You’ll love this easy pumpkin craft for your DIY fall décor. Use scraps of drop cloths (or similar fabric) and real twigs to create these DIY Drop Cloth Pumpkins!
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Even though I’m not quiiiiite ready to let go of summer at the time of writing this post, there is something so cozy and inviting about fall home décor that always draws me in.
This year, I’m making DIY pumpkins galore. I’m eager to share each tutorial and idea I’ve crafted so far and today I’m sharing an easy way to make your own DIY pumpkins from drop cloth scraps.
I’m all about easy and relaxing crafts and this simple pumpkin craft is a winner for sure.
Want more pumpkin ideas? Check out my list of 15+ DIY Pumpkin Craft Ideas. If you want to make the ticking stripe pumpkins as shown in the basket, see how I modified this tutorial in my Ticking Stripe Pumpkin post.
Supplies You Need for Drop Cloth Pumpkins
Drop Cloth Scraps
If you have previously bleached drop cloths using my tutorial, your scraps work great for this project. Otherwise, any kind of drop cloth scraps will work.
Regardless of the drop cloth fabric you have on hand, I do highly suggest washing your drop cloth on hot and drying on medium or high to make sure the fabric is completely softened and pre-shrunk. It’s much easier to sew when the fabric is already softened!
For 100% drop cloths you can bleach to be a soft white, I use the Chicago Canvas drop cloths sold on Amazon. Otherwise, I love the soft beige drop cloths you can find at Home Depot (other home improvement stores usually have similar ones).
You can also try using other fabrics you might have around your home. Linen, old flannel shirts, even old blankets (tightly woven fabric is ideal). A great time to reuse and recycle!
Sewing Needle and Thread or Sewing Machine
You’ll cut a rectangle of fabric/drop cloth and then sew a seam down the middle to make a tube. This can be done by hand or with a sewing machine if you have one.
You’ll use a needle and thread for gathering the pumpkin top and bottom.
You’ll need poly-fil to stuff your pumpkins. Polyester Fiberfill compacts as you stuff it so have more on hand than you’ll think you’ll need. If you are buying a new bag, a 12 oz bag is a size commonly available at craft stores and that amount will be more than enough. I used a few handfuls per pumpkin.
3″ or 4″ Doll Needle and Crochet Thread
You’ll need a long and thin (about 3″) doll needle and crochet thread or a similar thread (like thin sturdy yarn) to make the segments of the pumpkin.
So long as you can get your yarn and needle through the center of the pumpkin to create the stitching for the grooves you can really use anything you want. This is a great time to be creative with contrast stitching if you like.
What Size Are the Pumpkins?
With the dimensions I provide in the tutorial (a 16″x8″ rectangle of fabric) you end up with a pumpkin that is about 4.5-5″ in diameter. You can absolutely make these pumpkins larger/smaller/taller/wider–whatever you prefer.
In fact, it would be fun to choose two or three different sizes of fabric to try and then make a few pumpkins in each size for a larger pumpkin display.
However, bear in mind that larger pumpkins will require more fiberfill and could require a longer doll needle to make segments. As for smaller pumpkins, creating the stems could get a little tricky with the smaller amount of fabric to work with, so just bear that in mind as you experiment!
How Should I Use the Drop Cloth Pumpkins?
I love adding just a touch of seasonal décor to my home and these pumpkins are great for that. You can make a few and add them to a coffee table, on a bookshelf, or on a floating shelf.
You could make lots and fill a large basket with them or make smaller displays across your home. I like using a wire or woven basket as a vessel to display mine.
If you enjoy fall farmhouse décor, these pumpkins will fit right in. You could certainly incorporate them in many design aesthetics though!
How to Make DIY Drop Cloth Pumpkins
Ready for the step-by-step instructions? Let’s go!
1 – Make a Tube
First, cut a rectangle of drop cloth fabric 16″ long by 8″ wide. This is a super low-key project so if things are a little bigger/smaller/crooked, you’ll really be just fine.
Fold the fabric in half wrong sides together and stitch a 1/2″ seam down the open end. Use your sewing machine or a needle and thread if you don’t have a sewing machine.
2 – Create the Base
Now we need to gather the bottom of the pumpkin together. On the bottom edge, measure 1.5″ from the opening all the way around the tube we created. You can mark this line or just eyeball it.
Thread a needle with a doubled & knotted thread and sew a gathering stitch (just a medium-long length running stitch) all the way around the opening at the 1.5″ line. Note that you are just sewing through one layer of fabric all the way around the tube.
After you sew all the way around gently push the fabric and pull your thread to gather the pumpkin. Be careful not to pull too hard on your thread and snap it–drop cloth fabric is thick! Pushing the fabric gently works best.
You won’t be able to completely tighten the gathers because of the thickness of the fabric. Instead, just gently gather as snug as you can (the generous seam allowance means the edges won’t peek through).
Once the gathers are done it helps before the next step to take a couple “catch stitches”. These are just tiny whip stitches to secure your gathers for a moment. You can place these in the excess fabric of the gathered area.
Once you can’t get the gathers any tighter and you’ve added a few catch stitches, take your thread and wrap it snugly around the whole gathered section three times. Then, knot your thread securely, pass the end of the thread out of the pumpkin, and trim.
Turn right side out.
3 – Stuff the Pumpkin
Using polyester fiberfill, stuff and pack the pumpkin until it feels full (you can use more or less filling depending on the final look you want). Leave about 1.5″ of fabric all the way around the opening so you have enough fabric for the gathers on top.
4 – Close the Top
Thread your needle with another doubled & knotted length of thread. On the right side, stitch a gathering stitch all the way around that 1.5″ line. Gently push the fabric and pull your thread to gather the top of the pumpkin together.
Before the fabric is completely gathered, use your fingers to push the seam allowance into the center of the pumpkin, hiding all the raw edges. Complete the gathering as snug as you can.
As before, take a few catch stitches to secure your thread and then knot it off securely. Pass the end of the thread out of the pumpkin, and trim.
5 – Pumpkin Grooves
Use about 4 feet (single length) of crochet thread (or thin strong yarn) threaded through a 3″ doll needle. Knot the thread securely and pass through the bottom of the pumpkin to hide the knot.
You’ll have to catch the knot in the gathers that are tucked inside the pumpkin so that it doesn’t pull out as you continue to sew.
Bring your doll needle up the center of the pumpkin to the where the seam of the pumpkin is (where we originally sewed the fabric to make a tube). Now wrap the thread down over that seam and bring the needle back up again through the base of the pumpkin.
Note: I have you sew your first “groove” into the seam of the pumpkin to hide it in the finished pumpkin.
We’re essentially just doing a giant whipstitch around the pumpkin to make the grooves. Continue moving your needle up through the center of the pumpkin, down over and around the side of pumpkin, and up again, until you’ve made as many “grooves” as you like. Pull the thread a bit tighter than you want after each groove since it will loosen a bit as you go.
To keep the thread from loosening you can take some hidden catch stitches tucked in the base of the pumpkin or the top to secure your thread after each groove. Also be careful not to pull too tightly and break the thread.
Once you’ve made all of your grooves, knot your thread in an inconspicuous spot (deep in the gathers is great) and pass the needle (with the thread still in it) through the pumpkin to tuck in the knot. Trim thread.
Make the Stem
For the stem, we’re just going to keep it simple and rustic and use some twigs from the yard. The best twigs are ones that have been on the ground a long time and are dry and snap easily.
Snap a few inches off a larger stick or twig and stick it right into the center of the pumpkin. If you want it to be a little more secure, you can add some hot glue to the bottom before you insert it and then around the base once it’s in the pumpkin.
I found that mine stayed pretty well stuck inside so I just left them!
And that’s all there is to it. I hope you enjoy finding a fun use for all those drop cloth scraps with these easy drop pumpkins!