Oct
23
2008

  Making Paper Mache Pumpkins Is Hard

The first part of the project was easy. I made the "wheat paste" on the stove, which I'd never done before-- usually I would just mix the flour with cold water and dip newspaper strips in it for paper mache. But for this project I'm using tissue paper so it can't be dipped and the instructions call for "wheat paste" to be brushed onto the tissue paper. For anyone interested, here's how to make it:

Mix 3T flour with just enough cold water to make it liquid-y. Boil one cup of water, then slowly add the cold liquid flour, stirring constantly. Boil until thick.

That's it. So that part was easy. And blowing up the balloons and covering them with the tissue strips wasn't too difficult, either. The first one I did took 30 minutes, which was way too long in my opinion, so I made the next balloons smaller and they took about 15 minutes each yesterday. Today I knocked out about 6 in an hour (learning curve, I guess).

The next parts were difficult. I thought I'd just be able to deflate the balloon and be left with a tissue paper shell that looked just like it did when the balloon was blown up. Not so much. The paper stuck to the balloon, and when the balloon deflated, the paper got all small and crinkled also. I was able to gently detach the deflated balloon and then smooth out the tissue form to its intended shape. But it was a very delicate operation, and two of the balloons suffered small rips that I had to repair.

Cutting out the eyes, nose, mouth for the jack-o-lantern aspect was slightly less difficult but because the tissue form was so fragile, and curved, it certainly wasn't easy.

The cut openings are then backed with a single layer of yellow tissue paper. I found this part to be difficult. Because my pumpkins weren't large enough to brush the insides, I brushed the yellow tissue in my hand, then carefully pressed it to the inside of the orange tissue pumpkin, making sure to cover all the cut openings. But you know how delicate wet tissue is! And trying to press a flat sheet to a curved surface isn't easy in the best of circumstances. But I got it done, and it looks fine. The process did, however, wear me out after I finished only two of the pumpkins. I'm going to have to do the rest tomorrow.

I'm relatively unorganized about my party this year. Usually by this time I've got much more concrete plans about how things are going to look. Oh well, this year I'm unorganized. But I'm determined to work on the outside preparations tomorrow. The weather should be good, and I can't count on it being good on Friday and Saturday also. After dark (or earlier if I finish sooner) I'll start the inside decorations. Usually I have just one room with pumpkins, but this year I'm doing a whole pumpkin theme so I'm not sure how that will play out. I might still have to use skulls, spiders, bats, etc. as decorations, but I'll be sure to have pumpkins in every room.

Maybe I'll work on an orange-colored beverage. Yeah, that'll be fun. See, in previous years not only would I already have thought of that, I'd already have tried recipes and picked one. I guess it will be an interesting test to see if I can pull this off all last-minute this way. I'm sure it will be fine, maybe it just won't be super fabulous.