Today, I’m sharing how I made the marble pumpkins included in the Gone Batty, Black and Purple Halloween Table centerpiece.
During the fall season, I am always impressed and intrigued by the wide variety of crafted or decorated pumpkins, shared both online and in magazines. Much of the inspiration comes from fellow blogger friends and link-up parties.
They can be carved or embellished real pumpkins, or faux gourds made of fabrics like velvet and flannel. Some are crocheted or knit from yarn. While others are weaved and twisted from twine or other materials
In years past, I’ve created several styles of my own faux pumpkins, using a variety of techniques. Like the marble pumpkins, they were crafted to incorporate in either Halloween, fall or Thanksgiving vignettes and centerpieces. Some did double-duty as table favors for dinner guests.
First, were Easy to Make Fall Decor: Sweater Pumpkins. They were made by recycling a favorite but worn sweater and socks. Later, DIY Eerie, Elegant Black Pumpkin Decor were embellished with everything from eyeballs, to lace to old rhinestone jewelry. Can you guess how and what I used as “paint” to marble pumpkins?
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Not Just for Painting Nails
Pictured above are the marble pumpkins I created for a recent Halloween centerpiece. For those not inclined to make their own, the five are being given away free to one lucky reader! (Winner update: Georgianne Brennan of Davenport, FL).
Did you already guess or know that the medium used to decorate the faux gourds was actually nail polish?
To tie in with my Halloween color scheme, I used a mixture of dark plum, lavender, metallic silver, black and orange nail polishes (Dollar Tree) to embellish white pumpkins.
How to Marble Pumpkins
Using nail polish as paint is not a creative concept or technique I originated. There are numerous easy-to-follow videos and illustrated articles available online. As usual, I reviewed a number of them, before tweaking the method to achieve the look and style I wanted.
Here’s an overview of how I marble pumpkins, with a few mistakes and tips discovered along the way.
In all, it cost me under $25 out-of-pocket for the materials to marble pumpkins. But, that includes another seven leftover mini pumpkins that I can use for other projects and decorations.
- Faux white pumpkins (Hobby Lobby & Amazon)
- Nail polish (Dollar Tree)
You’ll also need supplies you likely already have on hand: large plastic bowl, small plastic or paper cups, newspaper, paper towels, Q-tips, nail polish remover, toothpicks, and a pair of plastic gloves. I used tap water, but some directions recommend distilled water for best results.
Step 1: Gather Supplies Together
Before you begin to marble pumpkins, be sure to gather all the materials together in a well-ventilated area.
Fill a large clear bowl with water. Make sure the bowl is deep and wide enough to accommodate dipping your largest pumpkin. I picked up a serving bowl for $1 (Dollar Tree) to do the job.
Craft Trip: Make sure the water is at room temperature before you begin to marble pumpkins. If the water is cold, the nail polish will dry too fast. It will become clumpy when stirred, and before you’re ready to dip a pumpkin into the water.
While the water is coming to room temperature, remove any price tags from the faux pumpkins. Have nail polish remover, paper towels, and Q-tips nearby to catch any drips or remove clumps of nail polish. Also, set up an adjacent or nearby area for the wet marble pumpkins to dry.
Craft Tip: It’s probably best to stick to about three colors. Initially, I thought I’d use five. But, by the time I dripped all the nail polish colors onto the surface of the water, it was already sticking to the toothpick.
Step 2: Add Polish to Water & Swirl
Once everything is ready, vigorously shake each nail polish bottle and unscrew lids.
The next step was a little trickier than I expected. You don’t pour the polish into the water or it will sink to the bottom. For it to float on top, gently shake the nail polish brush very near the surface. If you try to drop polish from too far above, it will spread out too thin. Then, quickly move to the next color.
Craft Tip: Start by using a small or mini size gourd to get the hang of making marble pumpkins. You’ll need less polish and can move more quickly.
As soon as all the last polish color has been added to the water, use a toothpick to swirl the colors to get the marble effect. Work fast!
If the polish becomes clumpy, or you don’t like the arrangement of colors, just start over. Simply take a piece of paper towel and soak up the nail polish on the surface of the water. The towel acts as a magnet. You should also use a paper towel to pick up leftover polish between pumpkins.
Step 3: Dip, Roll & Rotate Pumpkin
Use the pumpkin stem as a handle to dip each gourd sideways into the water. Then quickly turn, rotate or roll the pumpkin through the floating polish. This technique helps to keep from getting most of colors on the bottom of the pumpkin.
One tutorial suggested actually dipping the pumpkin stem side down. But that covers the stem in polish, and it’s awkward to hold onto the pumpkin. No right or wrong, it just depends on the look you want.
I worked outside under the covered porch to marble pumpkins and then let them dry inside the garage with one door open for ventilation. Instead of drying the pumpkins on waxed paper, I elevated them on extra plastic cups I had in the pantry.
In the picture above, you can see the center pumpkin’s clumpy black polish. It was my first try. Happily, I was able to use a Q-tip to peel off much of the black clumps. After that, I stopped using the black. And, you might have noticed that the orange polish came out more yellow. Why, I’m not sure?
Sorry I don’t have any pictures of the actual process, but I had my hands full of nail polish and wet pumpkins!
Step 4: Repeat!
After the first session, only about half of the surface area of the mid to larger pumpkins were marbled. As I rolled and rotated them in the water, all the polish had been used up. So, I let the five dry completely overnight.
The following day, I repeated the process, to color the rest of each pumpkin.
Two sessions wasn’t what I had read or intended. However, I actually recommend it for anything larger than a mini-size gourd. Taking the time to repeat the process a second day, provides better control of the nail polish, marbling and pumpkin coverage.
Here’s another example of how doing a second dip enhanced the coloring on the pumpkin
Marble Pumpkin Centerpiece
For the Halloween centerpiece, I elevated each of the five marble pumpkins on one of two different size spider cupcake stands.
Surrounding the marble pumpkins centerpiece is a ring of purple deco mesh and tubing (Dollar Tree).
A candle glows in the center. While, weaved around the marble pumkins is a string of white mini lights.
For Halloween, I also clipped a glittery bat (Dollar Tree) onto each pumpkin stem.
What do you think?
I had so much fun, I made a second set of Crafted Marbleized Pumpkins Using Nail Polish in blue, silver and orange.
Come to the Table
I hope you’ll join me next week for the annual Halloween Tablescape Blog Hop. I’ll be sharing the Gone Batty Black and Purple Halloween Table and centerpiece made up of the marbled pumpkins.
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