Sunday, October 2, 2016

DIY: Vintage-Inspired Halloween

Every year, when fall approaches and the light begins to change, I get this urge to create. Often times that results in a Halloween-inspired dress, needle felted sweater or painting (stay tuned for a big ole blog post with all my fave fall crafts!). This year, I was inspired to create these wannabe vintage Halloween trick or treat buckets!
 I got the idea from a shop I happened by one morning. They had these sweet little papier mache treat buckets on display in their window that were more than likely made in a land far, far away. I immediately wanted to duck into the shop and scoop them all up but the nearly $40 price tag kept me away. Then I got the idea: I'd just hit up the thrift store on the way home, pick up some plastic trick or treat containers and make my own.
Here's how, y'all!
I found three of these at my local thrift store in various sizes. I happened to have a couple bags of Celluclay that had been in my school storage closet for almost as long as I've been there. 
I had one of the big bags...and as you can see in the video I'v hardly put a dent in the thing. A little goes a long way. What I love about the clay as opposed to papier mache is that it goes on so much faster and doesn't have the texture of elephant snot. So there's that.
 Here's the making of the cat. I knew I wanted ears so for him, I simply hot glued some tag board ears to the top.
 I had a wee big of a battle with the handle but I made it work. 
Surprisingly, the tag board was able to withstand the weight of the clay. 
Covering the pumpkins was the first step. It seemed to take forever and was not my fave. I was ready to dive into the face-making part!
 So much fun. I drew a lot of inspiration from a "vintage Halloween" google search. That lead me to this incredible artist Johanna Parker who I'm currently a huge fan of!
 It was nearly 90 degrees the day I set these guys outside which worked out perfectly as they were dry in no time. This winter, when I experimented with the clay, it took up to a week to dry and did mold a bit on the bottom because I forgot to rotate the clay project. So, not only do I suffer from Cellu-Lung but also Cellu-Mold neither of which my insurance covers. Of course. 
The surface was rough but not difficult to paint. I do think kids would struggle as it is def not the easiest surface if you are trying to paint neatly. I rather dug the texture though as it meant I could play around with layers of paint and depth.
I think painting the white pumpkin was my favorite. I started by painting it completely orange then layering the white on top with a dry brush. 
After painting the details of the face, I went back and added the line on the pumpkin in orange and a dry brush of light orange and yellow. Once they were dry, I went over each with satin ModPodge to add just a hint of shine. 

I really can't decide if these pumpkins are ugly or cute. I'm going with ugly cute. Regardless, they will not be on display in our bedroom as I can't have that creeper staring at my when I'm trying to sleep. 
Ugh. I kinda wanna make more! My fall break is quickly approaching, I just might have to!
 If you follow me here, I know you've seen me sharing the process like crazy. I'd love to know if you give this a go! 
 Not gonna lie, this one's my fave. 
 But this one is a close second!
Next up on the fall crafterin' agenda: a Black Cat dress and a EYEBALL sweater, eek! I can't wait. Til then, y'all!


  1. Thank you, Cassie! I have used this before. I made a Donnie Darko mask for somebody, and had a group of students experiment with some one summer. It was kind of messy, but the kids really liked it! I like your project!

    1. It is kinda messy...and requires IMMEDIATE clean up but other than that, it's great!

  2. Anonymous10/02/2016

    Oh wow! I want to try this project! I work in an elementary school library and am always looking for things to make to decorate the room ! so cool!

    1. You'll have fun making them, I promise!

  3. These are fabulous! Sharing, or at least I will once I stop giggling about elephant snot...

    1. Haha, that's what I told my fourth graders it was. I had them convinced that I dropped by the zoo every morning for my bucket o' snot ;)

    2. Oh my gosh! I say the same thing of course now in middle school I change it to teens snots and tears.🤣

  4. Great project. I would like to make these with my Jr. High students. I just bought 5 lbs of celluclay. How much celluclay does it take to cover one pumpkin? Last year they made awesome spooky spell books and loved them. I thought it would be fun to try something new.

    1. It is hard to say...I went through half that bag for my three pumpkins here and the one in the video. I hope that helps :)

  5. These look great; you did a terrific job!

  6. How To Avoid Dreaded 'Cellu-Lung'!

    Hi Cassie,

    I am passing this super-helpful tool along that I once saw in an Air-brushing video (to prevent over-spray)...

    Get yourself one of those square fans (ours is 21" x 21"), then pick up some furnace fan filters the same size. Tape a filter to the suction side of the fan & crank it on! The fan sucks the dust into the filter & you breathe easy. Now both teacher & student can mix to their heart's content ������.

    We have used this tool in our house reno project & it is super for containing the fine drywall dust.

    Love what you do!
    Kim Schellenberg

  7. Hi Cassie!

    It's Johanna Parker :-) I stumbled upon this post while searching for my products on the web! You did great with this project, but it's no wonder as you are highly creative. Thanks for finding inspiration in my Halloween folk art and sharing your talents with the world. I think I'm already following you on Instagram... Look me up @jparkerdesign.

    Happy Haunting,
    ~ Johanna Parker (new website!)

  8. LOVE these vintage-like jack o lantern pails! You did a spooktacular job! Hopefully I get around to doing some!


Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.