DIY Friday: Three Ways to Put Those Pumpkins to Good Use

Although it's tempting to overdo it with all of the great Halloween decorations out there, we took a minimalist approach in our house this year. A few spooky spiders here, a ghastly ghost there, any many pumpkins. Not only are pumpkins cheap and great to eat in a variety of recipes, but they also transition well from Halloween to Thanksgiving. For Halloween, we used various themed stick-on decals to decorate our pumpkins. Then, we can easily peel them off and reuse them as Thanksgiving centerpieces.

With Baby #3 on the way, shopping trips to Hobby Lobby, Tarjay, and Home Goods are on hold for quite a while. These little home decor goodies were all made with items I have around the house (I do tend to keep a stash of glitter, various ribbons and dried flowers around, and a hot glue gun at the ready) and the various sized pumpkins that are left over from Halloween. So, here are three different ways to give your pumpkins center stage for the holidays. You can spruce up your space and give thanks this season without breaking the bank. Enjoy your new decorations with a slice of gluten free pumpkin bread to really get into the spirit.

Happy DIY Friday!

Sparkly Pumpkin Centerpiece

Difficulty Level: Easy (my 5 year old did two of the pumpkins herself while I supervised)
Time Required: 15 minutes

  • 3 pie sized pumpkins (or whatever size you'd like)
  • Craft paintbrush
  • Glue
  • Paper plate
  • Various colored glitter (gold, red, and brown are great for the Thanksgiving holiday)

Spread newspaper on a craft surface. Take a paper plate and place one of the pumpkins on the paper plate. Using your paintbrush, "paint" glue on the pumpkin, covering the pumpkin entirely with a thin coat of glue. Shake the glitter on the pumpkin, covering the entire pumpkin. Lift the pumpkin up and give a gentle shake - to remove excess glitter. Repeat the process for the remaining pumpkins and let all dry. If desired, you can paint the stems with brown acrylic paint. I prefer to keep mine au natural. Once pumpkins are fully dry, arrange on a mirrored tray with fall colored potpourri. Makes an easy and elegant Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Pumpkin Topiary

Difficulty Level: Easy (Manipulating the hot glue gun without burning myself was the hardest part)
Time Required: 20 minutes

  • 3 small pumpkins (varying in size from larger to smaller)
  • Assorted dried fall foliage (dried leaves, hay, grasses, mosses)
  • Terra cotta flower pot
  • Acrylic paint (brown, orange, or whatever fall colors you like), brush
  • Hot glue

I spent some of the afternoon raking and cleaning up the gardens for approaching winter, while my sick kindergartner rested inside and thought of this easy centerpiece idea. I brought some of the backyard in - dried grass, a bit of hay and corn silk from the corn stalks and haybale adorning our front porch, and dried leaves. I used one of the extra flower pots in our shed for the container. A little acrylic paint goes a long way!

Spread newspaper on a craft surface. Paint the flower pot with acrylic paint. I decided to put a brownish glaze over the bright orange flower pot I started with, to help mute the color a bit. Once dry, fill with extra newsprint, dried floral foam, or rocks to weight down the pot.

Spread potpourri, hay, whatever you like along the top surface of the flower pot. Spread hot glue on the base of the largest pumpkin to secure it into place. Cut a hole in the base of the next largest pumpkin. Spread hot glue on the top of the largest pumpkin, then place the next largest pumpkin on top (the stem of the largest pumpkin should fit into the hole that you just cut out of the next largest pumpkin. Repeat the process until all three pumpkins are stacked on top of one another. Using your hot glue gun, glue various leaves, twigs, berries, and moss around perimeter of flower pot and in between pumpkin topiary to decorate.

I displayed mine on the kitchen table between two Pottery Barn candles that I received as a gift. I added some of the leftover berries and dried grasses into the base of the candles as well.

Pumpkin Vignette

Difficulty Level: Super Duper Easy (I don't think this one even counts as crafting)
Time Required: 5 minutes

  • Glass Plate
  • Glass Candlestick
  • Shiny Pot with dried or artificial fall flowers
  • Few pumpkins (various sizes and colors)
  • Hot glue gun

I remember watching Christopher Lowell years ago. He was one of the first home decorating shows out there. In his words, "It's all about the levels". I try to remember that when bringing out holiday decorations. Putting things at different levels creates visual interest. I don't have a glass pedestal, so I just made my own using a thrift store glass plate and glass candlestick. Hot glue the top of the glass candlestick to the base of the plate. Voila! Pedestal. I also found a shiny, brownish clay pot from the thrift store, so I added some dried flowers and arranged that next to the pedestal along with a bright orange pumpkin. I don't know about you, but I love the "ugly" pumpkins that are all the rage this fall. Green or multi-colored with warts add lots of visual interest, but I decided to go with a white pumpkin to top this pedestal. It adds a nice contrast to the deep red walls of my living room. This vignette appears on a mantel but it could easily adorn a dining table too.


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  • Love the ideas-especially the glitter pumpkins. I will try making those!

  • In reply to Lisa Stiegman:

    They are very easy. Mallory would enjoy it too - can't take credit for this idea. Martha and The Today Show featured these for Halloween, but why not extend them through Thanksgiving?

  • I love photo 5!

  • In reply to banksjeri:

    Thanks! I had fun decorating with pumpkins. There are some really cute ideas out there.

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