Now the weather has started to turn, I knew it was time to figure out how to make a pumpkin porch sign for Thanksgiving. I have to get that porch ready for one of the best holidays ever! And, because this project is pretty kid-friendly (I mean, they get to paint a pumpkin, what kid doesn’t love that?!), it’s something that they can really be proud of that they helped dad (or mom) to make. How to make a wood pumpkin for Thanksgiving is a super easy project that requires minimal tools and hardly any patience. The hardest part is waiting for the paint to dry so that you can get your pumpkin ready and done. And, if you wanted, you could take your pumpkin porch sign and have the kids make felt cut-outs of jack-o-lantern facepieces to stick on it for Halloween. That’s what I call multi-purpose decorations!
How to Make a Wood Pumpkin for Thanksgiving
- 5 – 1/2 Fence Planks
- Orange Paint
- Grey Wood Stain
- Decorations (as desired):
You’re going to need a few things to get started. Namely, you’ll need 5 – 1/2 fence planks (rough cut is fine, but you’ll need to sand or plane them smooth or live with a “furry” looking pumpkin), orange paint (I got a sample size at the hardware store and it was more than enough), some grey wood stain (I just grabbed an old can off the shelf in my workshop, but it doesn’t have to be grey, you can use brown, too). Then, to add some decorations, you could use almost anything, but I used 3-4 feet of 6-inch wide burlap ribbon and 3-4 feet thick twine. The twine has a natural curl to it that reminded me of a pumpkin’s vines, so I thought it was nice.
As far as tools, you’ll want a scroll saw or jigsaw, some sandpaper, two paintbrushes, a hot glue gun, and glue.
Once you have everything ready, cut all of the fence planks in half. If you don’t have a skill saw or miter saw to do this with, you can always ask the guys at your local home improvement store to cut these for you. I’ve done it a couple of times and they never mind.
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Making Wood Pumpkin for Thanksgiving
Next, you’ll want to cut 6-8 inches off of all but one. This longer one, that you’re not cutting, will be the center of the pumpkin.
Line the fence panels up how you want them to stand by your porch. Meaning, line up the bottoms and line up the sides. Place the longest one in the center. It’s a good idea to put the shortest fence planks on the outside, as that will help get the wood pumpkin for Thanksgiving into the right shape, generally.
To get them together and sturdy, hot glue the extra cutoff pieces onto the fence panels in different places, across all of the planks, making sure to cross each of the planks at least twice. This will hold the pumpkin together.
Using a pencil, draw the top and bottom of the pumpkin, as desired. I wanted a big bumpy top and a round bottom, so I just drew that. Make sure to draw a 1-2 -inch wide stem at the top at least 2 inches tall so that you have something to tie your decorations to.
Cut out the pumpkin shape. If you’re using a jigsaw, it might be a good idea to stay back from the edge of your line by about a ⅛-inch so that you can sand down to the line and get it nice and smooth.
Sand the pumpkin shape. Now, I went ahead and sanded down all the sides and gave them a little rounding over, to give it a more distressed look. You don’t have to do that, but because pumpkins are round, I thought it fit with the concept.
Paint the entire pumpkin orange–and get the kids involved. I don’t know a single kid alive that doesn’t love to paint with dad, so let them get a little messy in helping to make the wood pumpkin for Thanksgiving. How else are they going to learn to be neat painters if they never get to pick up a brush?!
Remember that the edges need to be painted, too, but I didn’t feel like I needed to paint the back. It’s made from fence panels, so it won’t need that extra layer of protection from the elements, and you won’t see it. So, no need to waste that paint, right?
Allow the paint to dry fully. This is really important. You do not want to try to do the next step with wet paint. It will not end up looking distressed–it’ll just look like a mess. So allow the orange paint to dry fully (even overnight) before moving on. And tacky does not count–fully dry.
Dry brush the entire pumpkin with the grey wood stain. If you’ve never dry-brushed before, it’s really simple. Just dip your paintbrush in the paint like you would normally do, then get as much paint off as you can on the side of the can. Then brush a few times on a scrap piece of cardboard or wood to get even more of the paint (or in this case stain) off the paintbrush. Then, run the paintbrush over the piece lightly and quickly in long brush strokes, to leave as little paint (or stain) behind on the wood as possible. Repeat your brush strokes to add more paint (or stain) to reach your desired effect. See? Not hard at all.
Looking for other ways to occupy the kiddos then check out these 10 Card games to play with Kids!
Allow the stain to dry. This is usually pretty quick, but because you’re staining on top of paint, it may take a little while longer than it would if you’d stained wood directly, so be careful.
Now it’s time to add your decorations. You do not have to go with what I did. You could even paint on decorations. But I wanted a more organic look. To do the same look that I did, fold burlap ribbon in half longways, then fold it in half again. Then lay your twine alongside burlap ribbon and wrap this twine and burlap ribbon length around the stem of your pumpkin and tie in a bow.
Then it’s time to set it up on your porch and enjoy!
The kids are going to love this project and be so proud that they helped dad to put it together. Now you know how to make a wood pumpkin for Thanksgiving, to impress your friends or relatives by saying you made it yourself. If you loved this idea, but you’re not quite ready to break out the saw just yet, be sure to pin this to your favorite DIY Holiday Decorations board on Pinterest so you can find it again.
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