Halloween is almost here — costumes on, pumpkins out! And while everyone loves an old-fashioned carved jack-o-lantern, some of us prefer a little more glitz and glamour this time of year. For those who are with me in the glitz and glamour camp, this jeweled (faux) pumpkin is a fun, hands-on project that you can display proudly every October for years to come.
And hey — while you’re at it, why limit yourself to gourds? You can use the same technique to decorate a plastic skull, the outside of a punch bowl, or nearly any other surface that could benefit from a little pizzazz. Now let’s get started!
You will need:
- Foam pumpkin
- Collage clay
- Flat-backed rhinestones (or a mix of lightweight crystals, beads or buttons*)
- Disposable knife
- Craft glitter
- White glue
- Mixing bowl (choose one that’s slightly smaller in diameter than your pumpkin)
*You can find a variety of rhinestones on Etsy or in most craft stores (look for inexpensive bags of them in the kids’ activity section, or head to the bead and crystal section for higher-quality stones). For this tutorial, I removed the blue stones from the mix to give it a more autumnal vibe, but there’s no limit to the color schemes you can try.
Before you begin: Round pumpkins can be difficult to balance while you’re bedazzling; make it easier on yourself by using a mixing bowl as a stand. Simply grab a sturdy bowl that has a slightly smaller diameter than your pumpkin, line it with a plastic bag, and position the pumpkin on top. Voilà: That gourd isn’t going anywhere!
Step 1: Turn the pumpkin upside down atop your mixing bowl and squeeze an even line of collage clay around its bottom. Use the disposable knife to spread it across roughly a quarter of the pumpkin, aiming for fairly even coverage (but don’t worry about perfection — this is a very forgiving adhesive!). If you have never used collage clay before, prepare to fall in love! It goes on with the same consistency as buttercream frosting, but dries to a lightweight clay with major holding power.
Step 2: Working from the center out, press stones into the collage clay, alternating the shapes, sizes, and colors of the gems as you go.
Step 3: Repeat step one, covering another 25% of the pumpkin in collage clay and rhinestones. Allow to dry overnight.
Step 4: After the bottom half is dry, flip the pumpkin over and begin adding more collage clay and filling in with more stones. Keep going until the entire pumpkin is covered.
Step 5: Now it’s time to give the stem a little glitz: Coat the whole thing with white glue and sprinkle on a layer of gold glitter.
Step 6: Allow everything to dry overnight — and expect to be impressed in the morning!
All photographs by Aunt Peaches.