This is it!
After hours of hard work I’m into my favorite stage of crafting on a project. But I must admit, it’s also a little sad for me. I like the big projects, one’s that take a lot of time and effort and though somewhere around the two-thirds mark I’m usually having a doubt or two if this is worth it and whether the project’s going to turn out alright, here in the last stage time rushes past and I’m looking at a new creation. But in this last part, I love teasing out the final details – those last little bits that really “make” this piece uniquely my creation.
But I’m not there yet. Next, it’s time to add the grungy patina with acrylic black paint.
I keep a water dish handy too, in case I need to dilute the paint or re-wet my brush. I use an old brush for this step as this is more a case of rubbing paint on than brushing it on.
I usually start on the bottom of a piece when adding a patina, it takes a few tries to get the technique going and if something goes a bit wrong I’d rather it be some place less noticeable. Start swirling paint around on a (3″ x 3″) section and then rub it back off with the dry rag. The longer you let the paint dry the harder it is to get off. I like leaving quite a bit around the rivets and in the seams where the pieces join together. You can always go back and add more paint over a section, rub, until you get the look you want.
Just a note here, you can also use Alcohol Inks to make a grungy look. I did not use inks on either my previous pumpkin that is featured at the top of each of these “part” blogs or this project’s pumpkin, but you can see how it looks if you go to my Etsy shop – OldRaven – and pull up the listing for the Ferris Wheel. I used black paint and alcohol inks on that and really liked the outcome.
You probably have a few of these on your pumpkin, too. Areas where the seams didn’t quite match up and there’s bright pumpkin orange showing through. Here’s the fix: load up your brush and swirl, stab, poke and rub black paint into the cracks until you’re sure you’ve got it covered.
Then just rub off to the patina you like.
Make sure you give your pumpkin a good looking over when you’re done with this stage. Look at it from all different angles to be sure you’re not missing any orange gaps.
Looks pretty good, huh? This is the stage where you can go a lot of different directions. You can get seriously “steampunky” by adding screws, cogs, gears, etc. and I contemplated doing that with this guy, but when I got here I decided I wanted to go with the leaves and vines again – it just felt right.
I dug a velvet crafting leaf out of my stash, it’s about 3″ x 3″. I photo copied it at original size and then at 125%, 150%, 175% and 200%, but instead of regular copy paper I used a heavier cardstock. Then I cut out the leaves (disregard the stems).
I like having at least three different size leaves when I’m finished. Take one of the leaves and situate it on a piece of embossed foil paper and make sure it fits all around. Now adhere one side of the tape to the grunge paper and then the foil to the other side of the tape – foil side out.
Now you have a sandwich of foil, tape and grunge paper. Flip over the sandwich so the grunge paper is up. Place your leaf on it and trace around the edges (I used a fine tip black Sharpie). Now use some heavy duty scissors, like Kai’s or Tim Holtz craft shears and cut the leaf.
Don’t try to be exact – it’s going to look great.
Back to paint again, cover the grunge paper and be sure to get the edges good.
When the back dries then give the front the same patina as the pumpkin.
Now we need to mount the leaves onto wire for the “stems”. I chose a 19 gauge black wire for this. The stems with leaves will be inserted into the very top of the stem on your pumpkin, so with that in mind, cut a section of wire that looks like it will be long enough as to where you want the leaf to droop down over your pumpkin and then before you cut add 3″s to your length of wire and then cut. You’ll need extra for sticking down into the pumpkin and a couple of inches for mounting the leaf. Above is a pic showing some double sided tape with the paper side up and two pieces of black cardstock cut about 2″ x 1″ with the ends round off. Trace the black paper onto the tape and then cut the tape out. Peel off one side and stick to the black paper.
Now peel off the other side and press that sticky side onto the back of the leaf with the wire sandwiched in between. Rub it down firmly with your finger making sure you get a good bond.
You’re ready to put your leaves into the pumpkin. Using an awl or a tool with a round thin point, poke a 1/4″ hole into the top of the pumpkin stem. Insert the leaf wire into this hole and then using a pair of needle-nose pliers push it on in another 1/4″ until it feels firm. Continue to insert all the leaves you plan on using. I pictured four leaves above but I was only going to use three originally, but this pumpkin is so darn big I realized I would need all four, but for me, I like odd numbers for my embellishments, it just looks more balanced, so I made one more leaf for a total of five for my big guy!
The leaves are fairly bendable and adjustable and you can always pull them back out and cut off more wire if you find you want them lower. Once those are pretty much where they should be, it’s time to add some curly vines. I like to use two different weights of wire for these: 19 gauge and 16 gauge.
Cut a 12″ piece and then start wrapping it around a wood dowel, leaving a straight section at the base which you will be inserting into the pumpkin stem. Just slide the wire off the dowel once you’ve curled it, and then do a bit of creative bending, mimicking nature until the wire looks like a twining vine. Make some long ones, some shorter ones, and at least a few from each wire weight. On my first pumpkin I went fairly sparse on leaves and vines but on mongo here I knew he could take a lot more goodies on top and still balance it out with his ultra large body.
I finished with nineteen pieces of wire stuck in the top of the stem on this guy. It’s up to you at this point whether you feel the wire is firmly attached or not. If you want you can coat each tip with E6000 and reinsert each wire. But, FINALLY, this thing is ready for it’s final portrait!
I love the way the leaves and vines finish these pumpkins off. Wouldn’t this make an incredible centerpiece on your table or nestled in a garland of fall leaves on the mantle?
If you’re wondering about the green tint here, I like to take my final pics in natural light but didn’t realize just how much green I’ve got in my backyard – oh well. Oh, and before I forget – remember back at the beginning when we took the light off, now you can reattach it and if your’s is electric and you would like it to light up but don’t want to deal with a cord then leave off the cord/light setup and find one of those LED lights (that’s what I used in the third photo up) that will fit nicely into the base of your pumpkin. Please, do not use a candle or any type of open flame inside a synthetic pumpkin – disaster!
Well, this was a long post but I hope you found it worth following along. I’ve got a mosaic project coming up next – till then Craft On!