It’s that time of the year when half the world goes pumpkin crazy. So I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and make a few hollow concrete pumpkins to add to our decor. And I am so happy with how they turned out.
Isn’t she gorgeous with those rough concrete edges? Pumpkins are “she’s” right!!!? I used to think that concrete was something terribly complicated that only seasoned professionals and builders knew how to do. I was soooo wrong. It’s actually pretty easy to use unless you’re building the Empire State building or the longest bridge in the world 😉
If “concrete” isn’t your thing, don’t worry. These hollow pumpkins can be made with plaster of Paris too. They won’t be as durable, but they’ll still be gorgeous 😉
What you need to make hollow concrete pumpkins
- Concrete Mix
- Stockings (knee highs work best)
- Round Balloons
- Strong cotton string
- A short, fat twig from the garden
- Jewelry wire
- Craft or spray paints in the color of your choice
How to make the concrete pumpkin forms
The trick to making the hollow concrete pumpkins is the mold. I wracked my brains for days trying to figure it out. I could make one using our 2-ingredient silicone mold recipe. But for that, I’d need a pretty pumpkin and I couldn’t find the right shape or size anywhere. So the next best thing was to make one using a round balloon and some knee-high stockings. I didn’t have any knee-highs in my cupboard so I cut up some of my daughter’s old school tights. She doesn’t need them anymore since she’s studying in a land far, far away.
Place the balloon inside the stocking and blow her up 😉 How big you blow the balloon up will determine the size of the hollow bit inside the concrete pumpkin.
Squish the balloon down so her “bum” is touching the bottom of the stocking.
Right, so that’s the mold all done 😀 Time to mix up some concrete.
Preparing the concrete mix
The terms “concrete” and “cement” are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Cement is the main ingredients used to make concrete. The other ingredients are usually water, and some kind of aggregate or additive like sand, gravel or crushed stone.
When you mix the cement with water it forms a chemical reaction and becomes the glue that holds everything together to form concrete. If the mix is smooth it’s often referred to as mortar in the building trade. If it’s rough it’s called concrete. A smooth, mortar-like mix is what you’re looking for when you make these hollow concrete pumpkins. To make the mix you’ll need:
- Plastic mixing container with a wide mouth and tall sides to make it easier to mix the concrete
- Measuring cups – I just used the lids from a spray cans
- Gloves and a dust mask– trust me on this one, that fine cement powder goes everywhere
- Plastic sheet to protect your work surface
- Plastic knife, spoon or paint stirrers for mixing
- Soft, dry sand
Before you start making the actual concrete pumpkins, be sure you have everything ready. Once you start mixing everything together, it gets messy and you don’t want to rush around with goopy concrete hands looking for things. Ask me how I know. I’m still trying to get the dried concrete off our fridge 😀
Making the concrete mix and filling
Add the cement and fine sand in the appropriate amounts to your mixing container. I used 1 cup of cement and 3 cups of fine dry sand. Mix well before adding some water on top of the dry ingredients. Fold the cement and sand mix from the bottom into the water. You can use paint stirrers, a plastic spoon or your hands, but be sure to wear gloves. Cement is corrosive and will chew away your fingerprints 😉 Mix until there are no lumps and keep adding water until you have a smooth consistency.
Your mixture is ready when the concrete is still wet enough to slip easily off your hands but holds its shape if you make a hollow in the mixture. Fill the stocking with the concrete mix, making sure to squish the mixture around the balloon every time you add more concrete. It helps the pumpkin take shape and ensures that the concrete goes all the way around the balloon.
Once the stocking is full use the string to create “sections”. You may need to massage the concrete form a little after creating those sections to get the right pumpkin shape and to ensure the concrete is spread evenly all around the balloon. Make sure to have the balloon pointing out to the one side as shown below and that the “sewn toe” portion of the stockings follows the same direction as the strings.
Leave the concrete pumpkin to dry completely in a cool spot. They should make a hollow sound when you tap them.
Pop the balloon, carefully remove the string and peel away the stocking to reveal your hollow concrete pumpkin 😀
Brush off any concrete dust before painting. I painted the inside a beautiful metallic gold and the outside a pearly white. Once the paint dries, glue a short fat twig or branch on top to create a stalk and wrap some jewelry wire around the stalk for the tendrils.
We put a candle in this one, but you can turn it into a Cinderella coach (tutorial coming soon 😉 ). Or you can add a few succulents or plants that don’t have deep roots. Remember to add some drainage holes if you use your hollow concrete pumpkin as a planter and seal it first with a concrete sealer.
The gold and pearly white combo is so pretty, but the real magic happens when you light the candle.
I love the way the gold paint takes on a pumpkiny glow. It’s gorgeous.
And you can still see the texture on the outside from the stocking.
What do you think of the concrete pumpkins? Is it something you would make? What would put inside the hollowed out portion?
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And as always, here’s wishing you a beautiful crafty week. Thank you for popping around for a visit.