Hand Inked Wedding Pumpkin

Introduction: Hand Inked Wedding Pumpkin

Recently my wife and I were part of the wedding of my wifes close cousin. We are very close with them and I really wanted to carve them a pumpkin since the wedding was a fall wedding on Nov. 1st, 2014. Unfortunately it has been a crazy fall and I just didn't have enough time…. While my wife was hanging out and getting all dolled up with the bride and bridesmaids the day of the wedding I had a few hours to spare. So I figured now's my chance. I knew I still didn't have enough time to do an elaborate carving so I chose this option instead. In this instructable I'll walk you through the steps of creating your own hand inked special occasion pumpkin. It is pretty simple and only requires a few supplies and some imagination or creativity.

Step 1: Your Supplies

The things you will need are very basic.

First you will need a decently smooth pumpkin picture (1) that doesn't have many blemishes. The size is up to you and how much time and energy you'd like to spend decorating it. My pumpkin was about 12" wide x 10" high. The other thing you'll need to consider is how the pumpkin sits. You want a pumpkin that give you a good area to work all by itself when sitting upright.

Next you'll need supplies to decorate the pumpkin. I decided to keep it simple and elegant and went with silver, black and the orange of the pumpkin itself as the background.

The things I used are in picture (2) and listed here.

A super heavy or bold Sharpy or Magic Marker (permanent)

A normal Sharpy or (permanent) marker

A silver Sharpy or (permanent) marker (paint pens will work also)

A good working ballpoint pen

Regular aerosol hairspray

Step 2: Sketching in Your Idea

Before you begin to actually draw on the pumpkin you need to clean all the oils off so that marker and ink will stick to it. If you don't do this it will make this entire project like trying to draw with a lead pencil on glass. It just won't work! Ideally wipe the surface of the pumpkin with rubbing alcohol to remove the oils. If you don't have alcohol use regular soap and water then dry it off thoroughly. I was traveling and hadn't planned for this so I was short on supplies. I used the soap method and it worked just fine.

After the pumpkin is cleaned and prepped onto a sturdy working surface that protects the pumpkin (I used hotel towels on a table) it's time to start composing your idea. I chose to loosely sketch my concept directly onto the skin of the pumpkin gauging spacial relationships and composition as I went. You could also sketch your idea onto paper first then either use it as reference or try to transfer the concept to you pumpkin like a pattern. You may be thinking why ball point pen when you have awesome Sharpy markers... The reason I chose ball point pen is because it is much more forgiving than a Sharpy. Permanent marker is hard to remove and honestly harder to control than a normal ballpoint pen and it stains the pumpkin skin. Also the marks are 3x darker so any mistake is very noticeable. Ball point pen on the other hand can be sketched with like a pencil and its way lighter visually until you want it to be dark. As a bonus it can be erased or wiped off with again alcohol. As I mentioned I didn't have any alcohol but I did have cologne which is mostly alcohol. So while I didn't want to clean my entire pumpkin with cologne to start, it works on a small rag or tissue for spot cleaning and erasing and the pumpkin will smell nice!! Do be careful though because the alcohol if too wet will make other pen areas run if you aren't precise in your erasing.

So you can see in the first (3) pictures that I very lightly and loosely began sketching my idea and then filled it in with the ballpoint pen as I knew it worked. In the last picture you can see the progress and basis of my idea.

Step 3: Finishing Type and Darkening

In this step you will continue what you began in the last step. As you complete your design and are happy with it go ahead and darken it in with the ball point pen until all the areas are dark and refined as you see in picture (2). You can also go in to the bolder thicker areas with a sharpy and really make them dark. Keep in mind the difference between Sharpy and ball pen is pretty noticeable. I wanted to add some detail info to the design like the date so it was truly customized and I chose to do that with the ball point pen as well. You can see that in picture (3)

Step 4: Cleaning Up Design and Adding Bicycle Rims and Tires

So the couple the pumpkin is for is really into riding bikes. I thought it would be nice to somehow integrate aspects of a bicycle that would be easy to recognize. Of course I chose the rims and tires…. Figuring how to incorporate that into what I had already done was challenging as well as drawing perfect circles on a pumpkin. I decided to draw a large and small wheel on opposite sides of each other to pull the design together. In picture (1) you'll see my first smaller circle on the bottom right side. I used the top and bottom of a hotel coffee cup as a guide to draw my circles. Then I carefully filled in the areas of the tire evenly to add the tire thickness. Next I moved to the opposite side and repeated the same process with the larger open side of the cup to achieve the larger tire. You can see that in picture (2). After the tires and rims were complete I used the straight edge of a piece of cardstock paper and added the spokes to the rims. You can see that in picture (3). Before I went any further in this step I used the cologne trick I mentioned awhile back and erased any extra lines or marks I didn't want before the design got anymore complex.

Step 5: Silver Rims and Accents

So it's finally time to add some silver. I wanted to make the rims pop more and also add some highlights accents to the letters for more interest and depth. Using the silver Sharpy I went in and added the highlights right over top of the black I had done on the letters. Keep in mind where and how light might hit your text and that is where the highlights would be. It's not important to be exactly accurate but consistency in where you decide to put your marks on each letter will help. Don't stay in an area too long with the marker or it will begin to remove the black underneath if you don't allow it to dry. Next I proceeded to fill in the rims with silver doing my best to keep the line thickness consistent. You will see this alone adds a lot to your design.

Step 6: Completing Your Design With a Border or Frame

After I had completed the last step I still felt the design was just floating there and it needed something more to really make it pop off the pumpkin and look like and elegant design. I considered just adding a simple square frame but I didn't feel that would be enough. I needed to think of a way to create more contrast between the pumpkin skin and the design while pulling it all together in a final step….. I was running out of time!!!! In picture (1) you can see that I began to draw in where the inside edge of my border would be. It would follow the contour of the design and create a natural orange border between the ink of my design and the frame I was working on that would be black with accents. After I inked in the inside edge I went ahead and drew a larger freehand box on the outside. This would create a large area that would need to be filled in with the large Sharpy. By doing it this way you really separate and define the design on the pumpkin so it doesn't blend in or get lost. In pictures (2-5) you can the filled in black border. After it was completely filled and had dried I went in again on top of the black with the silver Sharpy and added more accents and detail in the form of a border within the frame. I didn't want it to be too busy that it detracted from the inside so I kept it fairly clean and simple. After I was done adding all my ink I sprayed the design with the hairspray. This acts as protective fixing layer that seals the design and evens out the gloss and luster. Keep in mind after you spray it if you want to add more it will be very difficult to mark on the surface and it will quickly clog your pen and markers. You can see the completed creation in the last picture. I hope you enjoyed this instructable and I look forward to your feedback. Good luck and happy creating - Graphicjacks!!!

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    8 years ago on Introduction

    That turned out great. Now I know why every time I've tried marking up a pumpkin with a sharpie I came away quite frustrated. Didn't clean it first!


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Seamster thanks AGAIN!!! Yeah that makes all the difference in the world.