Crafty Concrete Pumpkins
These pretty pumpkins are a fun way to update your fall and Halloween décor. You can decorate them anyway you like and use them year after year!
I have been wanting to do these for a while!! I LOVE Halloween and our entire house gets covered in ghoulish garb during the scary season. Carving jack-o-lanterns is one of my favorite Halloween traditions but, it is always sad when they have to get chucked.. I have haunting childhood memories of my expired pumpkins getting rolled over the hillside to rot and wither, but after carving them it is inevitable. So, I love the idea of this indestructible concrete version! It is a simple afternoon project, just takes a little muscle mixing the concrete (please use gloves and a mask while mixing and follow the instructions closely) and you can find the pumpkin candy buckets anywhere right now (I found mine for $1 at Target). Get the buckets as cheap as you can find them because, full disclosure, you will murder them.
I did them two different ways with two very different outcomes. Initially I used Quikrete in the buckets which turned out well except that the rocks in the Quikrete left some craters, but they still came out very cool after a quick paint job. I then tried craft concrete used for steppingstones (it doesn’t have the rocks in the mix like Quikrete) which made a smoother more defined pumpkin. All there is to do basically is mix your concrete and put it into the bucket. I did prep my buckets by cutting off the handle and taping across the indentations of the face. This was just to keep a little muscle behind the indentations, so they weren’t pushed out by the concrete, probably not totally necessary but it made me feel better. One bucket I stuck a large bolt into, to act as the stem. One I pushed a small shallow Dixie cup into, for holding a candle and the third I placed a deeper, thinner plastic cup for a little flower vase. Again, full disclosure you will also murder the plastic cups. Be careful to watch that the plastic cups do not move or rise, I placed a couple rocks in mine to keep them in place.
After pouring the concrete and placing in any objects (which is optional) all there is to do is wait. Typically, 24-48 hours. After they are fully dry you can take off (murder) your pumpkin buckets. I used a box cutter and (very carefully) cut the plastic away from the concrete. I found it easiest to use the grooves in the bucket as a guideline to cut, you’ll need to make 3-5 cuts and peel off. PLEASE always remember to cut away from yourself and be careful when using this type of tool/blade (safety first people). For me the smaller cup lifted right out but I had to cut the larger one so again just use disposable cups.
Once you have freed your pumpkins from their plastic prisons you can paint/decorate if you so choose. The flower vase with the crafters concrete came out so smooth that I just let it be. With the other 2 I just did a quick spray paint job and added the silver eyes/smile to the black one with acrylic paint; and watered down some orange acrylic for the green pumpkin for a melty, spooky effect. You can try one or both types of concrete. The crafters concrete obviously worked a bit better for a smoother more defined look but it is more expensive than the Quikrete which will give a more rugged look. This is a really fun project that you can easily personalize. AND you don’t have to throw them away after Halloween!!! You can keep them forever!
What you need:
· Plastic pumpkin buckets
· Quikrete concrete or Crafters concrete
· Mixing bucket
· Shovel or paint stirrer (for mixing concrete)
· Tape (we used packing tape, but duct tape will work too)
· Small plastic cup (optional)
· Large bolt (optional)
· Paint (optional)
What to do:
· Prep your pumpkin(s) by cutting off any handles and tightly taping a strip of tape across mouth and eyes
· Create a workspace (outside) for mixing concrete, wear a mask while mixing, add water and mix until concrete has the consistency of thick oatmeal (add water little by little, a 25lb bag takes about 1 quart)
· Work quickly pouring/scooping cement into your pumpkins, pack it in well, shake the bucket to be sure it settles
· While the concrete is still wet add embellishments such as a bolt to act as a stem or push a plastic cup into the top for candles or flowers to be placed in
· Let dry overnight
· Using a box cutter or similar knife, cut the plastic pumpkin off of the cement to reveal your pumpkin
· Paint or embellish your pumpkin (optional)