Introduction: It's the Great Instructables Pumpkin Hand, Sunbanks

On Halloween night, the Great Instructables Pumpkin Hand rises from his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of digital patches to all the children.

Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.

I've learned there are three things you don't discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.


And another noteable quoteable from the more stable half of the female Core 2 Duo is "He'll come here because I have the most sincere pumpkin patch and he respects sincerity."

Riding shotgun is Rain: "I wouldn't want to be accused of taking part in a rumble." or "If you try to hold my hand, I'll slug you!"

Oh Great Instructables Pumpkin Hand, where are you?
  If you build it, everyone will come from miles around to revel in its awesomesauce.

Step 1: Take Notes...

So I was relaxing in my clown shoes enjoying my tacos made with genetically engineered and irradiated corn and thought of this project.  They have square watermelons but nothing yet on the market for altered vegetables/fruits that would serve this purpose. 

If you have ever tried to carve a pumpkin; besides the dangerous and sharp tools used to etch the surface of the gourd, there is the danger of it turning into a fetid composting biomass if you do not maintain the proper environment to cure it.

We turn to our friend papier mache to construct our Great Instructables Pumpkin Hand since truly organic Instructables Hand Pumpkins did not make it to market due to last season's early frost and the California wildfires which decimated the crops. 

Some construction options to skin the pumpkin are to foam it with expanded spray foam insulation, pressed recycled plastic bags, fiberglass and resin, wood and spit, steampunk copper-brass or dystopian brushed metals.  Anything can be used for the base if it has the shape you want to cover, plastic bottles, soda cans, boxes, balloons, carved styrofoam packaging, etc.

We are just going to reach into the paper recycling bin to grab some cardboard and newspaper to do our papier mache.

You should have some common stuff around:

kids glue
newspaper torn into 2 inch wide strips

stapler or tape
utility knife
mixing bowl for glue solution

Step 2: Somebody Give Me a Hand...

Papier mache is easy to do.

Create a base form that you will skin over with strips of paper saturated in a glue solution.

I create my forms using box cardboard.  You can cut strips of cardboard and then attach them in any way using glue, hot glue, staples, tape, packaging tape, or duct tape. 

Cut out a small base about 8 inches in diameter.  You can make it bigger if you want.

From there, just keep on adding to your structure like an airframe of an airplane.   You can use a balloon but having a cardboard structure is easy enough to build up.

Cut out some big 2-3inch wide strips of cardboard for the fingers.

Arrange into a hand shape with the tallest finger about 19 inches high.  Trim other fingers to size.

Step 3: Round and Round...

Arrange in a hand shape and fasten in place on the base.

Go around the entire pumpkin shape with 2inch strips of cardboard to form the outside pumpkin shape by attaching first at the base and then to middle of the finger strips.  Bend the cardboard to get the rounded shape of a pumpkin.

Gaps between the strips will form indented ridges to simulate a real pumpkin when it is skinned over with papier mache.

You can also stuff balled up newspaper taped to the structure to pad out the shape. 

You can also use string make indents for the creases of the finger joints.  It is a trick I learned from here, heehee.

Step 4: Papier Mache, S'il Vous Plait

With the base form completed you are now ready to papier mache.

There are various formulas to use as your papier mache glue. 

I just used diluted kid's school glue. It probably took about 3 small 4-fl ounce bottles of glue thinned with water 1-to-1 to complete this project. 

Use a wide shallow bowl or disposable take-out dish to mix the glue.

It would be nice to have a large work area but if not, just spread some extra newspaper around to catch any glue drips or splashes.

It helps to wear disposable latex gloves so that the glue doesn't start drying up on your hands and makes thing a sticky mess when you go to smooth out the saturated paper strips.

Saturate torn pieces or strips of newspaper in the glue solution.  Use your fingers to gently squeegee off the excess liquid before applying the saturated strip to the form.  It may tear easily because it is wet so just drape it over the form and smooth out.

Overlap torn pieces of paper to fit the form and apply several layers for strength.

After you apply the skin layer, you can add details as you go along like the pumpkin stem.  It is just a rolled up piece of paper with papier mache to attach the stem.

Give it a day or two to completely dry out.

You can go back and add more layers if a spot feels too thin or glue down parts that may not have bonded.

Step 5: True Colors...

Decorate when the shell is dry and hardens up. 

Prime with household wall paint primer.  This hides the news print and gives a nice clean and clear surface for the colors.

I used poster paints to mix up the colors.  You can use acrylics or other craft paint if you have it. 

There are probably tutorials on how to paint realistic fruit and veggies if you want to get all artsy.

The trick in faux painting is to do many layers of paint with various brush techniques.

I dry brushed orange-brownish lines first to simulate a real pumpkins creases and irregularities for a realistic look.  I then stipple brushed various shades of orange.

The stem was dry brushed with green and brown.

Note that the photos need to have colors corrected due to the flash and poor indoor lighting.  They actually do look like a pumpkin in real life.

Step 6: Telling You We're Gonna Kill It!

Well, without upsetting the PETA-vegan-organic-what-have-you onlookers, we are going to sacrifice this great Instructables Pumpkin in the name of the glorious annual Halloween Contest.

Stick a knife in it and we are done.

Sketch out lightly with pencil or marker your jack-o-lantern design on the pumpkin.

I used a drill to start my lines and allow a scissor to go through the openings.  It was easier to use scissors than a utility knife to cut through something that was not really supported from behind.

Carve just like a traditional jack-o-lantern.  I used paint to highlight the openings. 

Put a light inside and enjoy the view.  I think some more intricate carvings backed by a piece of transluscent paper would simulate carving halfway through the skin. 

I did not put up a pic of the lit up pumpkin since not much light came through the small design.  Maybe next time. D:

Step 7: And the 2009 Nobel Peace Pumpkin Goes To...

There he is! There he is! It's the Great Pumpkin! He's rising out of the pumpkin patch!

So, there is no greater embellishment to adorn the face of the Great Instructables Pumpkin with than that of Mr. Kiteman.

Hence, the Kite-o-lantern.

If I had the time, I would have made an animatronic hand to wiggle the fingers and an arduino controlled device to flicker LEDs to simulate candle lighting and high powered strobe lights.

And put it all in a giant Altoids tin for gift-giving.

Halloween Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Contest