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Polymer Clay Pumpkins
Projects : Polymer Clay Pumpkins and Fabric Fall Leaves

Pumpkin Top View

Clay and Fabric Fun

Polymer Clay Pumpkins and Fabric Fall Leaves Project

By Chris Dunmire

Autumn Accessories

This Polymer Clay Pumpkin and Fabric Fall Leaf Project is an easy and fun set of autumn accessories you can make with minimal materials and cost. Learn how to make your own pumpkins and leaves by following the illustrated step-by-step project instructions below.

You can use my pumpkin idea and adapt it to your own holiday projects such as Halloween pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns (for instance, create your own carved faces by adding black triangle eyes and halloween-esque mouth formations in whatever fashion you choose).

Project Materials & Tools:

  • Orange and Green Polymer Clay
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Toothpick

USEFUL TIPS: Polymer clay is a versatile medium that allows colors to be mixed together like paint to create new colors.

I mixed yellow with a little bit of red to make orange clay for all of my pumpkins. For the stems, I mixed yellow with a little bit of green to make a lighter shade of green. Follow the standard color wheel mixing principles as you experiment with mixing colors for your projects.

Also, to make your clay last longer, you can ball up aluminum foil to create a center core for larger items to wrap your clay around. This technique reduces the baking time needed and makes your clay go farther. I'll expand on this principle in step 2 of this project.


Clay Pumpkin Project Instructions:

1. Prepare your clay.

To create this simple polymer clay pumpkin, you'll need four items:

  1. A ball of orange clay for the pumpkin;

  2. a smaller ball of green clay for the stem;

  3. a ball of aluminum foil for the pumpkin core;

  4. and a toothpick to draw lines into the pumpkin.

First you'll need to decide how large you want your pumpkin to be, and then you can ready your materials in proportion to that. A good way to begin is by balling your aluminum foil core a little smaller than the final size you want your pumpkin to be.

Orange Clay around Aluminum Foil Ball

2. Wrap the clay around the foil core.

Make sure you have enough clay to completely cover the foil core, allowing enough clay "padding" to ensure even coverage thick enough so the clay surface will be round and smooth. The sharp edges of the foil core will protrude outward if the clay is too thin.

In the book Create Anything with Clay, Sherri Haab and Laura Torres advise: "We use a ball of foil inside any 3-D project bigger than a marble. Just crumple up the foil, wrap a thin sheet of clay around it, and smooth any seams with your fingers."

Make Pumpkin StemAttach Stem

3. Make and attach the pumpkin stem.

Begin with a small ball of green clay and roll it out to form a slightly pointy top. Then, score and push the round bottom part of the stem into the top center of the orange "pumpkin" ball. Gently press down to make the stem indent and seat into the top of the ball. Next, bend the tip over a bit to give it that "crooked" growing stem look.

Carve Lines into Clay

Pumpkin Top View

4. Draw section lines on the pumpkin.

To give your pumpkin a more authentic look, draw in section lines with the toothpick from the stem base to the bottom of the pumpkin. Study the top view of the second pumpkin picture to pattern your lines after.

5. Bake the pumpkin.

Place the pumpkin onto a piece of aluminum foil and/or in a shallow baking pan and bake for 10-15 minutes at 275 F degrees (baking times may vary, so refer to the directions on your clay packaging for best results). After baking, let the pumpkin cool completely and it's finished!

USEFUL TIP: If the stem should separate from the pumpkin after baking, simply use glue to reattach it.

Fall Leaves Cut from Fabric

How to Make the Fabric Leaves

You'll see that my pumpkins are arranged over an assortment fabric fall leaves. I made the leaves by using my Fall Leaf Cutout Templates that you can download from this site. Simply print the templates on your printer and tape them to a swatch of fabric and cut around them to make dazzling accents. Be sure to use sharp scissors to cut through the layers of paper and fabric. •

Finished Project

© 2004, 2006 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.

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ColorCreativity Portal™ founder Chris Dunmire inspires artists, writers, teachers and children with her creative prompts and writing activities. She's trained as a creativity coach with both Eric Maisel, PhD, and Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching™ founder Jill Badonsky, MeD. Her sense of humor and witty wordplay is woven throughout the corridors of Creativity Portal where she encourages others towards engaging in deeper, more meaningful levels of artistic expression and playful creativity, sustained in part through the support of Creativity Portal Access Pass Holders. Please sign up — your support counts and is appreciated!