by Fran Casselman
Craft pumpkin, available at crafts stores
Suitable “branchy” twig
Printed background image
#87004 Crabapple Flower Fairy
#2130 Noch Grass Sheet
#3989 Orange & Rust Roping
#9756 Brown Mini-Bond Foliage Adhesive
Battery-operated string lights if desired
Tweezers and other basic craft/household supplies
Craft pumpkins are lightweight artificial pumpkins designed to be carved as real pumpkins are, but without the mess. This pumpkin was purchased with the opening already cut out; it was only necessary to paint the edges an appropriate yellow color.
Check the size of your twig to be certain it will fit through the opening and can be maneuvered to stand properly. Trim the ends as needed to fit.
This twig is secured inside the pumpkin by means of a small nail inserted up through the base of the pumpkin and into a hole drilled into the trunk. Other methods that might work include using hot glue or carving a hole into the base of the pumpkin. Plan the method now but do not fix it in place yet.
The background image was found with an internet image search for “autumn landscape.” The image was divided into halves in a photo manipulation program and each half was printed, portrait format, on ordinary printer paper. Trim the margin from the left edge of the right page, then glue that page to the margin of the left half of the image with glue stick. Trim any remaining white areas only if needed; fit the image inside the pumpkin and secure the corners with double-stick dots. Do not glue the image to the inside contours of the pumpkin.
If you will want lights inside, plan where they will be needed and drill a small hole (1/8” for the lights mentioned) in a hidden spot. Feed the lights through and secure the lead wire and battery case to the outside with masking tape. To concentrate the light in one spot as seen here, coil the wire of lights and secure it with a bit of low-temp hot glue or strong tape across the strands.
Take a rough measurement of the ground area and tear the Noch grass to fit. Try to avoid any straight edges. Slip it into place; you may/may not want to secure it in position at this point, depending on how your tree will be fastened.
Preparing the leaves: The leaf roping is two strands of coated fabric leaves twisted together with flexible wire. You can simply cut the leaves from the coil, but it is easier if you unwind the wire and get it out of your way (the two leaf strands should stay together). You will be using at least two feet of leaves and probably more. Once you have the leaf strands free of the wire, cut off plenty of individual leaves and a number of leaf “clumps” of three to five leaves that will stay together. Collect the leaves and clumps in separate closeable plastic containers.
The foliage adhesive is a very thick, very sticky, tinted glue specifically made for this purpose. (You could possibly substitute tacky glue with a slightly different application method.) Put a blob of the adhesive on a disposable palette and use a toothpick to apply it where you will want leaves on the tree. Work from the inside out; you can prep several spots at one time as the adhesive needs a few minutes to set for maximum stickiness. Use tweezers to apply the leaves and leaf clumps as the adhesive sets. Work slowly to avoid disturbing previously placed leaves; set the tree down in a glass or jar between working with one blob of glue and the next. Let the finished tree cure for several hours before assembling the project.
If you didn’t end up with a good number of individual leaves left over, prepare more now.
When you are ready to assemble, secure the tree in place using your chosen method. Don’t fasten the grass sheet down if you don’t have to. Decide where the fairy will go. The fairies have a stiff wire support that fits into a small hole underneath their bodies. Determine where the support will need to go and make a hole through the grass and into the pumpkin with a pushpin. Pull the grass sheet aside and pierce the hole all the way through the pumpkin. The support stake should fit very tightly in the hole. Replace the grass sheet, fit the fairy on the support and into place. Use wire cutters to trim the stake outside the pumpkin and add a little glue if desired.
Sprinkle leaves on the ground beneath the tree and into the fairy’s skirt. Bunch the leaves together along the seam between the grass sheet and background image. Switch on the lights and enjoy your Fall Fairy Pumpkin!