Things don’t always work out perfectly in craft blogger world but that’s why and how I’m able to bring real, working craft tutorials for you to do. You see, this was initially set to be a set of 3 pumpkins that would sit side by side and spell out “boo”. How cute, right? I got 3 pumpkins, 2 white and one black and started to carve the “B” into the first white one.
But you might notice that pumpkin up there says “A” which most definitely is NOT in the word “boo”. That’s because my first go worked out just OK. The end result was quite messy looking as I had a few issues with the technique I worked out for the first go and since the pumpkin was white and there apparently needs to be a lot of light inside of the pumpkin to really illuminate these little clear marquee bulbs the whole thing glowed like CRAZY. Like, the white pumpkin literally glowed and it made the marquee lights themselves hardly noticeable.
I didn’t want to go buy another pumpkin and I decided that rather than whip out 3 okay pumpkins I’d concentrate my efforts on how to better make one. So today that’s what I’m doing. It would have been far more spectacular to spell out BOO but, hey, you gotta deal with what life deals you and with crafts that is the fairly common craft fail!
Now you might be wondering why go to the trouble to create the look of a marquee letter when you can just cut the pumpkin and insert an actual marquee letter. Flat out? Cost. Not on sale Heidi Swapp marquee letters run around $13 apiece, and remember I was going to do 3 letters at first. Even when I found them on sale they were still $9 and that is $27 on letters alone OR I could buy two packages of bulbs at the craft store for less than $5 (buying them with a coupon). That is a HUGE difference in price, on that made all the difference in whether it stayed a concept in my mind or a project in real life.
You see, like the whole craft fail business I also get that not everybody has tons of money to do craft and DIY projects and it’s a hobby. It’s a fun thing we do to be happy people, right? And some of the projects I see online are so cost prohibitive. Heck, sometimes mine get really pricey and I hate that. So I did my best here to keep this project affordable. Even if I did all 3 letters, each of my pumpkins were $5 (on sale and with a 25% off even sale items coupon from Michael’s) and then I got my bulbs on sale for less than $3 a package by being patient and buying them on 2 different trips. Since most of us already have paint and glitter on hand this project was going to cost me around $22-ish to complete for the 3 pumpkin set and that is less than 3 marquee letters alone on sale. But I’ve gone off on a side rail here… let’s quit talking about how affordable this is and get to making it!
For this project you will need:
- Fake pumpkin (black is best)
- Graphite transfer paper (optional & for pumpkins other than black)
- 100 count LED string lights (don’t get as hot as traditional bulbs)
- Marquee lightbulbs <– see what they are here but get them at craft stores with a 40% off coupon for $2.40 a package instead!
- X-acto knife
- Printed letter
- Paint & matching glitter
- Tacky Glue
- Power drill
Print out a letter in a font you like for a marquee type of look. I used Bookman Old Style Bold that was already installed on my PC.
Tape your letter to your pumpkin to trace. If using a lighter colored pumpkin you can always use graphite transfer paper to help you get the image moved over.
Using an X-acto knife with a very sharp blade trace the design of your letter with a shallow cut. You’re essentially going to make a gutter going all around the letter to give it definition. Once you have your guide lines made, cut inside the center of those two lines on an angle toward to initial cuts. The foam will come out easily and give you nice, clean lines. You can kind of see where I just went for it nearer the top and where I went from an angle just below. There’s quite a bit of difference in the look of the end result.
Take your time and you’ll get a good quality cut around your letters that will look nice and clean. Just take care not to cut too deep as you don’t want to go through, just nick the flesh to outline the letter with a nice glow and make it more prominent.
Once your letter has been cut out use a matte paint to fill the letter in. Use the same color as your glitter. I went with chalk paint in the color pumpkin, giving 3 coats to fully cover the black of my pumpkin.
Determine where you want your bulbs and drill holes appropriately. Push your bulbs into each and every hole to make sure that it is properly sized. Don’t push too hard as you can punch a hole into the pumpkin, instead use the drill bit to help rout out the hole to be larger, if needed.
Should you find you are not happy with the placement of your bulbs you can always patch any holes with wood filler. The only downside to this is that you will need to allow the filler at least overnight to fully dry and harden before you can drill around it again.
Mix up a about 1-2 tablespoons of Tacky Glue with a fine or regularly sized glitter. You want the mixture to be coarse and somewhat dry. Chunkier glitter is more difficult to work with for this project.
Heavily apply the glue/glitter mixture with a stiff bristled brush taking care not to fill in your bulb spots.
Sprinkle loose glitter on top of the mixture and allow to dry several hours or overnight.
Once the glitter is dry cut a hole in the back/bottom area of your pumpkin to insert string lights.
Run your lights into the pumpkin and add the bulbs into their slots.
Light her up and she’s all done!
This is hardly the first “A” monogram I’ve put in this house. I mean,there are several. But when Rob first saw this he got excited and was all, oh, how nice, you did an A for “Andes” and I was all yeah, but I also did it for “Allison” because, you know, I’m called A. “No,” he said “you did A for Andes.” Okay. Sure. A for Andes. :)
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