Thursday, September 20, 2012

Antique Wooden Pumpkins

I think I mentioned that we're finishing our basement right now.  Home improvement projects = lots of wood scraps for art projects!  I saw an idea for wooden pumpkins that I thought would look great on our front porch.  I also wanted to antique them so they'd look more rustic.  I have to be honest - this project took some time to finish.  Despite Tim's comment ("They do kind of look like pumpkins."), I am really happy with how they turned out.

Here's what I used to make the pumpkins:
- 3 pieces of 1" x 4" wood cut to 12" long (See Note 1 below)
- 3 pieces of 1" x 4" wood cut to 18" long (See Note 1 below)
- 4 pieces of 1" x 4" wood cut to 22" long (See Note 1 below)
- 3 bases for the pumpkins cut from 2' x 2' plywood
- 3 stems for the pumpkins cut from 1" x 1" wood
- Wood sanding pad (80 - 120 grit will do)
- Orange spray paint
- Clear Enamel - High Gloss Finish spray paint (See Note 2 below)
- Brushed Metallic Satin spray paint
- 2 Paint stripping pads (you want something VERY gritty that will strip paint, not sand)
- Brown, Black and Off-white Acrylic paint (used for aging)
- Rags and sponge brushes
- Wood glue
- Metal plate fasteners
- Screws
- Burlap, fall leaves and decorations for the pumpkins

Here's how you make your antique wooden pumpkins:
1.  Cut your wood pieces.  I don't have a saw so I headed to Lowes to have my pieces cut then I sanded down the cut edges with an 80 grit wood sanding pad.

2.  Spray paint your 1 x 4 wood pieces orange.

3.  Spray paint your bases and stems Brushed Metallic.

4.  To antique the 1" x 4" wood pieces, let the orange paint dry fully and then spray them with the Clear Glossy Enamel paint.  I just covered the fronts and sides of the wood with the Clear Glossy Enamel since I wasn't concerned with antiquing the back sides of the pumpkins.  Also, see Note 2 below.

5.  When the 1" x 4" wood pieces have dried, generously sand/strip the boards using a very gritty paint stripping pad.  Concentrate on the high parts as well as the edges and corners.  The more paint you strip, the older the boards will look.

6.  Now it's time to apply the aging coat of paint.  I mixed a brown acrylic paint with a bit of white acrylic and a tiny bit of black acrylic paint.  Then I watered it down until it looked like brownish water.  I tried out the mixture on the side of one of my boards to make sure I liked the concentration.  Also, as the mixture dries, it will lighten a bit.

7.  Quickly apply the mixture with a sponge brush to all the sanded areas. As soon as it is applied, wipe off the paint with a rag. The longer you let the mixture stay on the wood, the darker it will stain it. I did one board at a time, so as to not let the mixture set too long.  This dyes the raw wood with a brownish color and puts a slight darker shade over the orange painted areas.

8.  After the aging paint dries, turn your boards so the backs are facing up and use your wood glue to hold the sides of the boards together.  I felt like I needed a stronger hold so I also drilled metal plates to the back of the boards.  The longer boards needed more plates.

9.  Drill the bases to the bottoms of the boards, then flip them right side up and hot glue the stems to the tops of the pumpkins.  Now you can decorate your pumpkins!

10.  I hot glue gunned fall leaves to the base of the pumpkins and wrapped fall stems in burlap.

1 - Rough cut lumber is easier to antique and is sold at Lowes and Home Depot.  I used what I had available, which was not rough cut, and was still able to antique it.
2 - I'm not sure how necessary this step is.  The clear coat is supposed to seal the paint from soaking up the aging paint that you apply later, but it seemed to me like I stripped all of the clear enamel off my wood.

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Becky R said...

look at you doing woodwork! that is so cool! I like the look and that the pumpkins are somewhat abstracted by the blockiness, but then you spy the stem on top and you get that, "Oh I see!" moment. Since you have the spray paint, I saw this fun craft that I tried that's really fun! Get a cheap frame from Goodwill. Remove the picture and paint the frame black. Get some multisurface paint (including some glow in the dark paint from the Martha Stewart line) and paint the glass. I copied an owl template with the owl sitting on a branch with a moon behind him. The whole thing is black except for the owl's eyes and the mooon which glow in the dark...such a cool Halloween craft! I'm also doing a witch's silhouette and a calavera skull! So much fun!

Cathy said...

Well Rebecca, it's not a giant bed, but i think it's a respectable first attempt at "woodwork". we'll see where this leads me....

I like your Halloween idea! Keep 'em coming!

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