DIY Marbled Pumpkins

Our Home, Fall 2014 | DIY Gold Painted Leaves & Nail Polish Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

Hope you had a relaxing (or productive), happy weekend! I wanted to share an art project that Liv and I tackled two weekends ago (I mentioned it during our little fall home tour) that included marbling a handful of mini pumpkins.

I’ve been inspired by several tutorials I’ve seen online (including this one that led to a ridiculous purchase of little bottles of nail polish that I might not otherwise own) for marbling beautiful paper and even ceramics. Marbling – I kind of recall an art project in grade school that included marbled note cards (or was that spin art, do you remember that?) and from what I remember it was messy and tedious.

But seeing this online inspiration (and with just warm water + nail polish to create an insta-marbled effect!), the wheels started turning… what if I marbled pumpkins instead of paper? A neat twist on fall decor?

Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

Too tempting and pretty to not give it a go… plus Liv and I have been filling our free weekend afternoons with mommy + daughter craft projects (while T naps) and I’m always looking for something that would make both of us happy. Side note: she really digs that time together, she asks all of the time if it’s ‘our craft afternoon’ yet and we’ve had probably a half dozen over this summer.

Materials: nail polish, miniature pumpkins (white will show your color choices best, though orange gave us a fun result too), toothpicks, a small plastic container (that can be thrown away) filled with luke warm water. You might consider plastic gloves for your hands because your fingertips will get really messy. I kept q tips, cotton balls and nail polish remover nearby.

Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

Liv and I tried out two techniques. First we poured the nail polish (you’ll find out quickly that less is more) directly into the water in swirly circles, and the second time we used toothpicks to move the nail polish around for even more exaggerated swirls and patterns.

Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

One of the key factors for this project is water temperature. If the water is too cold the nail polish becomes hard immediately. Likewise if too hot, the nail polish becomes almost unusable because it dissipates throughout the water and your swirls will disappear. Play with it a bit by using paper to experiment first. Bonus is that each time you dip a pumpkin (or paper, or anything else) you sort of get to start over!

For the pumpkins, I wanted the marbling to cover the top and a good portion of the sides, so Liv and I took turns gently dipping/dropping an entire pumpkin face down into the marbled water. It sort of bobbed there for a moment (without me moving it at all) and then I retrieved it by placing my thumb on the stem (that’s upside down in the water) and my index or middle finger on the bottom of the pumpkin (creating a C with my hand but not touching the sides) to flip it over and let it dry. It dries almost immediately as the nail polish finishes hardening.

Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

It’s a neat process to watch over and over again because almost as soon as the pumpkin plops into the warm water, the nail polish gravitates towards it and coats it.

Here’s a look at when we used a toothpick to exaggerate the swirls:

Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

The nail polish takes only a little bit of time to dry and then they’re ready to go.

Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

If you don’t love how a certain pumpkin turned out, you could always re-marble him by adding another layer.

It’s not a super easy project with kids because there’s not a whole lot of interaction besides swirling the nail polish and dropping the pumpkins into the water. Liv was eventually a pro at making pretty marbled paint patterns in the water and she loved to experiment with how different colors turned out on the final pumpkins. I thought I would love a minty green and bright pink combo, for example, but those two colors ended up being my least favorite when our pumpkins had finished drying (we made maybe 8). The light pinks, peaches, golds and blushes, on the other hand, were great!

Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

It’s a fun alternative to painting pumpkins because the results are immediate (and drying is so fast). Would make cute little place cards for a Thanksgiving table or would be fun to mix into a bowl of plain pumpkins and gourds.

Our Home, Fall 2014 | DIY Gold Painted Leaves & Nail Polish Marbled Pumpkins | PepperDesignBlog.com

Happy Monday and happy craft time.

PS more fall-themed projects/posts here, and here’s a look at the fall decor popping up around our house these days (including those gold leaves above). PPS turns out we’re not actually supposed to capitalize seasons. I had to google that a few times, but it’s true.

An End-of-Summer Vacation in Maui (Part 1)

Maui Vacation | PepperDesignBlog.com

Very recently we were lucky enough to travel over to Maui with my family for some much needed R&R and for a family vacation.

Maui Vacation | PepperDesignBlog.com

The trip was awesome, the break from ‘the norm’, so needed, and the rest (well, as much as you can get with two littles) was sweet. I won’t overload your computer screen with vacation photos :), but if you want to hear about the start of our week (and see my favorite photos!), follow the jump….

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Decorating for Fall… a Few Golden Ideas

As you can imagine, decorating for fall this year in our home meant using up A LOT of gold paint :). On Monday I shared a few ideas on how we’re adding fall to our home. Today, a few of the projects that we tackled.

My favorite might be the gold tipped pine cones.

Our Home, Fall 2014 | DIY Gold Tipped Pine Cones | PepperDesignBlog.com

We found these pine cones on a recent hike about an hour from our house in Mount Laguna. I love that it’s easy to get out of the city here in San Diego and to explore nature at its finest after just a short car ride. I grew up with pine cones all over my backyard (and with plenty of places to build forts and search for little animals) so getting outdoors now that we have a more urban lifestyle is so key. It was Taylor’s idea to collect pine cones – almost every one that we passed on our hike she stopped to examine carefully, and if it weren’t for the pokey nature of these guys she would have attempted to carry armfuls home!

Decorating for Fall | Gold Tipped Pine Cones | PepperDesignBlog.com

We brought home maybe 8 or 9 and I left them outside for a week or so to make sure that any stray seeds or bugs found a new home (a reader suggested baking them at 250 for a bit – I’m going to try that next time!)

Decorating for Fall | Gold Tipped Pine Cones | PepperDesignBlog.com

Using gold spray paint, I carefully waved the can just above each pine cone so that it received a very light dousing. Just enough to cover the edges. Two years ago I lined up a similar set of pine cones in a cupcake tray and hand painted the tips – this was so much faster :-).

Decorating for Fall | Gold Tipped Pine Cones | PepperDesignBlog.com

My next spray painting victim was a stem of faux fall leaves.

 Our Home, Fall 2014 | DIY Gold Painted Leaves | PepperDesignBlog.com

I mentioned that I love natural decorations most (stuff we can find outside or purchase from a pumpkin patch, for example), but after trying a few different types of real fall leaf decorations in the past and experimenting with how to preserve them so that they did’t shrivel up just as we are getting into November, I decided to pick up a faux leaf stem and a bag of fake leaves from Michaels for spray painting. You can see their painting progress in the photo just above with the finished pine cones.

The newly gilded stem :):

Our Home, Fall 2014 | Mantel | PepperDesignBlog.com

Our Home, Fall 2014 | Mantel | PepperDesignBlog.com

The loose leaves:

Our Home, Fall 2014 | DIY Gold Painted Leaves | PepperDesignBlog.com

My last gold victim was a striped candle that found a new home on the mantel because he matched so nicely. I’ve had this guy around for a while in my office but he’s been so pretty to look at that I’ve yet to light him.

Our Home, Fall 2014 | DIY Gold Striped Candle | PepperDesignBlog.com

To create the stripe, I used painter’s tape (I recommend pressing down firmly along the edges) and gold acrylic paint that I applied with a brush. I recommend removing the painter’s tape shortly after applying the paint for the cleanest line.

Decorating for Fall | DIY Gold Striped Candle | PepperDesignBlog.com

Decorating for Fall | DIY Gold Striped Candle | PepperDesignBlog.com

These would be so pretty on a dining room table! A whole set? Gah. Or I love the idea of creating some as gifts this Christmas.

PS here’s that link again to the full fall tour at our casa. And just for fun, a few more gold ideas for you: gold ‘dipped’ pumpkins, gold pumpkin place cards  (with a sharpie) and a diy gold mercury glass.

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