I decided to stick it to the pumpkin-hating man and DIY my own damn pumpkins.
Here’s the finished result:
To make fake fabric pumpkins, you will need:
- Empty toilet paper rolls. You can make two small fabric pumpkins or one large pumpkin per roll.
- Fabric of your choosing, cut into strips. You can use any type of fabric provided that it’s not too bulky (more bulk = harder to thread through the roll). I used part of an old drop cloth and some burlap scraps.
- A large stick or small branch.
Step 1: Create the base pumpkin shape
The first step in making your fake pumpkin is padding out the empty toilet paper roll. The aim is to give the roll a short-and-fat, rather than long-and-tall, shape. This helps the end product actually look like a pumpkin rather than a weird alien creature.
To begin, decide how big you want your fabric pumpkin. For a small pumpkin, use half of the toilet roll. For a large pumpkin, use the roll as-is.
Grab one of your fabric strips and wrap it around the toilet roll several times. If your fabric strip is significantly wider than the toilet roll, fold it so that it’s roughly the same size. You can see in the picture below where I’ve folded my fabric scrap.
Once you have finished wrapping the fabric around the toilet roll, hold the fabric in place using your non-dominant hand.
Step 2: Create the pumpkin
Now that your toilet roll is the right shape, it’s time to make the fabric pumpkin’s ‘body’.
Thread a strip of fabric down through the toilet roll’s hole until a small ‘tail’ pokes out at the bottom. Hold on to this tail with your non-dominant hand.
Then, loop the fabric around the toilet roll in an over-under-over motion. You should go down on the outside of the roll, then up through the centre of the roll, then down on the outside of the roll again. After a few of these ‘loops’, you can let go of the fabric’s tail, as it will be held in place by the looped fabric.
Every so often, use your index and middle finger to pull on the loops. This helps the loops stay round and pumpkin-like.
Once you have completely covered the outside of your toilet roll, tuck any excess fabric into the bottom/top of the roll. If you have a lot of excess fabric, it’s a good idea to snip off most of it so you’re not stuck trying to jam large amounts of fabric into a small hole.
Step 3: Add a stem to your fabric pumpkin
The final step is adding a stem to your pumpkin.
Snap a small piece of wood off your branch/large stick. You should aim for a piece of wood that’s roughly 1 1/2 times the size you want your stem to be, as some of it will be hidden.
To create your pumpkin’s stem, firmly push your wood into the top of your pumpkin. The fabric should hold the stem in place without the need for any glue. However, if you anticipate little kiddy fingers getting on your pumpkins, you can secure the stem using a hot glue gun.
Once your stem is secured, your DIY fabric pumpkins are complete! You can use your fake pumpkins in any number of ways: style them on a rustic three-tiered tray, pop a few on the mantlepiece, or glue them to a grapevine wreath for a cute fall/Halloween wreath.
You can pin this project for later here