Posts Tagged ‘diy fail’

How’s that for a catchy title?

It all started when a friend who lives in EnZed sent me an idea for Hallowe’en decorating – before I even had the decorations pulled out. It was of a pumpkin black cat lantern (you can see it here). Cute, but it involves real pumpkins and carving them. The pumpkins aren’t so bad, but I knew I was not going to want  to carve them or paint them, so I thought I’d just bypass all that.


I bought a package of balloons and pulled out my trust bottle of fabric starch and the roll of black crepe paper. I’ve had both the starch and the crepe paper for about the same amount of time, which could be 20 or 30 years. The starch never gets old, amazingly.


I learned how to do this poor man’s papier maché when I was in the 5th grade. You cut the crepe paper into workable strips, wet it with the starch, and attach it to the balloon. Add layers, let dry, pop the balloon when dry & you have a form.

I’ve never tried to be so exacting with the cut out, however. But I drew my pattern on the balloons with a marker and set to work.


I used red and white crepe paper for the places where there would be “gaps” – where the pumpkin would be cut out. Then I added several layers of the crape paper in all the spaces that would not have and cut outs. This is a messy procedure and I had to lay out a plastic cover underneath the dripping balloons.

After a coupl of days drying, I finally figures out how to do the black around the cut outs.


I used tracing paper to sketch out what was to be cut out, then I cut a template that I used on flat tissue paper. Tissue paper is pretty much the same consistency as crepe paper, just not crepe-y. I held the black template to the balloon and used a paint brush to dab on the starch until the entire section was covered.

It came out reasonably well. I gave up on two layers as it was just too much of a hassle (what was that about not wanting to scoop out a pumpkin and paint it?). I spent a couple more days using short strips of crepe paper to get an even texture and color. Eventually, I decided the bottom was ready for me to pop the balloon and get on with body building.


The cat has to be able to stand flat, and the head needs to sit on the shoulders, so I cut out the top & bottom of the form (bad move). I cut the ears out of the bottom or the top (that’s those triangle things).

Attaching the head was not so easy. The form wanted to fold in with the wet layers of crepe paper. The head didn’t want to hold still while I tried to carefully glue the crepe paper on with starch. I did manage to attach the ears to the head and I repaired the bottom form by setting it over a bowl to dry out (again).

Tonight, it dawned on me to use hot glue to attach the head. I have black ribbon that is an inch wide, and by running hot glue over the back diagonally, I was able to glue the top and bottom of the form together! I even ran hot glue around the base to give it a little more firmness.


He’s certainly got attitude, even though he’s much too fragile to set out on the porch this tomorrow (the rain will melt him).

My last steps were to pop the balloon in the head and cut a small hole in the back so I could insert a little battery powered tea light into the head. Should go without saying that I set the cat over another battery powered tea light.


Sadly, there’s no way to preserve and store this creation, so I will be tossing it into the trash on All Saint’s Day.

Next year, I think I’ll just buck up and buy the pumpkins. I have the paint, after all.


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