Introduction: Pumpkin Bat Gourd

With one dried gourd you can make an unhappy pumpkin with a bat sitting on top.

This project can be made very simply with one gourd, black poster board and paint. Or, you can add more details with a little bit of paper clay. Either way you will be making a Halloween decoration you can enjoy year after year.


Dried gourd

Black poster board

Acrylic Paint (black, yellow, red, orange and white)

Paper Clay

Paper mache



Hot glue

Brown paper bag torn in strips

Paint brushes


Step 1: Finding a Dried Gourd

Welburn Gourd Farm has a large selection of gourds that come in many different shapes and sizes. My gourds come directly from their farm near Temecula, California but they also have a large mail order business. Sometimes pumpkin patches sell dried gourds. You can also grow you own.

This year I took seeds from dried gourds and planted them. They are very easy to grow but need a lot of space. My first attempt growing gourds should produce about 40 gourds.

If you do plant your own be warned they will take over a large area. You can not harvest the gourds before the vines are dried. Once the vines have dried it can take up to 6 months for them to dry. After the gourds dry they have to be cleaned to get rid of mold that forms during the drying process.

Step 2: Wings and Ears

Since all gourds are different sizes, it is best to make a paper pattern to figure out how big you want to make your wings. Once you have a pattern you are happy with trace them onto black poster board and cut them out. Then glue the wings onto the back of the gourd. A hot glue gun works best for me but just about any glue will do.

Follow this same procedure for the ears. If you want a quick and easy project you can stop at this point and go straight to painting your gourd.

Step 3: Making Bulging Eyes

A small piece of newspaper waded into a tight ball wrapped with masking tape makes the eyes. Once you have a size you like they can be glued onto the bat head. In the next step paper clay will be used to create smooth eyes.

Step 4: Paper Clay Details

Any type of air dry clay will work. Paper Clay works the best for me because it can be smoothed out with water. To get rid dent in the top of the head you can cover it with the clay. This will give a nice finished round head.

You can also cover the poster board ears with the clay to give them a little more shape.

The eyes can be made smoother by adding a layer of clay to the eyes. My bat also has an upper lip with two fangs and talons gripping onto the pumpkin. Both details are made by directly applying the paper clay to the gourd. Let clay dry.

Step 5: Paper Mache Wings

Putting paper mache on the wings is not necessary but it makes them much stronger. You do not need to paper mache the whole gourd. Brown paper bag strips and paper mache will leave you with very permanent wings that resist ripping and bending.

There are many paper mache recipes on the internet that should work great for this project. Playbox Wheat Paste is the brand I use. The wings will probably need to be supported until they dry.

Step 6: Painting

Painting the pumpkin solid orange and the bat black is a good way to start the paint job. If you didn't paper mache the wings you will not have to paint the wings. It took several coats of orange paint to cover the gourd.

Paint the eyes and the fangs white. If you skipped the paper clay stage the eyes and fangs will just be painted directly on the gourd.

The ears will not have to be painted if you did not put paper clay on them. Black circles for pupils on the eyes will finish them off. I always like to add a white highlight on the eye.

Red, orange, and yellow paint are used to make the pumpkin. I found making a thick red line blended with orange with highlights of yellow makes a nice pumpkin.

Once the pumpkin is dry you can add the face. Let your imagination go crazy.

To finish off the bat add white lines on the wings and gray inside the ears.

After it is all done you can varnish the whole project with a water based varnish. This gives the pumpkin a little shine.

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