How to Make a Fabric Pumpkin Topiary
Fabric pumpkins are a popular decoration during Halloween and Thanksgiving. These pumpkins can be purchased in a number of colors and designs, but can be expensive to buy. However, you can easily make them yourself, then embellish them and use them to create your own stacked pumpkin topiary. These pumpkins require minimal sewing skills and are a great project for using up scrap fabric and trim. This tutorial shares all the steps and includes ideas for decorating and building your own stacked pumpkin topiary.
- Fabric (sizes vary) - you can make each of your pumpkins out of different material, or use the same fabric for all. I painted some of my fabric with acrylic paint, but this is optional.
- Two different designs of ribbon
- Sewing needle and thread that coordinates with your fabric
- Fiber fill for stuffing pumpkins
- Assorted trim and decorations of your choice to finish your topiary
- Twine and white craft glue (optional) to make a stem for your pumpkin
- Hot glue gun and sticks
- Pen, ruler, and scissors
To Make Your Fabric Pumpkins
I built my topiary with three pumpkins, but you can also use only two pumpkins if you choose. My topiary is about 7 inches across at its widest point and about 10 inches tall without the top decoration. I've included my measurements below, but you can adjust them for your own project.
1. Cut out three circles of fabric, one for each of your pumpkins. My largest circle was 14 inches in diameter. The middle circle was 11 1/2 inches in diameter, and the smallest was 9 inches. I just traced containers and plates from my kitchen to make my circles.
For each circle:
2. Using a needle and thread, make a running stitch around the circumference of your circle. Be sure to stitch about a 1/2 inch from the edge of your fabric. I like to leave my needle attached after I've finished my running stitch so I can use it to sew up my pumpkin top later.
3. Gather your fabric together through the stitches to create a pouch.
4. Stuff your fabric pouch with fiber fill. I filled my pumpkin pouches quite full. Be sure to shift your fiber around to make your pumpkin round and even.
5. Then pull your pouch closed and tighten your stitches. Use your needle to reinforce your beginning and end stitches. I also like to make some extra stitches across the opening to pull it closed as tightly as possible.
6. Stuff and close all your pumpkin pouches. Be sure to pull your stitches as tight as possible. On your smallest pumpkin, your opening should be the size of a quarter or less if possible (though you can fill in a larger opening with ribbon later).
Making a Stem for Your Pumpkin
There are a few materials to use for a stem for your pumpkin. You can use a dowel or stick, or a plastic stem that you remove from an artificial pumpkin. I made my own using twine. To make a twine stem:
1. Cut 9 strands of twine, each 8 inches long.
2. Holding all the strands together, tie a knot about 1 inch from the end. Your knot should be about the same size as the opening in your smallest pumpkin. Use more or less strands to adjust the size of your knot.
3. Coat your long strands of twine and the knot with white craft glue that dries clear. I like to pour a small puddle of glue on a paper plate, then use my hands to completely coat the twine with glue.
4. Once your strands of twine are coated, twist them together. You may find that your twine twists easier in one direction than the other. Don't worry about length of your strands. You can trim your stem when you're ready to put it in place.
5. (Optional) Shape your stem into a rounded hook. Then let dry. I let my stem dry on the edge of my paper plate.
6. Check your stem occasionally. It may need more coatings of glue and reshaping while it dries. Be sure it is not sticking to your drying surface.
Decorating and Assembling Your Pumpkin Topiary
You should start with your largest fabric pumpkin to build your stacked topiary. I decorated each of my pumpkins differently, but this is optional.
1. To decorate my largest pumpkin, I cut lengths of twine, then hot glued one end to the edge of the opening of my pumpkin (see photo above). Be sure to glue your twine or yarn to your fabric, not to the fiber fill.
2. Then I ran my twine across the bottom of my pumpkin and glued the other end to the opposite side of my opening.
3. I repeated Steps 1 and 2 to attach three strands of twine to my pumpkin, creating six equal sections on my pumpkin. However, you can add more strands if you want.
4. To add more color and decoration, I cut 5 pieces of ribbon, each about 4 inches long (I trimmed them after my topiary was assembled). I glued these pieces around the edge of my pumpkin so that they hung down around the body. I made sure that the top end of my ribbon would tuck under the next pumpkin (see photo above).
5. To decorate my center pumpkin, I cut out a few pumpkin leaves from some green felt using the template above. I made each leaf about 2 inches long.
6. I decorated each leaf with a few colorful buttons.
7. I hot glued these leaves around the edge of my center pumpkin, again making sure to attach them to the edge of my fabric opening, not to the fiber fill.
8. Next, I put a thick loop of hot glue around the fabric opening of my bottom pumpkin. I placed my center pumpkin on top of the hot glue, making sure it was centered and made complete contact with the opening underneath. I held this pumpkin in place while my glued dried.
If you find that your join between the pumpkins is messy, you can wrap some twine, yarn, or ribbon around each pumpkin base once your topiary is complete. This will hide any glue or mess.
9. To decorate my top pumpkin, I cut nine of pieces of thin ribbon to place around the edge of my opening. Each of these pieces of ribbon was about 3 1/2 inches long (I trimmed them once my topiary was assembled). I hot glued these pieces in place, letting the top end cover some of the opening as I needed to fill in some space.
10. Then I cut 8 pieces of another ribbon into 5 inch lengths. With each piece of ribbon, I glued the two ends together to make a teardrop-shaped loop.
11. I glued each of these loops between the ribbon I already had around my pumpkin opening (see photo above). Again, I placed the ends to overlap the opening of my pumpkin so that it was completely covered.
12. When my stem was dry, I cut off the strands that were coming from the bottom of my knot. I also trimmed the length of my stem. Then I put a generous amount of hot glue in the center of my ribbon loops, and placed my stem on the top of my pumpkin. I held the stem in place until the glue dried.
13. Then I glued my top pumpkin in place as in Step 8.
14. Once my pumpkins were in place, I trimmed my hanging ribbons and added some more decorations to the top. I created these pumpkin sticks by cutting some florist wires in half and twisting them around a dowel. I glued a pumpkin bead to the top of each twisted wire and stuck them into the top of my topiary.
© 2019 Donna Herron