Make this faux warty pumpkin with easy to follow photo instruction. You won’t believe how easy it is to turn a fake pumpkin into a knucklehead pumpkin!
This year I got really excited to help my mom decorate her front porch. It’s a small affair with enough room to put a small folding chair behind a big brick pillar. Right now, the situation is not perfectly ideal because all of the mums died. Seriously. Seven potted mums, all dead. What a welcoming Autumn doorstep, right? Jeez Louise.
Besides all of that death there is also a really pretty fall garland around the door full of burlap, cotton stems, mini pumpkins and, of course, fall leaves. With a banner on the wall just beside, a wreath on the front door, and an adorably Autumnal metal welcome sign to the side, it would totally be enough. But I don’t do just enough. I do more. Some say less is more but I tend to think less is a bore!
And so I painted up a whole mess of fake craft pumpkins to look real. Well, real-ish. And I’m super happy with how they turned out. After grabbing a few hay bales from Michael’s to place in the flower bed just beside the itty bitty porch, I suddenly had a new place to add even more mums. *sigh* poor mums. In addition to adding a botanical nightmare, I also had a place for even more DIY painted pumpkins.
After seeing some GORGEOUS knucklehead pumpkins at the grocery store and really wanting to buy one I decided to DIY it, instead. The cost is higher to DIY than just to buy a warty pumpkin, but the good news is you keep the homemade version instead of throwing it away.
Ready to make your own?
Supplies needed to make your own Fake Knucklehead Pumpkin:
- Foam Craft Pumpkin
- Paper Clay
- Christmas ornament hooks
- Needlenose Pliers
- Hot Glue Gun
- Lots and Lots of Hot Glue
- Orange Spray Paint (Rustoleum Rustic Orange)
- Craft Acrylic Paint (colors used below)
The best clay I found to make your own fake knucklehead pumpkin is Creative Paperclay. I also used Crayola Air Dry Clay but I don’t recommend it. Although lighter in weight is sort of squishy and easy to become damaged.
My pumpkin used here is the largest available at Michael’s. I’ve come to the conclusion that my favorite craft pumpkin to work with is from Walmart, though the stores around me sold out some time ago. Though my pumpkin is gigantic, I actually wish I would have used a smaller pumpkin so I could have covered it with more warts. Basically the point you see here is the point at which I was over this project and just sort of wrapped it up. I figure I’ll go back and add some more warts when I’m not simultaneously working on fall crafts and putting up Christmas trees. Ah, the joy of October through December as a craft blogger :)
Rustoleum Rustic Orange is used to color our white warts to pumpkin orange. And to paint a more realistic fake warty pumpkin I used Martha Stewart brand craft acrylic paints in Spring Green and Marmalade (orange). I also used a less expensive brand of Burnt Umber Acrylic Paint.
You’ll also need lots and lots of hot glue. Like, lots. I actually purchased a 5-pound box of hot glue sticks and used a handful of them on this project. And by a handful, I mean like 8.
Snip Christmas ornament hooks, or a fine gauge wire into 1-inch segments. You will need one for every clay wart you want on your pumpkin. If you have metal nippers you can use those, but if you don’t you can use the innermost part of needlenose pliers where there is a little snipping section.
Using your pliers, push a 1-inch segment of wire into the pumpkin where you would like to place a wart.
I’m clumsy. Things happen. And while I was pushing these thin pieces of metal into my pumpkin I realized that they looked awful pointy. My eyes, by comparison, seemed mighty delicate. And so, just in case my head bobbed forward in some way it has literally never done before, I decided to wear glasses as a safety while working on this craft. Good news… eyeballs are still intact and safety glasses aren’t actually necessary for this project :)
Pinch off a small amount of your paperclay from the block. Roll it into a balm using the palms of your hands. Place it onto the wire sticking out of the pumpkin, pushing down so that it sticks.
Place your clay warts together in clusters. And say “hi” to Maybe, cat craft assistant extraordinaire!
Making the pumpkin’s warts look more “real”.
Reference photos of real warty pumpkins can be super helpful. I snapped these photos at the local nursery and some more at the grocery store and they were immensely helpful.
Push your clay balls together to form something that looks like one piece, but also still resembles individual sections within that one piece.<– that sentence sounded like it made sense in my head but now I’m not so sure… :/
Continue adding warts to your pumpkin until you are happy with the coverage. Or until you run out of clay. Or whenever you decide you’re over making warts.
As the clay dries you’ll notice that it cracks in some areas. Don’t worry about that. It’s literally not going to be noticeable.
Give your clay plenty of time to dry, at least 24 hours, but 48 is even better. Place it somewhere safe because the warts aren’t actually tacked on and will easily come off, especially when dry.
Permanently attach the clay to your fake knucklehead pumpkin.
This is where the copious amounts of hot glue come in… Carefully working around the clay warts place hot glue around and beneath each wart.
It is super important that your clay warts be DRY when gluing otherwise it’s not going to work.
Work around and around gluing all of your clay to your warty pumpkin. At this point, you can also begin adding additional, smaller warts around your clay shapes.
When working with this much hot glue, you’re going to get a stringy mess. Clear away the bulk of these strings of glue with a blast of hot air from a blow dryer. Mine is one of those jobbies you add a brush to the end of to curl your hair as you dry it. When I’m not actively drying my hair, I LOVE it for jobs like this.
Painting your pumpkin for a more realistic finish.
Making sure you get it from all angles, paint the warts of your pumpkin with orange spray paint. Allow plenty of time for the paint to dry and the fumes to fade.
After painting your warts will be a lot more visible. At this point, you might decide that your warts aren’t defined enough. Feel free to add more blogs of hot glue to fill out the shapes, if you’d like. Once dry, spray paint again to cover the dried glue and allow to dry.
To give your warts some pop (that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write) go around each individual shape with green paint. Feather the paint outward around the blobs themselves, but keep it heavy in between the globs of glue and clay.
While the paint is still wet, add orange paint on top of your warts working around and around until you’re happy with the effect.
Using burnt umber paint, paint faint lines in the indentations for the pumpkin’s segments.
Go over these lines, and the rest of the pumpkin with your orange craft acrylic paint to mute them. Continue until you’re happy with the coverage.
Paint the stem dark brown and once dry, dry brush some black paint into the creases and indentations.
Oh, and if you’d like a little more detail on the painting, check out this post showing you how to paint realistic fake pumpkins I shared in September.
At the end of the day, I’m happy with my DIY warty pumpkin even though I did technically give up on the craft when I was about 2/3 of the way done :) And, even I must admit I must admit that my warty pumpkin is kind of a “full on Monet”. But when it’s not right up against your peepers it’s totally believable as being real!
It doesn’t matter, that it isn’t technically finished, or that it is kind of fake-looking up close because I tricked myself when I came upon it by the front door! Huzzah!