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Learn How to Make Wet Felted Pumpkins or Lights for Halloween

Sally Gulbrandsen Feltmaker: Her tutorials & techniques are as individual as she is — unique, experimental and always interesting.

Decorative wet felted pumpkins.

Decorative wet felted pumpkins.

About This Tutorial

These little pumpkins can be made singularly or in lots of 2 or more. Roll them together inside a bamboo blind to reduce the time it takes to make them.

You will only need 2 thin layers of wool roving. A thin layer of white merino wool should be used for the 1st layer. White wool will allow the light to penetrate the top layer. This is very important if you want to turn them into small lamps or lights.

Use recycled plastic bags or black bags to stuff the pumpkins with if you want to make them into little lamps or lights. Any other stuffing should only be used if the pumpkins are for decoration only.

Paverpol fabric hardener is used to make the pumpkins hard, hollow and self-supporting. Remember that Paverpol fabric hardener will stick to anything other than plastic so don't stuff the pumpkins with paper or any other type of filling. If you don't do this, you may not be able to get the stuffing out.

Paverpol (translucent), a small tealight and a completed decorative felt pumpkin.

Paverpol (translucent), a small tealight and a completed decorative felt pumpkin.

A doll needle, natural fiber pipe cleaners and thick sewing thread. I used leather sewing thread.

A doll needle, natural fiber pipe cleaners and thick sewing thread. I used leather sewing thread.

Wool Roving, the green blend is a perfect example of what can be used for a realistic stem.

Wool Roving, the green blend is a perfect example of what can be used for a realistic stem.

Things You Need For This Wet Felting Project:

  • Underfloor laminate for creating the templates. This can be bought at your local hardware store or from Amazon.
  • 1 or more Templates
  • White Merino Wool Roving
  • Shades of Orange Merino Wool Roving
  • Green Merino Wool Roving The blend shown above is the perfect blend for making the stems.
  • Olive oil Soap grated and diluted in warm water or alternatively you may use dishwashing liquid which has been diluted with warm water
  • A small squeeze bottle for the soapy water.
  • Bubble-wrap
  • A pair of sharp scissors
  • A long dolls needle (Use this to stitching a strong thread through the stem and pull the threads downwards into the pumpkin in order to help create the indent needed for the stem)
  • A heavy-duty bamboo blind (Bubble-wrap) can be substituted.
  • Paverpol Transparent Fabric Hardener - if you want to turn the little pumpkins into lights or lanterns
  • Ronson Finest Quality Cotton Pipe Cleaners (Only use Cotton Fibers as synthetic fibers will not fuse to the wool during the felting process)
  • Battery operated tea lights (These should be as bright as possible in order to shine through the layers of wool.
  • A small paint brush or recycled tooth brush can be used for painting on the Paverpol fabric hardener.
  • A small bowl in which the pumpkins can diluted if using Paverpol fabric hardener.

Step 1—How to Make the Pumpkin Stems

  • Pull off lengths of Merino wool roving.
  • Make the lengths about 2 - 3 inches longer than the pipe cleaners.
  • Split the roving in half to create 2 stems.
  • For additional stems pull off additional lengths.
The length of the pumpkin stems, they should be about 2 inches longer than the pipe cleaners on the long side with a fold on the short side.

The length of the pumpkin stems, they should be about 2 inches longer than the pipe cleaners on the long side with a fold on the short side.

Step 2—Wet the Stems

  • Flatten the Merino wool fibers as shown below.
  • Place a pipe cleaner onto each length.
  • Leave one end long, fluffy and dry as shown.
  • Don't use artificial pipe cleaners as these will not fuse together with the wool.
Wet the stems

Wet the stems

Step 3—Neaten the Short End

  • Fold the short end over the pipe cleaner to neaten.
Pumpkin stems with long end kept dry.

Pumpkin stems with long end kept dry.

Step 4—Keep Long End Dry and Fluffy

  • The fibers on the longer end should be kept fluffly and dry.
  • Tightly roll the wet wool around the pipe cleaner and roll well using your fingers
  • The fibers will firm up beneath your fingers.
  • Roll until fairly hard.
Roll until the fibers no longer move.

Roll until the fibers no longer move.

3 Fluffy ended Pumpkin Stems

3 Fluffy ended Pumpkin Stems

Step 5—Make the Pumpkins

  • Cover each template with two thin layers of wool roving.
  • The first layer should be made from white Merino wool roving.
  • Both layers should be put down as thin as possible with no thin spots.
A Selection of templates, the same as those used for this Tutorial.

A Selection of templates, the same as those used for this Tutorial.

Step 6—Cover the Template

  • Cover the 1st template with a thin layer of white Merino wool roving.
Template covered with a thin even layer of white fibers.

Template covered with a thin even layer of white fibers.

Step 7—Wet the Wool Roving

  • Wet the fibers with warm soapy water.
Wet the fibers with warm soapy water.

Wet the fibers with warm soapy water.

Step 8—Cover With Bubble Wrap

  • Place a piece of bubble-wrap over the fibers.
  • Wet the surface of the bubble-wrap with warm soapy water.
  • The water allows the fingers to glide easily over the surface.
  • Push down on the wool and press the soapy water outwards and towards the edges.
  • Rub until the fibers have flattened.
Wet the surface of the bubble wrap

Wet the surface of the bubble wrap

Rub the fibers under the wet bubble wrap

Rub the fibers under the wet bubble wrap

Step 9—Remove the Bubble Wrap

  • Gently fold back the bubble wrap.
  • Take care not to disturb the fibers.
The wet flattened fibers

The wet flattened fibers

Step 10—Neaten the Edges

  • Turn the fibers over the edges as is shown below.
  • Use a little soapy water to smooth them down if necessary.
The neatened fibers which have been turned over the edes of the template.

The neatened fibers which have been turned over the edes of the template.

Step 11—Cover the 2nd Side

  • Fill in the 2nd side with a thin layer of Merino fibers but don't allow them to extend past the edge.
  • The aim is to have the same thickness of wool throughout the layers.
Fill the center of the second side with thin white wool roving.

Fill the center of the second side with thin white wool roving.

Step 12—Wet the Fibers

  • Wet the wool with warm soapy water
Wet the white fibers with warm soapy water

Wet the white fibers with warm soapy water

Step 13—Cover With Bubble Wrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubble wrap.
  • Press down on the bubble wrap and rub until the fibers flatten out.
Wet the bubble wrap

Wet the bubble wrap

Rub the wet fibers under the bubble wrap until they have flattened.

Rub the wet fibers under the bubble wrap until they have flattened.

Step 14—Neaten the Edges

  • Fold over any loose fibers if they extend beyond the edge.
The white layer is now complete

The white layer is now complete

Step 15—Side 1 Orange Wool

  • Cover both sides of the template with a thin layer of orange wool roving.
Cover the white layer with a thin layer of orange fibers.

Cover the white layer with a thin layer of orange fibers.

Step 16—Wet the Fibers

  • Wet with warm soapy water.
Wet the Fibers with warm soapy water.

Wet the Fibers with warm soapy water.

Step 17—Cover With Bubble Wrap

  • Wet the surface of the bubble wrap with soapy water
Cover with bubble wrap and wet the surface.

Cover with bubble wrap and wet the surface.

Step 18—Rub Well

  • Rub well and gently remove the bubble wrap.
Carefully lift off the Bubble Wrap

Carefully lift off the Bubble Wrap

Step 19—Flip the Project Over

  • Turn the Project Over
Turn the Project Over

Turn the Project Over

Step 20—Neaten the Edges

  • Neaten the edges by turning any excess wool over the edges.
  • Use additional warm soapy water if required to smooth them down.
Fold the fibers over the edge of the template

Fold the fibers over the edge of the template

Step 21— Layer 2 Side 2

  • Complete the final layer by filling the gap in the centre with orange wool roving.
  • Don't allow it to extend over the edges if possible.
Cover the 2nd side of the template with a thin layer of orange merino wool roving.

Cover the 2nd side of the template with a thin layer of orange merino wool roving.

Step 22—Wet the Wool

  • Complete the final layer by wetting the wool with warm soapy water.
Wet the Fibers with Warm Soapy Water

Wet the Fibers with Warm Soapy Water

Step 23—Cover With Bubble Wrap

  • Cover and the fibers and wet the surface of the bubble wrap.
Wet the surfae of the bubble wrap

Wet the surfae of the bubble wrap

Step 24—Rub Well

  • Rub the bubble wrap well and neaten the edges if required.
Rub the wet surface of the bubble wrap.

Rub the wet surface of the bubble wrap.

Side 2 of the orange layer is now complete.

Side 2 of the orange layer is now complete.

Step 25—Attach the Stem

  • Add a stem to the pumpkin as shown below.
Divide the fibers for the stem, half for the front and half for the rear of the pumpkin.

Divide the fibers for the stem, half for the front and half for the rear of the pumpkin.

Step 26—Arrange the Fibers

  • Arrange half the fibres tastefully on the front of the template to create a stem as is shown.
  • Cover with bubble wrap and rub until the fibers are well blended.
Blending in the loose fibers to create the stem, cover and rub well.

Blending in the loose fibers to create the stem, cover and rub well.

Step 27—Turn the Template Over

  • Arrange the fibers as before.
  • Cover with bubble wrap and rub until the fibres are well blended.
Well blended and rubbed stem fibers

Well blended and rubbed stem fibers

Step 28—Roll

  • Roll inside a bamboo blind, or alternatively use bubble wrap.
  • Keep on changing the direction in which you roll the template (or templates).
  • I find that the bamboo blind is the perfect felting tool, so much better than bubble wrap.
  • Once the fibers no longer move, a tumble dryer can be utilized to achieve a much firmer felt if required.
  • I do this all the time.
Wet the bubblewrap

Wet the bubblewrap

Step 29—Turn the Template

  • Turn the template inside the bamboo blind.
  • This allows the project to shrink from all sides.
  • Roll until the template starts to bend.

Step 30—Roll Several Pumpkins

  • Place all the pumpkins you have made inside the bamboo blind and roll them together.
  • Keep on changing the direction in which you roll them.
3 wet felted pumpkins in the making.

3 wet felted pumpkins in the making.

Step 31—Cut a Small Hole

  • Cut a small hole in each of the pumpkins as is shown.
Cut a small hole as shown in each pumpkin

Cut a small hole as shown in each pumpkin

Step 32—Remove the Template

  • Use your fingers or a small pair of tweezers to extract the template which can be seen below.
The template seen through the small hole.

The template seen through the small hole.

Pulling the template out through the small hole.

Pulling the template out through the small hole.

Step 34—Stuff the Pumpkin

  • Cut up bin liners or recycled supermarket bags can be used.
  • Remember not to stuff the pumpkins with anything other than plastic if you are going to harden the pumpins.
  • Pavepol fabric hardener will not stick to plastic but it will stick to paper or any other type of stuffing.
Fill with black bin bags or recycled supermarket bags

Fill with black bin bags or recycled supermarket bags

Step 35—Tie on the Threads

  • Use the doll needle and thread to create the sections for the pumpkin as shown.
  • Sew a double length threads through the lower part of the stem and tie them securely at the lower end of the pumpkin.
  • Use a double thread sewn through the lower part of the stem to pull the base of the stem down to make the indentation as is shown in the images.
Sew Threads using the doll needle to form the pumpkin sections.

Sew Threads using the doll needle to form the pumpkin sections.

Step 36—Finishing the Pumpkins

  • The pumpkins can be stuffed with recycled bags or hardened to create hollow lights.
  • The choice is yours.
Leave the pumpkins stuffed if you don't want to turn them into lamps

Leave the pumpkins stuffed if you don't want to turn them into lamps

Step 37—Dip and Paint on the Fabric Hardener

  • Dip and paint on Paverpol if you wish to make the pumpkins into self supporting hardened lights.
  • The plastic bags can be removed once the pumpkins have dried.
Dip into Paverpol Fabric Hardener and paint excess over the pumpkin

Dip into Paverpol Fabric Hardener and paint excess over the pumpkin

Step 38—Dilute the Paverpol

  • Dilute 2 teaspoons Paverpol With 2 teaspoons water
  • You can paint or rub on the Paverpol from the inside of the pumpkin.
  • If you paint the Paverpol on the inside of the pumpkin it will not change the structure of the wool as much as it will if you paint the outside.
Dilute Paverpol, 2 tsps to 2 tsp water.

Dilute Paverpol, 2 tsps to 2 tsp water.

Step 39—Painting on the Paverpol

  • You can use your fingers, a paintbrush or a recycled toothbrush to paint on the Paverpol.
Paint with Paverpol and allow to dry until firm

Paint with Paverpol and allow to dry until firm

Step 40—Cut a Hole

  • Allow the pumpkin to dry overnight and cut the hole in the bottom of the pumpkin.
  • Ensure that the threads are stuck to the pumpkin before proceeding.
  • Should any come unstuck in the process, simply glue them down with fabric hardener.
Paverpol Hardened Pumpkin

Paverpol Hardened Pumpkin

Step 41—Make an Indentation

  • Make an indentation by pressing the battery tea light into the pumpkin.
  • Cut the hole to match the inside of the indentation, not the outside as you could make it too big.
Make an imprint on the felt and cut a hole with tiny scissors.

Make an imprint on the felt and cut a hole with tiny scissors.

Step 42—Insert the Tea Light

  • The Battery light can be glued in once the pumpkin has completely hardened.
  • This can take a couple of days or you can speed it up by putting the pumpkin on a radiator or in the sun to dry.
  • I found that once the pumpkin is dry the tea light will sit firmly inside the pumpkin without any glue.
Battery Operated Tea Light inserted into the cut and measured hole.

Battery Operated Tea Light inserted into the cut and measured hole.

The Completed Pumpkin Light

Battery operated tea light glowing inside a pumpkin.

Battery operated tea light glowing inside a pumpkin.

Happy Halloween

I hope you enjoy making these decorative pumpkins.

© 2020 Sally Gulbrandsen

Comments

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 02, 2020:

Glad you like the litle pumpkins Heidi. Thank you for the feedback, it is appreciated:)

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on November 02, 2020:

These are adorable! Love how the muted shades softly blend together. Thanks for aways sharing your creativity with us!

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 02, 2020:

Hi Millicent, I appreciate the feedback, thank you so much! I suggest making the small stuffed pumpkins first, quite an easy project, even for little fingers. So lovely to get a visit from Kenya.

Enjoy!

Millicent Okello from Nairobi, Kenya on November 02, 2020:

Hi sally cool Halloween ideas. Maybe I should try them out with my nieces and nephews.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 01, 2020:

Hi Devika, thank you so much, your visit is much appreciated as always. Hope you are doing ok?

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 01, 2020:

Hi Sally beautiful ideas from you. These come at the perfect time.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on November 01, 2020:

Thank you Billy, I am well thank you as I hope you and yours are in these very strange times? Your visit is appreciated as always Billy.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 01, 2020:

It's always nice to see a new article from you, Sally. I hope this finds you well, my friend.

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 31, 2020:

I hope you do, enjoy this amazing art form.

Klarenz V from Philippines on October 31, 2020:

Perfect halloween design. . Wanna try this sometime. .

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 31, 2020:

Hi Julia, I have written many tutorials on HubPages and Felt Magnet so you will easily find them if you do a good search for them.. I am known here as sallybea and also have my own webpage under the same name.. You can definitely make a pot using exactly these instructions. I would use 3 layers for a pot, even if you decide to use Paverpol. I would paint the Paverpol onto the inside of the pot as it tends to change the feel and look of felt. Paverpol is often used to make sculptures which can endure all sorts of weather. I have a bird pop outside whose structure is still standing up well to the weather after having been there for several months. I don't do any online courses but it is something I may consider doing in the future.

Julia Downs on October 31, 2020:

Very clear instructions. Thanks. If I just want to make a pot can I follow these same instructions but without pumpkin stem part?

Do you offer any online courses?

Sally Gulbrandsen (author) from Norfolk on October 31, 2020:

Thank you very much Oliver, thanks for taking the time to comment, it is much appreciated.

Oliver Frazier on October 31, 2020:

I appreciate your dedication to detail that you give your craft.