How To Make a Grunged Primitive Stuffed Magickal Pumpkin — Priscilla/Priscella!
by Silver RavenWolf
Meet Priscilla/Priscella — the Sassy Primitive Pumpkin –– perfect for Halloween/Samhain decor! Easy to stich! Simple to paint! Pattern included in this article.
Copyright Notice: Primitive Stuffed Pumpkin and instructions are the design of Silver RavenWolf. Neither the design nor the instructions can be sold in any form (hardcopy or digital) without the author’s permission. Home crafters are free to make the finished project and sell it; however, mass production rights remain with the author.
Supplies: To make Priscilla/Priscella you will need —
1 yard of muslin
a neutral color thread (such as beige or ecru)
straight pins (to hold material while sewing)
pencil (to trace pattern on muslin)
sewing machine (or you can hand stitch)
a selection of acrylic paints in several shades of orange and one golden yellow for pumpkin, two browns (raw sienna and burnt umber), and one green (olive works well), white and black (for eyes)
Grunge Mix (see ingredients in article) — which includes spices, tinfoil, and a cookie sheet
Paper (to print pattern from this blog)
One 16 ounce bag of poly fil stuffing (or stuffing of your choice)
Oven (if you plan to grunge your pumpkin) — 185 degrees for 20 minutes (check at 10 minute intervals)
Step One: Print off the Patterns Below — you can use regular paper or cardstock. Notice that I put some instructions directly on the patterns. These instructions are covered again in the pictorials for your convenience.
Step Two: Tape the two sides of the pumpkin pattern together.
Step Three: Cut out taped pumpkin pattern, stem and pumpkin face pieces. Set face pieces aside until you are ready to use them.
Step Four: Fold your muslin in half so that you have a double thickness of material. Trace around the edges of your pattern with a pencil directly on the muslin. Don’t forget to add the marks at the top of the pumpkin so that you know where to start and stop stitching. This open space will be where you insert the stuffing, and where the stem will be attached. Once you have traced the pumpkin, follow the same procedure for the stem.
Step Five: Pin interior of pumpkin and stem so that the two pieces of cloth won’t move as you are cutting. Leave in pins to secure while sewing. With sharp scissors, cut around your traced line, leaving at least 1/2 inch of material all the way around pumpkin and stem.
You will have two pumpkin pieces (the front and the back) and two stem pieces (the front and the back).
Step Six: Sew pumpkin pieces (front and back) together, leaving the opening free for stuffing. Do the same for the stem. I always double stitch the seams when making primitives and dolls to prevent tearing while stuffing. This means that you sew the seam once, then sew it again, following your original stitching. I realize this takes about five more minutes of your time; but, it is well worth it! There is nothing more disheartening when you are stuffing a primitive and the muslin tears at a seam or you punch a hole in the seam because you shoved too hard with a pencil or hemostat. As a side note: I use forceps (called a hemostat) to stuff all of my primitives.
Step Seven: Trim seams within 1/8th of an inch using the pinking shears. This helps to keep the pumpkin from puckering while stuffing, allowing the fabric to stretch and give. You can also clip curves (small cuts 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart) to ensure smoother sides of the pumpkin. Just be careful that you don’t cut your stitching as that would weaken the seam and cause a tear while stuffing. On the picture please see the black arrow — don’t trim the area over the opening — leave as is — this makes the seam easier to hand sew. If you cut too close, the edges will tend to pop up from the strain of the stuffing. Having a nice-sized lip allows for a neat fold and easy hand sewing to close.
Step Eight: Turn pumpkin and stem right side out. Stuff with poly fill (or your choice of stuffing). The trick to a great primitive? Little bits. I use the hemostat to push the stuffing into the corners first, and then continue to build the stuffing. I periodically pack down the stuffing as I work. I realize this takes a lot longer than you would like; but, it truly does render a wonderful finished product!
Step Nine: Make sure that pumpkin is packed tight! Hand stitch to close stem piece. Test stem by inserting it into pumpkin — stuffing of pumpkin should come right up to stem (you don’t want a gap in stuffing — you’ll notice it when you are painting) — so make that stuffing good and tight!
Step Ten: Time to Add the Charm. Yup, you read that right. Whether it is a prayer on a piece of paper, herbs that you feel will bring love or good fortune, or your favorite sigil — now is the time to make that charm and secure it inside the pumpkin. Traditionally, here in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, such mystic packets inside of sewn items were common. It was the seamstress’ way of protecting his or her family and friends. As the fabric worker stitched and stuffed, he or she would also intone chants (Whisper Magick — Braucherei), to wish good fortune, wealth, and wellness into the project.
Step Eleven: After placing charm in pumpkin, insert stem. Hand stitch pumpkin closed.
Step Twelve: Paint Pumpkin with the orange and yellow hues. Paint Stem with brown and green hues. Use light brush strokes to avoid blobs of paint. Unfortunately, on this type of project, paint build-up can crack during the drying or grunging process. Feather your strokes (where the end of the stroke is lighter than the beginning) to help prevent paint build-up. You can also lightly feather with a dry brush over most of the pumpkin periodically to avoid clumps. Are you a sloppy painter? So am I! Therefore, I learned a good trick — I tell myself it is okay to be sloppy all over me — just not all over the project. I usually wear a painting shirt and I often have more paint on me by the time I’m done, than on the project. However, this seems to meet my emotional needs to be free while creating! I am proud to wear my enthusiasm!
Step Thirteen: Allow pumpkin to dry thoroughly. To speed up the time, you can place the pumpkin on tinfoil and bake in your oven at 180 to 185 degrees for about ten minutes. I’ve also used a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. Just be careful! Once your pumpkin is completely dry — sand the surface with a fine grain piece of sand paper. This gives the pumpkin a softer feel. Next, using your templates for the face, trace the eyes, nose, and mouth onto the surface of the pumpkin with a pencil. Paint the eyes nose and mouth. Sand again if you like; however, sanding will blur the facial features. Your choice.
Step Fourteen: Grunging the Pumpkin — Gather the supplies listed on the picture and mix them in a glass or plastic bowl.
How much you mix up of this formula is entirely up to you — I usually brew up a large batch to use for several projects. Store dry mix in a plastic or glass container. Add the dry mix to VERY HOT WATER (I use triple strength instant coffee water)– and allow to cool — before painting your pumpkin. The darker the water — the darker the stain for the pumpkin. You can also save the unused liquid stain in the refrigerator for several months.
Step Fifteen: Paint both sides of pumpkin with liquid grubby stain.
Step Sixteen: Rub dry Grunge Mix all over pumpkin while surface is still wet. Yes, this is messy. Yes, your hands will be yucky. Rub as much, or as little into the pumpkin as you like. The more you add, the grungier it gets!
Step Seventeen: Time to bake your pumpkin! Set oven temperature to 180 degrees (or 185 degrees). I put my projects on a piece of tinfoil on top of a cookie sheet. Bake pumpkin for about 20 minutes (or until dry). As oven temperatures vary, keep checking your pumpkin. The spices will burn if you leave the pumpkin in too long. This isn’t the time to walk away from the kitchen. Stay close to be safe.
Step Eighteen: Take your pumpkin out of the oven with hot pads. Allow pumpkin to cool completely. Lightly brush loose spices off of pumpkin. After cooling, if you think you’ve added too much dry mix to the surface, rub briskly with your hands.
Step Nineteen: Time to Embellish!
I hope you enjoy making this delightful Halloween craft! It was an honor to share it with you!