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Don’t make the same mistakes we did — pumpkin craft fails

Can you spot the craft fail in this picture? This was supposed to be a gray-on-white Chevron Pumpkin, but sticking painter's tape onto the basecoat didn't really work out.

Can you spot the craft fail in this picture? This was supposed to be a gray-on-white Chevron Pumpkin, but sticking painter's tape onto the basecoat didn't really work out. by Sara Shepherd

It only took one touch from a piece of misplaced tape for me to realize my gray-on-white Chevron Pumpkin — looking promising after a flawless basecoat of glossy white spray paint — had turned the corner and was headed straight down the road to Craft Fail City.

Without primer, it turns out, paint doesn’t stick to real pumpkins’ waxy skin all that well. It hangs on fine if you handle the pumpkin carefully, but pressing on and peeling off painter’s tape does not, apparently, count as handling carefully.

My other chevron pumpkins for this week’s Go! story worked (apply tape to pumpkin skin, paint gaps a single color, peel off tape). But me and my West Elm-happy self were dead-set on pumpkin No. 3 being white and dove gray, no orange.

Obviously if my basecoat chipped off in the taping process, peeling off tape to reveal the final product was going to be a real problem. Yet the optimist in me pushed on, hearing “Keep going anyway, you can touch it up with a paintbrush and it won’t be a failure after all!”

Then, when the gray paint was dry and the tape peeled off (along with most of the white paint, of course), “This is kind of cool, like I was going for a textured look!”

Then, “Get real. This is a bona fide pumpkin craft fail. Your husband may have sweetly told you that pumpkin crafts aren’t meant to be perfect, but you cannot use this in your story.”

So gray-on-white (and orange) Chevron Pumpkin made the blog, where others can learn from my mistake. A few pointers on the other pumpkins from the story:

The Black Widow Pumpkin was created with spray paint and glued-on rhinestones.

The Black Widow Pumpkin was created with spray paint and glued-on rhinestones. by Sara Shepherd

• Hot-gluing nearly 400 individual rhinestones on a pumpkin takes for-ev-er — don’t bother if you’re not really excited about the Black Widow Pumpkin (it's on my desk right now, and I’ve heard “awesome,” “soooo cute” and “kinda tacky” from officemates). With a low-temp glue gun, you can only do a couple stones at a time; with a high-temp gun you’d have to use tweezers or small pliers to avoid burning a finger.

These simple Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkins need only a painted-on mustache and a pair of lips.

These simple Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkins need only a painted-on mustache and a pair of lips. by Sara Shepherd

• I freehanded Mr. and Mrs. Pumpkins’ mouths — but used a black ballpoint pen and had to apply two extra-thick coats of paint to cover up my lines. Should’ve just used a pencil.

One of our Black Stocking Pumpkins, sans ribbon around stem.

One of our Black Stocking Pumpkins, sans ribbon around stem. by Mike Yoder

• Black Stocking Pumpkins beg the question of what to do with the stem? Start by not buying a pumpkin with a short stem (like we did on one of ours), then you’ll have something substantial enough to tie a ribbon around for a more finished look.

Of course, it could be much, much worse. The official CraftFail website has plenty of projects that will make you laugh — and realize maybe you're not so bad at crafting after all. Also, we got a picture from our "Pumpkins and More Pumpkins" Pinterest board repinned ... to a board entitled, "WHO THOUGHT OF THIS? not I." I guess she didn't really like the Cozy Wrapped Pumpkin. Fair enough.

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There’s a kit for that — store-bought options do the pumpkin decorating for you

While Go! editor Katie Bean was out shopping for materials to create the Stocking Pumpkins in today's Go! cover story, something else caught her eye: No-carve pumpkin decorating kits.

Katie might have been tempted by these all-in-one options, but she stuck with her mission to find patterned black hose for our original plan.

For chronic craft-failers or people who are too busy for the whole crafting thing to start with (nothing to be ashamed about), she shares some of the easier options to be had out there.

I’m a fan of DIY, but I don’t always have time to do the projects I want to do.

As I was shopping for supplies for the stocking pumpkin I made for our Go! cover story this week, I found that stores have anticipated the trends in pumpkin decorating we saw online. There were several examples of pumpkins like the ones we had discussed for the story pre-made and many kits that eliminate the running around for different supplies. Here are a few examples from my shopping trip.

I was most surprised to see full kit options. Some seem to involve painting; others just have pieces you stick on. Here are a few examples I saw:

Hello Kitty pumpkin decorating kit.

Hello Kitty pumpkin decorating kit. by Katie Bean

Angry Birds pumpkin decorating kit.

Angry Birds pumpkin decorating kit. by Katie Bean

Dinosaur pumpkin decorating kit.

Dinosaur pumpkin decorating kit. by Katie Bean

Witch pumpkin decorating kit.

Witch pumpkin decorating kit. by Katie Bean

Kits to give your pumpkin a body.

Kits to give your pumpkin a body. by Katie Bean

There were also pre-decorated pumpkins available in the same styles we saw on Pinterest.

Glitter pumpkins.

Glitter pumpkins. by Katie Bean

Metallic foam pumpkin.

Metallic foam pumpkin. by Katie Bean

Sparkly crackle pumpkin.

Sparkly crackle pumpkin. by Katie Bean

There were many faux pumpkins available in different shapes, sizes and colors. If you choose to invest the time and money (they were a little more expensive than fresh pumpkins), you can have a decoration that will last for years. We do not recommend keeping real pumpkins for years — they have a long shelf life, but not that long.

We found that faux pumpkins typically cost more than real ones, but they will last more than one season.

We found that faux pumpkins typically cost more than real ones, but they will last more than one season. by Katie Bean

Faux pumpkins are available in different sizes, shapes and colors.

Faux pumpkins are available in different sizes, shapes and colors. by Katie Bean

Black and white faux pumpkins provide a different look.

Black and white faux pumpkins provide a different look. by Katie Bean

However you choose to decorate your pumpkin, take a picture and share it with us and other readers in the decorated pumpkins of Lawrence photo gallery.

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