Introduction: How to Make a Spooky Paper Mache Halloween Pumpkin

Duane Osmond is an up-and-coming visual artist currently living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Duane is 25 years old and was born and raised in Carbonear, Newfoundland. Duane took an interest in art at a very young age and spent his free time sketching in a notebook any random thing that peaked his interest. In high school Duane decided to pursue his passion by taking as many art courses as possible.

In this detailed "How to Guide" we will give you the steps-by-step instructions that Duane used to create his spooky paper mache Halloween Pumpkin. We encourage you to try making this type of pumpkin yourself by using these easy steps, as it will last you for many years to come. Check out this "How to Guide" and feel free to pop us a message if you have any questions!

Step 1: Supplies Needed

You will need the following supplies before you can start creating your own spooky Halloween pumpkin. Most of the supplies are something you would likely have around the house or that you can pick up at the dollar store.

Step 2: Fill Up Your Plastic Bag With Newspapers

The first step is to fill up the plastic bag with crushed newspaper balls. Fill the bag right to the top but don't forget to push the paper down tightly. Once the bag is full, tie off the bag.

Step 3: Shaping Your Pumpkin

Now we are going to shape the pumpkin. Take the masking tape and start going around the Bag. Pull the tape tightly to get more defined edges on the pumpkin. Once this step is done and you are happy with the shape, then we can start the paper mache :) Note: Instead of using a shopping bag with newspaper, you can also use a balloon. However, it's much more difficult as the balloon sometimes breaks.

Step 4: Cut Newspaper Into Strips

So this step is pretty easy, you will simply need to precut your newspaper into strips (approx 1.5 inches wide). You will need roughly 40-50 strips. The number of newspaper strips required would vary based on the size of the pumpkin you create. You are going to want around 4 layers of paper mache for strength.

Step 5: Make Your Paper Mache

Bring 4 cups of waters to a boil in a large boiling pot.

  • Mix 1 cup of flour and water together.
  • Make sure to get the lumps out.
  • Add half a cup of all purpose glue (Elmer's)
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Mix all together and let cool for approx. 1 hour
  • NOTE: It's not a big deal if you cannot get all of the lumps out, you can mold the paper mache around your pumpkin

Step 6: Apply Paper Mache

Dip your strips of newspaper into the paper mache mix. Try to remove any excess paper mache mixture, by skimming the paper in between your fingers (from top to bottom). Lay each strip over the pumpkin, smooth out each strip using your fingers. Try to smooth out as many bumps or creases as possible. Don't worry if you can't because not all pumpkins are alike and the creases give your pumpkin character :)

Step 7: Make the Pumpkin Stem

Once you have the first layer of paper mache finished and it's dried completely, now is time to make the pumpkin stem. Roll newspaper into the shape you want, wrap with masking tape. Use a hot glue gun to apply stem to pumpkin, use more masking tape to hold it in place.

Step 8: Apply the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Layer of Paper Mache

Apply the 2nd, 3rd and 4th layer of paper mache. Follow Step #6 and remember to let each layer dry for approx. 12 hours before applying the next layer. NOTE: Using a fan will help speed up the drying process.

Step 9: Carve Your Pumpkin Face

Once your 4 layers of paper mache are finished and dry, and then you can draw on your face. Use whatever type of pattern you want, there are many free ones available on the Internet.You're going to want to cut the face out before you start the paper clay process, because it will be too difficult to cut through. Also cut a hole in the bottom of pumpkin.

Step 10: Mix Your Paper Clay

Paper Clay

  • 1 roll of double pile toilet paper
  • 1 cup of drywall compound (premixed)
  • 3/4 white glue (Elmer’s)
  • 2 tablespoons linseed oil (this will pervert bug investigation & cracking from humidity)
  • Start by filling a bowl with water and soaking the toilet paper in the water. Once it's fully saturated remove the cardboard roll and you can began to rip the toilet paper into small piece. Try to drain the water by squeezing the paper in the palm of your hand, continue to do this until the full roll is ripped into pieces and drained. Once that's done then mix in other ingredients. Mix well until you have a paste.

Step 11: Apply Paper Clay to Your Pumpkin

It's important to leave the pumpkin stuffed because this will add protection from it collapsing as you add the paper clay. Duane did 2 coats of paper clay, because he wanted it to be super hard and it adds more defining edges.Have a bowl of water handy when you start to spread the paper clay on, this will help with smoothing out the mixture, the more smooth it becomes the less sanding you'll have to do in the end. You can use gloves for this part if you want, let the clay dry for 24 hours before you sand it.

Step 12: Remove Paper From Inside Pumpkin

This is another easy step, once the clay has dried, turn your pumpkin upside down and pull out all of the newspaper.

Step 13: Sand Your Pumpkin

This step is also pretty easy, sand your pumpkin, but don't worry too much about making it completely smooth. It adds character if your pumpkin has some imperfections!

Step 14: Paint Your Pumpkin

Paint the inside of the pumpkin first. You should choose a bright color. Duane used a metallic gold. Duane mixed four different shades of orange to create highlights and depth to the pumpkin. Do a complete coat of just orange (solid color without mixing) and let dry completely.Then add light tones and dark tones to the edges for a faux finish. Once your painting is done make sure to protect your work with a clear protective top coat, if you're putting it outside use a spar varnish. Use the clear coat on the inside too. NOTE: You do not need to use Varnish, however you would not be able to put your pumpkin outside unless varnished.

Step 15: Show Off Your Pumpkin


Please make sure that you use either a flashlight or battery operated tea lights. We don't want you burning down your house with your snazzy new pumpkin :)

For more info on Duane's artwork please visit:

Thanks for reading everyone :)

Have a safe and Happy Halloween! :)

Cheers, Clement Hayward

Website Administrator & Blogger

Duane Osmond Artist