NERDIWEEN Week 1: Trick or Treat, Charlie Brown

To wrap up Week 1, I wanted to leave you all with a fun, festive craft that you can make over the weekend. Since the theme was Great Pumpkin, I pretty much went on the nose and created a pumpkin-centered tutorial. But, before I introduce the how-to, let’s reflect for a moment.

What does the Great Pumpkin do? According to Linus, “He flies through the air…to bring presents.” Sounds like a pretty awesome gourd, am I right? Well, that’s what I wanted to convey with this craft. If the Great Pumpkin can bring joy to Linus, then what’s to say that it can’t do the same thing to the trick-or-treaters on Halloween night? So, in order to bring that same delight, you can make your very own Great Pumpkin in candy dish form! You’ll be the most sincere for sure.

From your utility belt, you’ll need: 

-1 pack of orange tissue paper

-1 pack of black or patterned tissue paper

-1 bottle of matte Mod Podge

-1 package of green pipe cleaners

-1 sheet each of black, light brown, and green cardstock (preferably 6″ x 6″)

-1 sheet of thick craft foam, or a small piece of cardboard

-Halloween-themed paper straws (you’ll only need one, so if you don’t want to buy a whole pack, or don’t have straws lying around, you can use bamboo skewers or a popsicle stick)

-A green or black marker

-1 package of party balloons

-White computer paper

-Elmer’s glue

-All-purpose flour

-Paper bowls

-Glue gun and glue sticks

-Scissors

-Sponge paintbrush

-Optional: glitter glue (spoiler: glitter glue is NEVER optional)

Step 1: 

Start preparing for papier mache; taking a few sheets of white computer paper, tear them into strips. Next, mix about a cup of flour, water, and about a teaspoon of Elmer’s glue in a paper bowl. This will make the mache paste. The consistency of this paste should be similar to a thick soup. If there’s too much water, the chances of the paper sticking on the balloon together will be slim. Finally, blow up a party balloon, and cover your work surface.

 Step 2: 

Begin covering the balloon in thin, even layers of paper strips and paste. Once you have covered nearly the entire surface of the balloon in one layer, set aside to dry for about 24 hours. When the layer is completely dry, apply another layer, and let dry for another 24 hours. When all the layers of papier mache have dried, you will have your “pumpkin” body.

 Step 3: 

Taking the orange tissue paper, cut into small squares. Cut as many as you can.

 Step 4: 

Apply Mod Podge in small sections using a sponge paintbrush, pasting a layer of orange tissue paper as you work. To make sure the tissue paper sticks flat, sponge on a layer of Mod Podge. Add on as many layers as needed to completely cover all the white spaces. You should also make sure you cover any gaps that may be present.

This step is tedious and time consuming, jsyk!

 Step 5: 

When you have finished Step 4, and the Mod Podge has dried, cut out the shape of a smiling mouth into the pumpkin. Save the excess for Step 7.

 Step 6: 

Repeat Step 4 for the inside of the pumpkin. I was originally going to use black tissue paper for the inside, but I already had a star patterned tissue paper, and I thought that looked more magical. You can use whatever you like best. If you decide to use black, I picked up a two-pack of orange and black tissue paper at Target. This way, you can utilize both colors in one craft.

 Step 7: 

As you wait for your pumpkin to dry, begin to cut out some pumpkin shapes. Taking the black cardstock, cut out two triangles for the eyes, and a smaller triangle for the nose. Remember that excess material you cut off the pumpkin? Cut those out into three square teeth for a jack-o-lantern grin. The green cardstock will be used to create pumpkin leaves. I printed off a template for this step; you can find the exact one I used here. I sized my template to 3″. Trace and cut. Take your marker–green or black, but I recommend green for this–and sketch leaf veins onto the cardstock. Set all these shapes aside.

 Step 8: 

Twist three green pipe cleaners together and cut in half. Unravel one end on each to create fingers. These are going to be the arms for the Great Pumpkin. Fold the end of the pipe cleaners of each finger so that the wire doesn’t poke anyone. Fold the other end into a small joint; this is the end that will later be attached to the pumpkin.

Next, create a pumpkin stem out of three twisted pipe cleaners. Fold this in half once, then fold in half again. Wrap the excess around the base of the stem, and tuck away the wire end. Take a single pipe cleaner, cut in half, and wrap around your finger to make a curly vine. This vine is what you’ll use later to attach your leaf to the stem. Set aside.

 Step 9: 

When the pumpkin has completely dried, fire up the glue gun. Poke a hole into the base end of the leaf with the scissors. Thread the pipe cleaner vine through the hole, and attach the end to the base of the pumpkin stem. Glue the arms on either side of the pumpkin, and the stem on top. Add the pumpkin teeth onto the edge of the pumpkin’s mouth. Keep your glue gun handy for Step 13.

Step 10: 

Using either Elmer’s glue or Mod Podge, adhere the black cardstock triangles onto the pumpkin to create eyes and a nose. Seal with Mod Podge. After the Mod Podge has dried, you can add glitter glue wherever you think is appropriate.

  Step 11:

Make your sign for the Great Pumpkin to hold. Cut a 3″ x 4″ rectangle out of the thick craft foam. If you have cardboard lying around, you can use that instead. Take the light brown cardstock and cut two rectangles to the same dimensions. Glue a rectangle to both sides of your foam/cardboard. Let dry.

 Step 12: 

Take your marker and write a greeting onto one side of the sign. I chose to write “Welcome.” This is another item you can add glitter glue to.

 Step 13: 

Fire up the glue gun once more. Cut a paper straw in half. If you’re using another item for the handle of the sign, size appropriately for the pumpkin. Glue one end of the straw to the bottom edge of the sign. Apply a small dollop of glue onto one of the hands, and place the handle in it. Wrap the fingers around the sign.

Step 14: 

Fill the mouth with candy, and place in a special spot.

You’re done! 

Place your Great Pumpkin by the door, outside for the trick-or-treaters, or greet your guests with it in your arms. Either way, it’s sure to add a little Halloween charm to your doorstep this year!

Thank you so much for joining me for Week 1 of NERDIWEEN! Be sure to stick around for Week 2, which will focus on everyone’s favorite Disney Channel Original Movie, Halloweentown!

Life was meant to be lived nerdily, so what are you waiting for? 

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