Gorgeous Holiday Gourds and Gratitude

How to Make Gorgeous Holiday Gourds (from your old Halloween pumpkins)Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

The pumpkin: our favorite symbol of autumn’s bountiful harvest: one of Nature’s generous gifts and the impetus for our annual show of gratitude. T’is is the season to give thanks for these gifts among others, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over? With a little paper and glue, or paint, or string, or whatever strikes your fancy, you and your kids can create these snazzy showpieces for your holiday decorating. Creating beautiful decorations, delicacies, and traditions together with children is such an integral part of any holiday celebration. And, children gain confidence, competence, and a sense of purpose through involvement with family projects and hands on activities.

Before we get started, I’d like to mention that this post is honored to be part of the 15 Days of Montessori for the Holidays blog hop series, a series filled with multicultural holiday activities and Montessori magic. Hop on over to the homepage at Montessori Bloggers Network to enjoy all the inspiring and helpful holiday ideas written by some of the best Montessori moms, teachers, and bloggers in the whole worldwide webosphere!

Now for all of these crafts, start out with pumpkins…any pumpkins. You can go to your local craft or dollar store and pick up those post-Halloween pumpkins (plastic, ceramic, cardboard, you-name-it) for pennies (Pssst, I just got back from the grocery store and those plastic trick-or-treat pumpkins were on sale for 10¢ a piece!) Or you can just use the extras you have collected over the season(s). Yes, you can certainly use real pumpkins, too.Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

First Up: Decoupage Pumpkins

This first pumpkin project is a great one to do in groups, especially because it is gloppy, sloppy, and very hands-on. While some children can’t wait to get their hands in the goo, others are more sensitive to the tactile particulars and would prefer the less messy jobs. For younger children, I recommend using small pumpkins as the big ones can end up taking a long time. Of course, that depends on the attention span of each individual child.

Step 1: Gather your materials.

  • Pumpkin(s)–plastic, plaster, ceramic, real, whatever…Mod Podge will stick to nearly any surface.
  • Mod Podge–(can be found at any crafts store, inexpensive, non-toxic, water washable, easy to use, all-around great stuff.)
  • Foam paint brushes–these are super cheap, as in 15¢ a piece.
  • Colored paper–here you can choose a theme, like Thanksgiving, or a particular color scheme, or just be random. You can choose to purchase pretty paper, or just use what you’ve got lying around: old wrapping paper, holiday napkins, torn up magazines, newspapers, etc.
  • Optional: Branches for stems, ribbons, bangles, buttons, and other fun decorations.IMG_0627Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Step 2: Cut or tear the paper into strips or pieces. On a covered surface (this will get messy,) glue (with Modge Podge) the paper bits onto your pumpkin. Use the Mod Podge generously. First apply some Mod Podge to the pumpkin, then apply more to the back of the paper, then stick the paper onto the pumpkin and apply another coat of Mod Podge on top.Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?


Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Step 3: Go back over your work with your fingers, pressing the paper and smoothing it down. If you have a large pumpkin, you will have to do this in increments because you want to smooth the Mod Podge before it dries. But don’t worry, you really can’t do it wrong. If you don’t like the way something looks, just let it dry a bit and then go over it with another layer. Ba-da-bing!Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Step 4: Cover the whole pumpkin and set it aside to dry completely.

Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Step 5: After the Mod Podge dries (overnight is a good idea,) you can add the “optionals.” I cut some dead branches with pruning shears and used a glue gun to attach them. I also used the pruning shears to remove the plastic stems already on the pumpkins.  Some other options: paint the plastic stem, cover it with ribbon or raffia, or glue leaves (real or fabric) onto the stem.

Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?Step 6: If necessary, go back with a little Mod Podge and paper to give a finished look around the stem. Optional: add stickers, ribbons, bangles, or beads. Make it your (and I’m taking to both adults and children, here) own expression of creativity!Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Round Two: Chalk Paint Pumpkins

Step 1: Gather your materials.

  • Pumpkin(s)–plastic, plaster, ceramic, real, whatever…
  • Chalk paint–chalk paint is the greatest invention since the wheel, really! This stuff will stick to ANY surface, cleans up with soap and water, and is incredibly easy and forgiving to work with. The only draw back is that it can be expensive. Therefore, I am including a link for make your own chalk paint, here. And a less expensive chalk paint alternative, here. I happened to have some chalk paint left over from other projects so I am using green, grey, and white chalk paint.
  • Paint brushes or foam paint brushes.Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Step 2: Simply cover the pumpkin(s) with one coat of chalk paint and let it dry. (Chalk paint dries quickly.)

Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over? Step 3: Lightly apply a different-colored, second coat of paint and, almost immediately rub some of it off with a dry cloth.Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Step 4: For the pumpkin wrapped in string, start by wrapping the string around and around going top to bottom. Then “weave” one or two pieces running horizontally around the pumpkin. Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?Step 5: Staple in place on the underside.Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?Step 6: Or decorate with buttons, ribbons, stickers, whatever!Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

And last but not least, enjoy your beautiful creations and have a safe and happy holiday season!!!Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Thank you for visiting! Don’t miss this amazing series, 15 Days of Montessori for the Holidays, brought to you by over 15 fabulous Montessori bloggers. A new Montessori holiday themed blog post will be published each day from October 25 – November 11! Next up:  Montessori Inspired DIY Christmas Ornaments by Montessori Nature, coming tomorrow!

Gourd-geous Craft-www.ageofmontessori.org T'is is the holiday season and the best time to give thanks for all that we have, so why waste those gorgeous gourds just because Halloween is over?

Photo Credit from the Montessori Messy Blog

 

The Montessori Notebook ~ Montessori by Mom

When Hippos Talk ~ Little Fingers at Work ~ At Kid Level

Magical Movement Company ~ Christian Montessori Network

Montessori Unfiltered ~ Mama’s Happy Hive ~ Montessori Nature

Welcome to Mommyhood ~ Our Montessori Home

I Believe in Montessori ~ Living Montessori Now

The Kavanaugh Report ~ The Natural Homeschool

Age of Montessori

13 Responses to Gorgeous Holiday Gourds and Gratitude

  1. Carolyn Lucento 2015/11/08 at 3:56 PM #

    I am absolutely taken by these very lovely projects and what a way to make something beautiful after the halloween pumpkin is out-of-date! These make lovely table decorations for the upcoming family celebrations. I can’t wait to create some for Stone Soup harvest celebrations! Just lovely, Emily, and my favorite part is that these beauties are from the garden!

    • emilyj 2015/11/08 at 4:43 PM #

      Thank you so so much, Carolyn!!!! I just had an early holiday party and they were certainly a hit! 🙂

  2. Anastasia 2015/11/09 at 12:25 AM #

    This is just lovely! Great idea to style a pumpkin! Kids would love that!

    • emilyj 2015/11/09 at 1:48 AM #

      Thanks for your kind words Anastasia!

  3. Marie 2015/11/09 at 9:23 AM #

    This looks like so much fun! My kids have asked me several times of the last couple weeks to do a fun art project. I think this is going on the list of to-do. Thank you so much for joining us in the 15 Days of Montessori for the Holidays!

    • emilyj 2015/11/09 at 4:18 PM #

      Thank you, Marie! It has been a lot of fun! So many awesome ideas, activities, and beauty!

  4. Katherine 2015/11/11 at 11:49 AM #

    I have never ever seen such beautiful pumpkins! You are so creative! This post is just a treasure! You know I still have so many pumpkins in my vegetable garden I should turn them into such wonderful decorations! Thanks!!!

    • emilyj 2015/11/12 at 2:08 AM #

      I’m so glad you like them, Katherine! Thank you!

  5. Vanessa 2015/11/12 at 2:55 PM #

    Wow! These are fantastic and gorgeous gourds! 🙂 I love how you styled them and what a great idea for teaching the process of art. 🙂

  6. DeShaun 2015/11/12 at 3:13 PM #

    These are beautiful, such a great way to spend quality with your children. These are going to be lovely addition to anyone’s household holiday decor, I can see my sister and niece doing this project and will pass this post on to them!

  7. emilyj 2015/11/12 at 3:28 PM #

    Thanks so much Vanessa and Deshaun! I hop your sister and niece have fun with this, Deshaun!

  8. Kim 2015/11/12 at 4:50 PM #

    These look straight out of a shelter mag – excellent post, and proof that children are capable of making decorations that are beautiful to children and adults alike!

    • emilyj 2015/11/12 at 5:12 PM #

      Thanks so much Kim!

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