DIY Lettered Pumpkin Tutorial

Happy October, you guys! For the last couple of days I’ve been seeing the quote from Anne of Green Gables- “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”- just about EVERYWHERE, and it’s killing me, because right now, in Ohio, it feels more like early July than early October. Where is my fall weather?! I want cool air and sweaters and scarves and soup and coffee all day and pretty leaves, and pumpkins & apples, but all I’m getting is humidity, rain, and 80 degree days. I don’t think Mother Nature got the memo.

Despite the weather, I’m over here getting into all the fall activities, which includes, of course, decoratiing. I really love the hand-lettered pumpkins I’ve been seeing all over, so I decided to make some of my own, and I thought I’d share the process with you, in case you want one - or a few- too. Because, actually, they’re pretty simple to make, and they’re really cute. So let’s jump right it!

To make these pumpkins you need 3 (maybe 4) things:

  • A pumpkin (real or faux- you choose)

  • A pencil

  • A paint pen (I used an oil-based Sharpie paint pen)

  • Optional carbon paper (or chalk- I’ll explain)

First, decide on your word/phrase and sketch it onto your pumpkin in pencil. Be sure to space your letters a little further apart than you normally would- and if you’re writing in cursive, leave extra space in your loops- because we’re going to create some faux calligraphy. If you’re unsure about lettering by hand, find a font you like on your computer and print your word/phrase. Then you can either use carbon paper OR cover the back of the printed page with chalk. Lay it against your pumpkin and use the pencil to trace around the outer edge of your printed word/phrase.

Next, use your paint pen to trace over your sketched lines. Be sure to shake your paint pen well before using and apply steady pressure while writing with it.

Finally, thicken some of your lines by tracing over them a couple more times with the pain pen. If you’ve traced a printed font, just fill in the wider spaces. If you did it free-hand, choose which lines you want to thicken. For faux-calligraphy, i.e. any script lettering, you’re going to make your down-strokes thicker. If you did a hand-printed font, you can get different looks by thinckening different lines. I chose to widen the left-hand side of every letter (also the down-strokes in this case) for my printed “HELLO”.

Let it dry for a few minutes and you’re done! Go find a cute place for it in your fall decor!

Easy Painted Canvas Tote

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This summer I found some straw bags for the girls to embellish that I thought could double as a craft project and really cute beach bags for them (turns out the bags never actually made it to the beach, but that's another story). If I've got a project for the girls, I generally need something for Theo to do as well, so while they went about creating their bags, I did this painted canvas tote with him.

I bought him a simple white canvas tote from JoAnn Fabric, but I couldn't find it on their website, so you can click here for a similar one from Amazon (in a multi-pack, sorry!). He's really into dinosaurs right now, so I got online, found a silhouette of a stegosaurus that he liked, and printed it out on 8.5x11 inch paper. I made sure that it was big enough to fill most of the side of the bag (meaning it also filled most of the paper). I slid the paper into the bag and used a black Sharpie to trace the outline. I didn't get a picture of this part, but if you scroll down, you'll get the idea!

I could have given him fabric paint, but I don't keep much on hand, and I didn't want to buy a bunch of new paints. Watered-down acrylics work just as well, so I let Theo choose a few colors from my stash, then added a small about of water to each (you want them to be runny, like liquid paint, but not too watery). Don't forget to use a smock, because acrylics don't wash out one they are dry!

Before letting he got started, I slid a piece of parchment paper inside the bag so the paint would bleed through and make the sides stick together. Then I let him paint to his heart's content.

When he was satisfied with his work, I let his bag dry for a few hours (acrylics dry pretty quickly), then I took the parchment paper out and now he has a fun bag to take to the pool (or to the library, the store, or any where else he goes).

Painted Wood Bead Necklaces

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a low-prep activity to do with the kids, so I dug out these left over 20-mm wood beads that I had from another project. I let them pick some acrylic paint colors from my stash, threw some smocks on them and let them go to town painting their beads.

When they were done painting them, I threaded them on toothpicks and laid the toothpicks across the mouths of some mason jars so the beads could dry. Acrylic paint dries pretty quickly, so it didn't take long.

Once the beads were dry, I sprayed them with sealant to keep the paint from chipping. Then I gave them their beads, some pony beads for spacers, and some nylon mousetail cord so they could string them onto necklaces.

When they were done, I tied the ends of the cord into a knot, then used a lighter to melt the cord slightly so the knot wouldn't come undone. 

Don't you just love those chunky wood beads? There's just something about them, especially in those cheerful colors, that I love!