Thursday, October 4, 2012

mix and match pumpkin faces

norah had been asking to paint for the past couple of days so i thought of a simple (ha) painting project she could do that could also serve as halloween decor. two birds with one stone, right? this was a 3 part project that took two days to complete. in hindsight, i could have made it much less complicated but it's ok. it's done, and now i know for next time!

my way:
- cut out pumpkin shapes from white construction paper
- have norah paint the pumpkins orange (and help her cover the whole paper)
- place each pumpkin on a 2nd sheet of construction paper (first sheet got extremely flimsy from the weight of the paint)
- set pumpkins aside
- cut out mouths and eyes* from black construction paper
- guide** norah in placing a mouth and two eyes on each pumpkin (while orange paint was still wet! acts as glue)
- let them dry overnight
- glue each pumpkin down to it's respective 2nd sheet of paper (if it didn't already stick together from the paint)
- place pumpkins under something heavy (i used several books) in order to flatten the pages
- after an hour or so cut out the pumpkin shape from the 2nd piece of paper. you should have a pumpkin face on 2 layers of paper at this point.
- hang and enjoy!

a better way:
- cut out pumpkin shapes from orange construction paper
- glue to 2nd sheet of paper for stability
- have norah paint the pumpkins orange (they are already orange. no need to make sure she paints the entire thing)
- set pumpkins aside
- cut out mouths and eyes* from black construction paper
- guide** norah in placing a mouth and two eyes on each pumpkin (while paint is still wet)
- dry overnight
- in the morning, IF the paper has curled, place under a heavy book other heavy object for an hour or so to flatten.
- cut out original pumpkin shape (2 layers of paper)
- hang and enjoy!

the 2nd way eliminates having to take extra time to help the child paint by starting out with an orange pumpkin. for an older child, i would probably still use white but norah just paints in circles in the same spot over and over. she doesn't understand the concepts of "spread the paint around" and "cover all the white" yet. an older child would have better success with this. the 2nd way also eliminates having to re-glue the 1st pumpkin layer down to the 2nd paper.

*i cut out four different shapes of mouth, two of each shape. the eyes were squares, rectangles, or triangles leftover from the "teeth" cutouts. i wanted to let her mix and match as she pleased to make her own faces. 
**by "guiding" i mean i told her which shape to pick up, and then i pointed to where on the face she should put it. sometimes she did, sometimes she put it somewhere else. some of her faces look like faces, and some of them look like....lopsided faces. the important part is to remember that art at this age is NOT about the product! it's about the PROCESS! who cares if it looks terrible!

we hung some of our pumpkins on the front door and some in the windows on the porch. norah has been staring at them a lot saying "hi pumpkins! hi pumpkins!" over and over. success!


  1. Such a cute idea. I love them hanging in the windows.

  2. Great! But, please, tell me - how it can be that your gorgeous daughter's not eating a paint? Or pieces of paper? I really try to paint with my daughter or just draw but I can still forget about it - she want to taste everything :)

    1. well, she used to try and eat paint but she's since stopped. i'm not sure what changed! we do paint and other craft projects A LOT so maybe it finally clicked that paint and paper do not equal food? i'm very vigilant as well while we're working with paint and glue and such so if she DOES make an attempt i'm right there with a big "NO!"

      don't get discouraged if your little one tries to eat her artwork still - maybe try an edible finger paint to start just in case she tries? i've made my own using cornstarch and water with some food coloring. there's tons of recipes for 'edible' art supplies (edible meaning safe to eat - not necessarily tasty ;)

      good luck!

  3. Great idea and looks fantastic also! Oh how I wish we celebrated Halloween!

    Holli xo

    1. do you mind me asking why you don't? is it for religious reasons? just curious! as a child my husband didn't celebrate halloween either because he "wasn't allowed" (that's his explanation hehe).