As autumn leaves start to fall, it’s time to break out the pumpkins! But you don’t have to head to the patch to get your gourd fix. With a little creativity, you can DIY pumpkins made from books for a frugal and festive fall home décor project.
Overview: Crafting Book Page Pumpkins
Making pumpkins from books allows you to upcycle old tomes into charming Halloween or autumn accessories. The sculpted shapes come together through origami-style folding and gluing of book pages. With some simple techniques, you can transform stacks of paper into decorative pumpkins of various sizes and shapes. They work wonderfully on mantels, tables and shelves to ring in the season.
The creative craft takes common household items like books, glue, and paint to produce pumpkin patch whimsy at home. Once you learn the methods, you can churn out custom creations from your own book collection. Opt for bold colors and patterns to make them pop. Add stems, faces and other embellishments to personalize your pumpkins. Display singly or arrange in groups for maximum impact.
If you love fall arts and crafts, making book page pumpkins offers a fun DIY challenge. Read on to learn all the tips and tricks for mastering this paper crafting technique.
Pumpkin Types and Key Materials
When planning your papery pumpkin patch creations, consider the different shapes and sizes you hope to make. The construction process will vary slightly depending on the silhouette. But no matter what style you choose, a few standard materials are needed:
Types of Pumpkins
- Classic Round – The most common type, these have a spherical shape in small, medium or large sizes.
- Tall/Vase – A cylindrical vertical shape that’s slightly tapered at the top and bottom.
- Flat/Spindle – A short, oblong pumpkin that can lay on its side.
- Mini/Baby – Cute tiny versions made with just a few book pages.
- Textured – Pumpkins with rumpled, wavy patterns across the surface.
- Old books – Look for ones with pages that are thin, brightly colored, and lightly textured
- White glue or decoupage glue – For adhering the book pages together
- Acrylic paint – For adding details like faces or stems
- Scissors – For trimming excess paper
- Paint brushes – For glue and paint application
- Embellishments – Ribbon, raffia, twine, etc. for stems
Follow these key steps when crafting pumpkins out of book pages:
1. Select Books
- Gather a variety of old books with pages you can cut into – dictionaries, encyclopedias, and vintage novels often work well.
- For textured pumpkins, choose books with glossy or wrinkly pages.
- Opt for books with brightly colored pages if you want a vibrant pumpkin.
- For neutral pumpkins, black and white or sepia toned pages are ideal.
2. Cut Book Pages
- Turn books onto their side and cut pages out a few at a time.
- Cut pages into squares or circles – the paper shapes will mimic the shape of your finished pumpkin.
- Circles should be a variety of sizes from 1 inch to 3 inches wide.
- Squares should range from 1 inch to 2 inches wide.
- Cut 30-60 pages for a small pumpkin, 60-100 for a medium, and 100+ for large.
3. Fold and Shape Pumpkin Sections
- Take 8-20 pages and fold them in half lengthwise. This will create a semi-circle shape.
- Then accordion fold the semi-circle into a fan shape with 1/2 inch wide sections.
- Gather the open edges in the center and twist into a teardrop shape with a fat bottom and skinny stem end.
- Repeat with more book page fans to create sections that will form the 3D pumpkin shape.
4. Glue and Attach Sections
- Apply craft glue or decoupage glue to the twisted end of a section and attach it to the main pumpkin shape.
- Repeat gluing and adding more twisted paper sections around the form to create your desired pumpkin silhouette.
- Add smaller sections around the stem area to refine the shape.
- Let pumpkin air dry on a flat surface as you attach more sections.
5. Finish Pumpkin Shape
- Once the basic shape is complete, flip the pumpkin over onto its bottom.
- Apply glue around the gaps between the attached sections and pinch the paper in place to further secure and round the form.
- For flat pumpkins, gently press down on the top while drying to flatten.
- Let dry completely before moving or embellishing.
6. Paint and Embellish (optional)
- Paint on details like ridges, faces, or stems using acrylic paints.
- Cut shapes from book pages to create accents like vines or leaves.
- Wrap twine, raffia, or ribbon around the stem area and glue the ends.
- Add other embellishments with hot glue – buttons, fabric, jute, leaves, glitter, googly eyes, etc.
7. Display Your Creations
- Your decorative book page pumpkins are ready to be shown off!
- Place them on mantels, shelves, side tables, or anywhere you want a pop of pumpkin flair.
- Arrange mini pumpkins in a glass bowl, jars or vases for a farmhouse chic look.
- Group different sized pumpkins together for high visual impact.
8 Creative Variations
The basic instructions allow you to craft round, tall, flat, and miniature pumpkins out of book pages. But you can also get creative with the concept in other ways:
- Instead of paper, use old book jackets to form the exterior shell.
- Weave ribbon or raffia through gaps in the pumpkin as you glue sections.
- For patchwork pumpkins, use different colored pages in each section.
- Leave spaces or cut shapes between glued areas to make lattice style pumpkins.
- Rather than folding, curl pages into coils or rolls, then attach into a pumpkin shape.
- Use a bowl as a mold to create perfectly round pumpkins.
- Add lights for a jack-o-lantern effect.
The possibilities are endless for personalizing and customizing your bookish pumpkins!
Have questions on the process? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
What type of glue works best? White craft glue or decoupage glue is ideal. Avoid super glue or hot glue as they dry too quickly.
How do I make tall/vase shaped pumpkins?
Cut longer rectangular pages and fold into longer fan shapes. Arrange the twisted paper pieces from skinny bottom to wider top.
Can I use thicker books or magazines? Yes, but you may need to tear pages rather than cut them to maintain flexibility.
How do I make miniature pumpkins? Use your smallest book scraps and very thinly rolled sections. Glue a few tiny curled papers together into a ball.
How long does it take to make a book page pumpkin? Plan on 1-2 hours for a medium classic round pumpkin. Larger, more intricate pumpkins can take 3+ hours.
Can I waterproof them to use outside? Yes! Spray finished pumpkins with sealants like Mod Podge.
Get Inspired and Craft Some Pumpkins!
Looking for a festive fall craft? Making book page pumpkins allows you to reuse old books in new ways. Follow the folding and gluing steps to create soft sculpted pumpkins in varied shapes, colors and sizes. Add stems, faces or other embellishments to customize your creations. Display on their own or arrange in groups for seasonal decor.
With a dash of creativity and some simple techniques, you can DIY delightfully unique pumpkins from your book collection. So grab some old tomes and get folding! Bring on the autumn magic at home with handmade bookish pumpkins.