Sunday, October 16, 2011

Simple Pumpkin Containers

       I finally finished a few pumpkins containers to use as gifts for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. I also have a few new friends who have been so sweet to me this year, and I hope to surprise them. I wanted to share this simple project with you. I have been making these for so long that I have no idea where I first discovered the idea.
I do know one thing for sure it was in the age of B.I. Before Internet!Like my grandson and niece would explain, it was a time of great darkness......... when men and women had only books, magazines,and libraries. We often had to live through great suffering, like snail mail and land line phone calls. Before the light of the great and powerful internet fell across our lands.
Shoot it was even before cable TV and microwaves! You now know that I have been crafting for a very long time!!

Originally they were made much larger with coffee cans. That was the challenge for me because the coffee I buy comes in a bag, not a can. I could be mistaken but I don't think coffee cans are as easy to come by as they use to be.
I knew I wanted to make several so empty washed vegetable cans would have to work. You can make themas small or as large as you want,it is determined by the size of the can you choose.
Here are the items you will need: Clean empty can, cotton fabric, polyfil, felt, a plastic container lid, low temp glue gun,needle and thread.
  Each pumpkin needs two colors of contrasting fabric. One for the pumpkin and one for the top/lid. It can be any color and any design you want. A cotton calico works best but I have used wool and tweed from old coats before. The thinner the fabric the easier it is to gather up around the top and secure to the can.

Now at this point the size of the can you have chosen will determine the size of the circle to cut. You will have to lay it out and eye ball it. I have used a piece of old fabric before if you feel uncertain about this part. Just remember to allow plenty of room to add the polyfil stuffing to the inside of your circle.
I used a 12" dinner plate and then added a few more inches making it approximately a 15" circle.

Now take your needle and thread and make a gathering stitch around the edge of your fabric. You can either do this by hand or on a sewing machine.

Begin gathering the fabric up around the can and add the stuffing to fill the area inside between the can and the fabric.But do not add any to the bottom of the circle. You want your pumpkin container to be able to sit flat without tipping over.
Once you have your fabric gathered up evenly secure it around the outside edge of the can using a hot glue gun.

Now you want to take your felt and cut a approx. 2" or 3" strip to glue over the whole edge of the container. Be sure and glue it to the inside and outside of the pumpkin container.This protects you from any sharp edges of the can and gives the container a much smoother and more finished look.

Now you are ready to make the top to your pumpkin. I save left over containers so this was easy I just searched through my stash until I found a lid that is the size I want my top to be. I like a little over hang of the plastic lid to allow it to sit well on the top of the pumpkin. You can also use a firm piece of cardboard or a wooden circle for your lid. Improvise if necessary and use what you have for this step. It's going to be covered with fabric so as long as it's sturdy and won't bend most anything will work.
Under side of the container lid.

 Cut a circle from the contrasting fabric large enough to cover the top of the lid as well as the inside edge of the lid. This keeps any raw edges from showing.Be sure and glue the fabric down to the top of the lid, allowing the stem to be fastened down securely later. Since I am using a low temp glue gun it will not melt the plastic. Cut from your contrasting fabric 5 or 6 triangles to glue to the inside,allowing them to hang down over the container. The size of these triangles are completely up to you. It isn't necessary to add them at all, it's completely up to you. Add a circle of felt to the inside of the lid,either before or after you add the triangles.
Then to finish it off you will need a handle or stem for the top of the lid. I have used actual dried pumpkin or squash stems before. I have used small wooden thread spools. I have also used vintage wooden knobs before. Be as simple or as creative as you want at this point.

Since I am a felt artist I cut a simple 5" tapered shape and stitched the sides together. Then I added two more seams to the piece giving it more of a stem look. I stuffed the piece with polyfil and hand stitched a square of felt to the top to close it. I bent the stem over and stitched down to the side to give it a natural curved look. I added a few jagged cut pieces of felt and glued those down first before I glued the stem handle down.

Now at this point you can choose to line the inside of the can. I usually just add a plastic bag and fill it with some Halloween candy or nuts. You could put just about anything inside and present it as a gift. I have even added a felt jack-o-lantern face on the front before. Just be creative and have fun!

One container has made it to it's destination and two more are going in the mail tomorrow. Gifts for some very special ladies!!


  1. Very clever, Rebecca - and such a great fall decoration! Hope your week is wonderful - Tanya

  2. Hi Rebecca...this is an absolutely adorable way to make a decorative pumpkin...thanks for showing the how to...easy to follow. I think I'll do some in different sizes to decorate the tiny "front porch" of my apartment for Halloween and Thanksgiving next year!

  3. Amazingly creative! Love it..such a beautiful, and functional, touch of fall color!

  4. YAY!!!! I was WONDERING how you made those!! I feel so luck to BE one of the recipients & I'm crazy about my pumpkin! Now I'm going to MAKE some! What a sweetheart you are to give us the tutorial. You are a good teacher, Rebecca. When MY pea-sized brain actually understands instructions, I KNOW the teacher is awesome! THANK YOU! By the way, my lovely pumpkin is proudly displayed in my livingroom!