My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #853: My Pumpkin "Die-O-Rama" (LOTS of Pictures!!!)

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 10-22-2012 12:08 PM 3584 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 852: Fun Project in the Works Part 853 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 854: Exchanges »

Well, yesterday I decided to take a day to do something that I really, really wanted to do and have FUN! We all need those days every now and then – even when you do something you love for a living. So many people tell me that they would never want to do woodworking or make things for a living because that would take the fun out of it for them.

I can see their point, but I just think that you need to find other creative ways to have fun with what you are doing. While many of you may think that this wasn’t really a day off, it really was for me because I was making this “Die-O-Rama” for no other reason than “because I wanted to.” And that made all the difference.

I have a million pictures to show you (actually 38!) so we will see if blogs have a limit and get right to it.

First things first. I wanted to drill the hole in the back of the pumpkin for the light while it was still solid. This way it would have less of a chance to crack later on and I would be able to see how deep I would have to work with and what the hollow inside would look like. I picked a forstner bit of the appropriate size and drilled.

DOH!! Even though I drilled about three inches deep, it was still solid (dense) foam! My heart sank! I felt like Geraldo!

So now I had to think. How the heck would I clean out that pumpkin without destroying it? I had a Dremel, and perhaps I would be able to do it that way. (After all, if Jordan could carve a war shirt from a block of wood, how bad could cleaning out a foam pumpkin be?)

I drew the line where I wanted to cut:

And I put a cutting wheel on the Dremel and got busy. I melted two wheels in the process, and needed to go down to a slower speed. You can see the melted wheel in the picture.

Once I cut around it, I found it very awkward to remove the piece. It wasn’t like a slice of cake, and it was wedged in there very sound. I decided to take a large serrated kitchen knife, as I had success in cutting foam with that before. I scored around the hole:

And then I had to really work to get that first piece out without cutting myself. I was finally successful, and began removing chunks at a time from the outer shell:

Once the first layer was removed, I was stuck. It wasn’t like scooping ice cream and that darn foam was really dense. I took the knife and began scoring the foam, but I could only go about half an inch deep. I then took a large spoon and had to dislodge the pieces one chunk at a time. It made a huge mess and I wound up sitting on the floor because the foam seemed to not travel as far down there. It also had static cling and was sticking to me all over (of course, I had black on!) and I just had to keep taking out little pieces at a time.

After nearly an hour, I hit something metal. (Now what??) It seemed there was a post of some sort that was probably used for casting. This complicated things more, as I needed to go around it and try not to move it so the bottom of the pumpkin would crack. Just at that moment, the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” came on and I began wondering if this project would ever be finished or was destine to fail. I was loaded with little pieces of foam clinging to me like barnacles on a ship and forged ahead.

I finally was able to scoop around it and pull it out without leaving any damage, except an additional small hole that would be covered anyway. After almost another hour, I reached a point that I thought was “enough” and figured I was done. My arm was killing me from scooping and thankfully, I didn’t cut myself.

I wanted to do a “happy dance”, but I had so many foam crumbs on me that it would have made things worse. I was so happy that Keith was out for the afternoon and not there to mock me. However, I looked up at Pancakes literally looking down on me and I figured that he had taken Keith’s place:

I got out the shop vac, cleaned everything up and I was ready to go. I finally (after almost two hours!) had my blank canvas to create with!

I decided to paint the inside of my pumpkin orange. Since it was going to be dark in there anyway, I though that the orange would look the most natural. The surface of the foam was rough as you can imagine and instead of futsing around with a paint brush, I decided to use a sponge to apply some nice bright orange acrylic enamel.

I felt the enamel would stick to the foam better and by applying it with a sponge, it went on really quickly.

That is a good trick to remember – if you are painting rough surfaces, the best way to go is by sponging the paint on. It fills all the cracks very easily and with little effort.

I was finally moving in the right direction! :)

My next step was to have a background. I wanted a simple silhouette of a haunted house that I could paint black so it would look like it was in the distance. I went online and found this picture on the Chinet (the paper plate company) site for free Halloween crafts. (YES – I was too lazy to draw one myself!)

The size was perfect as is, and I did bring it into illustrator to add a kind of base to it. I decided to make a circular frame around it so it would look like it was a silhouette against the moon. I then went to the scroll saw and cut it from 1/8” Birch.

It fit perfectly! I was getting my mojo back! :D

After painting it black, I decided to make it sparkle! (yes – Keith mocks me for making everything sparkle too! But he wasn’t here so I could sparkle all I wanted!)

I decided to pull out the ‘big guns’ of sparkle from DecoArt – the Craft Twinkles. These aren’t the subtle tiny crystals that I typically use, these are nice big chunks of sparkle!

I painted the house with black sparkles and the moon with orange. I think they looked amazing! :D

Now it was time to make the little coffin for my skeleton. I had found a bag of these rubber skeletons at the dollar store. I needed to fit him to a coffin and draw one up.

I cut the top and bottom of 1/8” birch on the scroll saw. And then I just cut strips for the sides. I used the heavy duty hot glue from the glue gun and did the “apply one side and sand” method to construct the coffin.

While I will win no awards for joinery, I think it came out pretty cool. The skeleton fit perfectly! :)

I thought the lid looked a little plain, so I went back to the saw and cut a cross in it.

Mr. Skeleton was ready to “rest in peace!”

My next mission was to go back to the woods and get some ‘trees’ and posts for the fence I was going to build. While that may sound simple, it took me a good 20 minutes to find the right fauna to work. But I finally found this branch that could resemble a little tree:

I had also found this fancy memory book paper at the dollar store that resembled ‘grass’. I used two layers of it for the floor of the pumpkin.

I then installed the haunted house over the grass:

I had some of the spider webby thingy from my regular Halloween tree and yoinked it off of that to give the tree a layer of ‘moss’:

I put in near the back side. It was at this point that I was thinking that a fence would be too much. There were still pumpkins and the cat and some skulls I found to add in, and the coffin took up a lot of real estate.

I added the coffin:

And here are the pumpkins and kitty after I finished painting them:

I didn’t take pictures of me painting them because I had a million already. They are really fun though and I think I am ordering up some clay today so I can make some fun things with that. (Sigh! another thing for me to do!)

I arranged the pumpkins and kitties, and I added in two skulls from a bracelet I found at the dollar store. I could have made them out of clay too I suppose, but there were ten or so on the bracelet for a dollar, so again, laziness won over and I just used them.

I had also found this candy at the dollar store the other night. It was in a coffin and was shaped like bones!

The inside was pretty full now, so I figured I was ‘done!’

I finished it off with this cool creepy spider that I found too. I thought it was the perfect.

So there you go!! All in it’s glory! I think the total time, including making the pumpkins and kitties was about seven hours. I had wanted to make a fence for the kitty to sit on, and use the skulls on the top of the fence posts, but there are plenty left for next year’s project. I am just glad that I got through this. With the rocky start and non-hollow pumpkin, I did have my doubt.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this being put together! I now have a wonderful piece to treasure and love for years to come! ;D

Have a wonderful Monday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

12 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3491 days

#1 posted 10-22-2012 12:58 PM

Sheila your pumpkin is great

Glad you had a fun day off.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3554 days

#2 posted 10-22-2012 12:59 PM

Thanks Jaime! It was really fun. Now it is a new challenge to make the kitties leave it alone! ;)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View ALB Workshop's profile

ALB Workshop

20 posts in 3559 days

#3 posted 10-22-2012 03:14 PM

realy nice.
thanks for sharing :)

-- my website

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 4160 days

#4 posted 10-22-2012 04:24 PM

awesome! i love this, such a fun project.

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 2707 days

#5 posted 10-22-2012 05:00 PM

This is awesome Sheila! Well worth the time spent. And the photos are great.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4614 days

#6 posted 10-22-2012 07:44 PM

You are VERY creative, Sheila.

Great job.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View littlecope's profile


3076 posts in 4136 days

#7 posted 10-22-2012 08:32 PM

Great Blog and Fun Stuff Sheila…
“Pancakes” look is priceless!!
Like, what the heck is she doing now? :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3749 days

#8 posted 10-22-2012 08:48 PM

thanks for the smile … its pure fun when a project has desided to spank us for
wanting to change the beauty of the raw material …...... :-)
not that there is any buty in foam ..
but I like the creativity you have used in this diorama
thanks for the reminder that brought me back on the memmorylane to when I
builded dioramas with scalemodels to our militair education of soldiers
everything can be used and was used to make them believeble and thruth to situations
sometimes we used 300-500 hours to make them from scratsch including reseach
the tedius work was when we made bricks ,burned them and builded walls for the
smouldering ruins .. :-)

the dentist apointment Silke had today went well with a suprice for
since there was 15 students from all over the world to look at her
while the proffessor explained them what and why Silke had to go thrugh
the treadment on the school and later under the knife ….. was she tired of it …. LOL
the proffessor did told me today that the apointment with the segeon two weeks from now
was only a before thing to deside how it should be done and when ..... the proffessor
calculated with in the spring … the window for it is queit open it doesn´t have to be on an excact day

the lion is ready for haloween … :-)

take care

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3554 days

#9 posted 10-22-2012 09:27 PM

Thank you all very much! :)

Dennis – I am happy that things went OK with Silke. I hope all goes well for her with her future visit. I am sure that not knowing when to expect things may be part of the anxiety. Thank you for the big smile today when sharing your photograph! I love it! I can see my ‘boys’ (Pancakes and Richard) in a smart looking Halloween costume like that. Just think of the looks I would be getting from them then!

I am happy you all like my little creation. It is certainly fun to play and make such a silly project.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3556 days

#10 posted 10-22-2012 11:01 PM

Hi Sheila,
This is the top class of diorama specially made for the Haloween. I love the combination of contrasting colors and the harmony of the skeleton motif design. The wonder of proportioning is the gift that you have in painting and design. Keep it going.
Have a nice day.

-- Bert

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 3554 days

#11 posted 10-23-2012 12:37 AM

Thanks so much, Bert! Halloween is one of my favorite seasons. I love the fall colors and I find it easy to come up with thoughts for lots of projects. I could have made several different versions of this. Maybe next year I will make another one with a slightly different theme. I appreciate your nice comments.


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3438 days

#12 posted 10-23-2012 12:39 PM

This is so way kool Sheila.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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