I have always wanted to be Pumkinhead for Halloween, and this year I finally planned ahead and did it.
Originally I wanted to have a real pumpkin large enough to go over my head, but way to heavy and messy.
So a little paper mache and some extras and I scared the kids pretty good this year.
I apologize for not having pictures of every step here, this was my first documented Halloween build intended for Instructables and I just plain forgot to snap photos of every detail
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Pretty big list of stuff just to make a fake pumpkin, but it's worth it
- Garbage bag
- stuffing material ( I used plastic shopping bags, can use newspaper )
- Masking tape
- Newspaper ripped into strips
- Paper mache mixture ( I just used Flour and water with a touch of corn starch )
- Wire ( I used 17awg aluminum wire)
- Monster mud ( this is a combination of paint and drywall compound, search on this site or google to find the steps on how to make it...wonderful stuff to use)
- Cellulose insulation ( to mix with monster mud to make monster clay)
- Spray foam ( I have a pro gun due to being a contractor, but the Great stuff single use cans work)
- Paint: Orange and green spray paint, Black latex brush on paint
- Clear coat spray
- Paint brushes
- Pliers/wire cutters
- Hot glue gun
- Dremel with rotozip spiral cutter
- Latex gloves
Step 2: The Base Structure and Paper Mache
Start off by filling garbage bag with stuffing material. We had tons of plastic shopping bags we save for recycling laying around so I used those. Otherwise crumpled up newspaper will work too. After bag is full, twist the top closed and wrap masking tape around it, this will later be the base for the stem.
Next you want to tie string around the whole bag and cinch it tight to form the lines of the pumpkin. There is no right or wrong way for this, just make it look however you want it to.
Then using your paper mache mixture begin to cover the bag. Make sure to keep the indents from the string in shape to keep the pumpkin form. With a project this size, best to do a few layers on the top, let it dry then flip over and do the bottom.
I only did a couple layers of paper mache due to using the monster mud in the next step. You could just keep adding layers of newspaper to strengthen it and skip the monster mud step
Step 3: Building the Stem
Once the paper mache has cured, it's time to work on the stem.
Cut off lengths of wire and wrap them around the top of the closed bag and position the ends on to the pumpkin forming the base of the stem. Grab a real pumpkin or lookup some pictures to get desired look. Then with the hot glue gun, glue ends of the wire to the paper mache pumpkin. Make sure to us enough glue to hold ends tightly. Now twist and shape the top of the stem to desired look.
Next, add paper mache newspaper strips over the wire, draping it down and around until it is where you like it. Once again, no right or wrong way, I was going for the veiny look for a more evil looking end result.
Step 4: Monster Mud Time
This step can be skipped if you just keep adding layers of paper mache. I didn't want to wait that long for it to dry and since I had monster mud out for other projects I decided to use it.
Monster mud is a simple mixture of drywall compound and paint. You can google on how to make it and a few people on this site have shown how to make it also. It's a wonderful concoction for Halloween building. It goes on like paint, but dries hard like plaster.
Paint on your monster mud all over the whole pumpkin. Make sure to fill any voids you don't like leftover from paper mache. If you get too much on in an area it is easy to sand down after it dries. Once this dries if you want a more smooth surface, take the time to sand it all down. I liked the rough look left by the brush strokes so I only did minor sanding in spots.
Next find the side you want your face to be and draw it out. If you used plastic bag stuffing like I did, you will want to remove al stuffing before cutting the face. ( I found out the hard way that roto bits don't like plastic stuffing ) To remove stuffing take dremel with roto spiral bit and cut hole in the bottom. Start small just to get the stuffing out, you can enlarge it later to fit over your head. After stuffing is out, cut out your face of the pumpkin.
Step 5: Foaming Mouth and Building Face
After you cut the face out get the spray foam out and fill the inside of the mouth area.
Be real careful using the foam !!! Little bit at a time, it can get everywhere and does not like coming off easily. Paint thinner is a good friend to have around during this messy step. Fill the whole mouth area with a decent amount of foam, remembering it expands.
While foam is curing, time to work on the eyes and nose. Take some monster mud and mix in the cellulose insulation. You want to create a clay/putty consistency. Using this monster clay, build up the outline around the eyes and nose for a more dimensional look. You can also add it around the mouth if you desire. I used regular monster mud to blend/feather out the clay build up to the main body of the pumpkin
While eye and nose clay dries, time to cut out the mouth. using roto bit and dremel carefully cut away excess foam protruding out of the mouth area. Don't cut in to deep to where you cut through all of the foam, you want to keep the back of the mouth solid. If you do cut through, can always touch it up with more foam.
Step 6: Painting
Using a brush and the black paint, coat the inside of the mouth best you can. You could use spray paint, but the chemicals in spray paint eat away at the foam. This can sometimes be a cool effect, but not what I was looking for. Also didn't know how well the overspray would be covered with the lighter orange. After the mouth is done, spray the whole pumpkin with orange leaving the stem for now. I did light coats to achieve the *splotchy* look. Paint it up however you want it to look. Then of course the green spray for the stem. Blending the base of the stem into the pumpkin with quick sprays from the paint.
After this all dried I used a brush to touch up the mouth from the orange overspray, and then dry brushed around the eyes, nose, mouth and the veins of the stem to add more definition to them.
Once all the paint was dry I then added a couple coats of glossy clear coat to seal it a bit and give it a nice freaky shine.
Step 7: Fitting and Extras
Now time for fitting. Double check the bottom hole size to see how it fits over your head. If it's tight, carefully cut the whole larger. Once pumpkin fits on your head, see how it is balanced. Mine wanted to fall forward on my head so I added spray foam to the back, let it dry, and used that as a backstop against the back of my head. It took a few addings of foam to get it to where I was comfortable. If needed, you can always hot glue a strap to the back and pin it to your costume shirt. I didn't need to and since I would be taking it off occasionally figured it be best not to do that.
I did not document this part due to it was a last minute addition because they arrived late.
I ordered up some blinking orange LEDs and wired them into the mouth cavity. ( you can see them in very top picture) Was simple to poke them through the foam and then I ran a battery pack with a switch on it that I stuck in my back pocket. If you wish to know more about this comment or message me and I can walk you through it.
Another thing I wanted to do but ran out of time was add a voice changer to the inside. You can get these at costume shops and online. Would have been cool, but maybe next year.
This project can also be a free standing pumpkin. Due to switching up our haunt every year, next year I will probably add motion sensors for the lights and a sound emitter to it and have it free standing.
Hope this is all easy enough for you to follow. This is only my second Instructable I have done, and I think I am addicted now. Going forward every project I do will be documented and posted.
Thanks, Happy Haunting (belated haunting that is)