Introduction: Pumpkin Pickets

One day I was looking for a Halloween project to do with the kids (and friends) that where over.  At the same time I was being pestered to get rid of some spare fence material I had leftover from another project.

So…I thought, lets combine the two and build something for Halloween.  Thus came about Picket Pumpkins.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

What you will need for this project is:
1) An Old picket fence with at least 3 “pickets” on it
2) Small ½ inch nails (can recover from taking fence apart)
3) 1 can of orange spray paint (~$4 at Home Depot)
4) 1 can of black spray paint (99 cents at Home Depot).
5) Several sheets of paper (8.5 by 11 inches, standard sheets you put into a printer)
6) Disposable Gloves (optional)
7) Old paint for primer (optional)
8) A large soup can or bread crumbs container or a large plastic cup.

1) Hammer
2) Jig saw (alternative: coping saw, or even a hand saw)
3) Markers
4) Scissors
5) Sand paper
6) Workbench (optional)
7) Rags
8) Paint brush (optional)
9) Pencil
10) Clamps (optional)
11) Fast square (optional)
12) Circular saw (alternative: hand saw)
13) Goggles
14) Face mask
15) Spray paint holder (optional)
16) sandpaper
17) Something with a straight edge (Fast Square for example)

Step 2: Take the Fence Apart

Take the fence apart carefully. Pop each picket off the picket fence. You should just tap them in the back with a hammer and they should come right off. Usually only small nails are holding the fence together. Make sure you save the pickets and the backboard that held the pickets together.

Step 3: Clean Up the Pickets and Take Out the Nails.

You will need to tap the nails out of the pickets. Note you could re-use these nails in the next few steps if they are in good shape. After all the nails are off, clean the pickets off from any dirt, and sand them down a bit so the paint will hold onto the fence. If you can try and save some of the nails for later use in this project.

Step 4: Prime the Pickets (Optional)

If the fence has never had a coat of paint on it, or the paint is really bad, you may want to put some leftover paint on the pickets as a “primer” for the fence so that you do not go through the orange paint as fast. I had a quarter can of leftover white exterior paint I used for a primer. Many home centers also sell “oops” paint for a few dollars. So you could pick up a quart of exterior there too on the cheap. If you are priming the fence with kids, I recommend jumping down to step 14, Create an eye, nose, (optional ear) and starting that while waiting for the paint to dry.

Step 5: Setup the Picket Tops

Take your soup can and one picket, and put it so a quarter of the circle is at the top of the picket. Draw out this quarter on the picket.

Step 6: Cut the Picket Tops

Take another picket, and line the backs of the two pickets (the one with the drawn quarter circle on top) together. I recommend clamping the two pickets together. Next take your jig saw, and cut the quarter circle out of the two pickets. You want the two together so you get the same quarter circle on both sides.

Step 7: Draw the Outline for a Face in the Pickets (Optional)

I highly recommend doing this step at the same time as steps 5 and 6.

Take an 8.5x11 sheet of paper and put it long ways along one picket. Draw straight lines along the sides of the paper onto the picket. Next, get out the soup can and line it up next to the two lines to get a 1/8 of a circle line above (and one below) the lines you drew from the paper. These will be the marks you need to cut out the face.

Step 8: Cut Out the Face (optional, Goes With the Last Step)

Take another picket, and line the backs of the two pickets (the one with the lines drawn on it). together. I recommend clamping the two pickets together. Next take your jig saw, and cut the 2 straight lines, then the 1/8 circles out of the two pickets. This will give you the two sides of the face. When done, combine the 2 pickets with a third for the middle to make the picket pumpkin.

Step 9: Cut the Supports for the Picket From the Backboard.

Take the 2 pickets you cut from the steps above, and get a 3rd uncut picket. Put them together (if you have not already done so) so the cut pickets are on the outside. Take the backboard from the original picket fence, and roughly draw a cut line along it that is a ½ inch shorter than the width of the 3 pickets. Then cut off that piece of wood. Repeat this again for a top piece for the 3 pickets.

Step 10: Cut a Stake for the Pickets From the Backboard.

Again using the backboard, cut a 45 degree angle at the bottom of the backboard (for the bottom of the stake). Then cut the stake off the backboard about 12 inches up.

Step 11: Put the Pickets on the Backboard

First, make sure you line up all the pickets so that the bottoms are even, and flip them over so the backsides are up. Put one of the pieces of backboard on the 3 pickets and measure your nails to make sure they will not poke through. Next make a pencil mark on each backboard for a nail (one nail for each picket). At this point, I would take the backboard off the pickets, and hammer in the nails into your pencil marks till the nail pokes through. Once done, put the backboard back on the pickets and nail them in about ½ foot from the top and bottom of the pickets. NOTE: if you are using an old fence, you can typically see where the original backboard was on the fence, this is a good spot to nail them back in.

Step 12: Put the Stake on the Pickets

Just as in the last step, put the stake onto the bottom of the pickets, make some pencil marks as to where to put nails into the stake so that it will be attached to the middle picket. I put in about 3- 4 nails into the stake.

Step 13: Give It a Coat of Orange Paint

First, remember to put goggles, face mask, and latex gloves on. Especially with younger ones. Next, take your can of orange paint and lightly stray it back and forth on the front of the pickets. Do this till the entire front is orange. When done, set the pickets somewhere safe to dry.

Step 14: Create an Eye, Nose, (optional Ear)

At this point, draw one eye on piece of 8.5x11 paper. Repeat the process for a nose and an ear (if you want ears) with a difference sheets of paper. Try and get the eye/ear in the center of the paper (important later). Next cut out the eye/ear by folding the paper so you can start in the middle of the eye/ear. This way you do not have to start the cut from the outside edges.

Step 15: Create a Half of the Mouth, Optional Nose With Whiskers

Fold a sheet of paper in half the long way. You do this since 3 pickets together roughly are about 8 ½ inches wide. Draw half the mouth on the folded part of the paper. Cut out the mouth (while still folded). Then open the sheet to see the full mouth. Do the same steps for a ½ nose and one side of whiskers.

Unfortunately I did not get a picture of this step, I was a bit rushed for time and the kids where already done cutting and wanting to do the next step before I got around to take pictures.

Step 16: Spray Paint the Eyes, Ears, Nose, Mouth

Start with the top of your head first (which would be ears or eyes). Take your Ear/eye template and put it over one picket about 1/3 from the top of the picket. Hold the template down and lightly spray paint over the template with the black spay paint. If doing this with kids, I recommend wearing a long sleeve shirt you don't care about (trust me). Once done, take the template off and let it dry out. Repeat the process for the eyes. Do the other side with the template flipped over.
Once done, proceed down to the nose (and whiskers if included). Let the entire thing dry out, then find a spot in the ground to push the stake in.

Originally we built 5 of these on one can of orange paint. Unfortunately 2 went home with my kids friends before I got a picture.

Step 17: Done, Just Let the Paint Dry

Done, just let the pain dry and put the picket pumpkin into the ground.  I "pre" made the holes in the ground for the stakes with an old piece of wood and a hammer (easier than trying to tap the picket pumpkin into the ground).

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