So, you want some of those BEAUTIFUL plush velvet pumpkins with the ‘80s shoulders’, but just can’t fathom the price for your everyday fall decor? Well, sweet friends, today I’m going to share how to diy velvet pumpkins just like the pros, for less than $5 each!
Last year about this time, while visiting all my fave blogs, I came across a blog hop (just like I did this year) that took my breath away! I sat and stared at the screen of Stonegable’s blog, then hopped to Shabbyfufu’s blog and stared again, and then hopped to Thistlewood Farm’s blog and stared some more.
What I saw was VELVET PUMPKINS, people!!!
I’m talkin’ PLUSH VELVET PUMPKINS!!!
And not just any old velvet pumpkins… these had shoulders!
Shoulders like the women wore in the ’80s!
Are you with me on this? Well, read on!
Those luxurious, soft, intense-colored gourds with real pumpkin stems had me hooked! So, what do you think my next step was? Absolutely! I clicked the link on those blogs that transported me to where I could purchase those lovely fall decorations that had sweet little bumps and bulges that, unlike my similar “shape”, looked GREAT in velvet! And… my heart jumped.
And not just because there were more colors, sizes, and styles than I could ever imagine… Nope.
My heart jumped because this girl couldn’t justify the cost of those silk-velvet pumpkins for my everyday fall decor!
For an investment heirloom, totally! Handing these lovely pumpkins down to my children and my children’s children… I could totally understand that!
But for everyday fall decor… something quick and pretty? Hmmm.
So, what do you think I did next? Yep, I started figuring out how to DIY velvet pumpkins just like the pros, shoulders and all (yeah, I’m not using ‘bumps and bulges’ again in this post!) And I’m gonna show you how to make them!
DIY VELVET PUMPKINS JUST LIKE THE PROS!
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For more information, see my complete disclosure HERE.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Stretch Velvet Fabric from New Fabrics Daily or Stretch Velvet fabric from Amazon
- Heavy duty thread (don’t use the embroidery thread, as pictured… do as I say, not as I did… you’ll thank me! LOL!)
- Large needle with large eye
- Dry Polyester Packing Fiber Fill (the kinds that ‘stays put’)
- Shredded Memory Foam
- Rice/Small beans
- REAL Pumpkin Stems (I purchased mine on Etsy from several different shops. Just search for ‘pumpkin stems’, and start saving your pumpkin stems from this year’s real pumpkins to use on next year’s velvet!)
- Glue Gun with Gorilla Glue glue sticks (the best glue sticks around!)
- Funnel (optional for filling rice)
- “Patterns”; a variety of round, objects, i.e. dinner plate, bowl, etc. (different sizes)
- About an hour of your time, because YOU won’t hit any bumps in the road. I did that for you!)
THE BEST, MOST AFFORDABLE FABRIC…
So the first thing that I did to prepare to make my diy velvet pumpkins was to find an affordable fabric that would be light weight and have the quality to compete with the pros (the pros use silk velvet, and that’s not in this girl’s price range, either)! I found New Fabrics Daily, however, I also found an alternative fabric on Amazon! *cue angels singing*…
Not only does New Fabrics Daily offer a HUGE selection of weaves and colors of velvet, they offer all KINDS of fabrics for the crafter, home designer, and seamstress, all at FANTASTIC prices!
My Choice of Velvet
To go with My Wee Abode’s coastal/pastel fall palette, I decided to use polyester spandex velvet (AKA stretch velvet) in Light Coral, Aqua, and Ivory (Natural is shown in pic.. not available at this time). However, you can choose ANY colors of fabric to create your own designer look (think warm oranges/greens/golds, or classic blues/whites/orange… there’s no end to the combinations)!
Not only is the price at New Fabrics Daily super affordable, but the color selection is also unbeatable! When you receive your fabric at your door, you will do a happy dance! (I sure did!) The weight and the feel of the velvet is perfect for these diy velvet pumpkins!
Prepping Your Fabric
- Using one of your ‘patterns’, draw a circle on the back-side of the fabric, and cut it out (regular sewing scissors worked great for me… this velvet doesn’t fray/shed like many others)
- Thread your needle and tie a large knot at the end of your heavy-duty thread. Using the heavy-duty thread eliminates the need to double the thread… you can use a single strand.
- Gather-stitch (Glenda, is that the correct stitch name?) around the edge of your pumpkin, about ½- 1 inch in from the edge of the material (again, do as I say, not as I did in the photo). The stitches should be fairly even, and anywhere from ¼” to ½” wide/apart. (I used a smaller stitch for the small pumpkins, and larger… well, you get the idea!) UPDATE: Glenda said it can also be called a basting stitch 😉
As you’re stitching, you can pull the thread through, creating a gather. (The picture shows my fabric being flat, simply for tutorial purposes.)
Stuffing Your Fabric
- Fill the bottom of your pumpkin with rice… for the small ones, I use about 4 tablespoons, medium I use ½ cup, and large I use a cup of rice, give-or-take. This will give your pumpkins some nice weight at the bottom, so they don’t go rolling away.
Here’s where the tricks come in for creating those ’80s shoulders! 😉
- Make sure to ‘overstuff’ your pumpkin. Now, I don’t mean to make the seams burst open, but I do mean that, when you think you’ve used enough stuffing, add some more! Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!
- Most definitely use the Dry Polyester Packing Fiber Fill. This is denser than the regular fiber fill you find in most cheap pillows. This stuff ‘stays put’ and doesn’t sag. Saggy gourds are a no-no!
- Not only use the fiber fill, but also use the shredded memory foam WRAPPED INSIDE the fiber fill….
- For the center of your pumpkin, layout your fiber fill, place a handful of memory foam in the middle, and then wrap the fiber fill around the foam. This doesn’t have to be perfect, just do your best. Using both products gives added weight to the pumpkins and helps it keep its shape. Remember, over-stuff… you can always add more fiber fill to the pumpkin to make it fuller.
- Now for the shoulders! Take a handful of fiber fill and wrap it around about ¼ of a handful of foam (adjust this amount for the size of pumpkin and size of shoulders you want… I liked to vary the size of mine). Stuff these where you would like your shoulders to shrug (hehe!). Then ‘scoop’ and push them up into the pleats of the pumpkin. Be sure not to let the thread go too loose during this process, as you want to be able to see the results as you go.
Sorry… I was so busy getting this step right, I forgot to take photos. If anyone would like to see how this is done, email or comment, and I’ll update the post!
Closing Your Pumpkin
When you have the look you desire, close up the center with the thread.
- First make a cross, taking your needle and starting where there is no shoulder, and then going to the opposite side where there is no shoulder, then go over to the other side and do the same. Then secure the rest of the opening.
- Hint: Take your threaded needle and go in through the top of the material, then go under a different completed stitch. This will pull the material down into the pumpkin, making a nice center for the stem.
- Be sure to finish off with a very secure knot or finishing stitch.
Adding the REAL Pumpkin Stem
We are almost done! Just like the professional pumpkin designers, adding a real pumpkin stem to your plush velvet pumpkin will add an elegant, yet rustic touch to the pumpkin. As mentioned in the supply list, I purchased mine from several Etsy stores, and each stem cost about $1.50-2.00 (the most expensive part of this project). However, this year I have purchased several real mini pumpkins with beautiful stems that cost me less than $1.50 each. I’m going to dry these after my pumpkins ‘pass-away’, and I’ll have them for next year (and no shipping cost from Etsy!)
- Take your Gorilla Glue stick (my fave… they are the best!) and hot glue gun and apply an even, and generous, layer of glue to the bottom of the stem, then firmly push (yes, push) it onto the closure of the pumpkin.
- Hint: Before gluing, be sure to see where the stem will look best, and cover best, on the pumpkin. If you don’t, you may have a stem that looks like it’s falling off the pumpkin. And no one wants a gourd that looks like the stem is rotting off! (I crack myself up!)
Stand Back and Admire YOUR DIY Velvet Pumpkins Just Like the Pros!
Look at that plushness… those shoulders… that real pumpkin stem!
BTW…Even though the fiber fill is meant to ‘stay put’, you can still “plump-and-fluff” your pumpkins after they are finished. This was my first large pumpkin, and it came out a bit ‘oval’, so I just squished it around and formed it to make it a bit more round.
One more tip… This is the point where you can add embellishments to your pumpkins! Think fluffy feathers, crystals, etc.
INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DIY VELVET PUMPKINS
And here are some photos that might give you some ideas how to use YOUR velvet pumpkins!
You can add a pretty Free Fall Printable to your home by visiting my Printables Library HERE!
Using a cake stand and some eucalyptus branches adds a fall touch that is light and airy!
Sweet shoulders, and I added a couple real pumpkins, too! (Yes, that white one on the left is REAL!)
My cutie-patootie Mod Podge Coastal Style Pumpkins joined their posh velvet cousins in My Wee Abode!
Lots of ‘shrugging’ going on!
Oh, and did you notice? THIS little aqua pumpkin doesn’t have a real stem. My order of small pumpkin stems didn’t arrive in time, so I took a quick run to Hobby Lobby, bought some faux floral pumpkin picks, and snatched off their resin stems for a couple of my mini velvet gourds! Works for me in a pinch, and maybe for you, too!
I added some coastal elements to this centerpiece, just because… well, I love the coastal look! I think this little open ‘pod’ is just beautiful, don’t you?
And one more ‘shoulder shot’ for this styling!
And now for a bit more coastal/farmhouse style using a tobacco basket (that I picked up for $1.90 on clearance at Hobby Lobby!) and a vintage white window pane in the background.
I love how the decoupaged pumpkins coordinate with the diy plush pumpkins.
Now these are some shoulder pads that any woman from the ’80s would have been proud to wear!
Love that sand covered stem! (And another incoming resin pumpkin stem on the right! 😉 )
More coastal vibe with a pod and fishnet.
And lots of lovely diy velvet pumpkins just like the pros, for the last photo!
BTW, my DIY Velvet Pumpkins cost a total of about $4.00 each… and that’s probably over-estimating! No heart jumping here, right?
One last fall decor item you might want to add to your home… these Fall Pillow Covers are super affordable!
I’d love to hear what you think about these pumpkins… and the tutorial! Any questions? Feel free to email me or leave them in the comments below!