My kids love making crafts and doing art. I have been trying to find more crafts that we can make using things we already have at home and ideally using recycled materials. We tried out these Halloween crafts and my kids loved them! We have made recycled paper in the past, and with fall upon us and Halloween around the corner, these pumpkins have been an adorable addition to our decorations.
There is so much that you can create out of paper! All you need is paper that you are ready to recycle, a few elastics and some paint.
I try to have my kids do as much of their crafts on their own (just with a little help when necessary). These Halloween crafts are a great way to get kids creating independently and using their hands. This is a great sensory activity even for young children.
To start, gather some paper. I used old sheets that my kids had used for drawing and painting that we were ready to be recycled. If you don’t have enough recycling, you can always use regular paper or even paper towel.
Have kids rip up the paper. (If your children are working on fine motor skills and using scissors, this is a great opportunity to practice cutting.) Once ripped, let it soak in warm water for a little while to get the paint and color off of it. Squeeze the water out of the paper and then soak again. Repeat until the water runs clear.
Next, we put the soggy paper in a blender along with more water. There can be dyes on the paper, so it is best to use a blender that you don’t use for food. If you don’t have a blender, or a hand mixer, simply let the paper soak longer and it will break down on its own. Warm water will also help the paper break down.
Once it’s blended, you have your pulp! Remove the pulp from the blender. We then placed the pulp into a piece of cheese cloth to squeeze the water out. However, you can also use a regular strainer or simply use your hands. As long as you get most of the water out of the pulp, your Halloween crafts will work.
At this point you have basically made paper pulp that can be used for many things. If you flatten the pulp, you can make recycled paper. There are lots of other things that you can create with the pulp, and it is great for kids to see how you can reuse paper. (We have made paper and even apples with our pulp – links at bottom.)
Creating the Pumpkin
To make the pumpkin, roll some of the pulp into a ball and squeezed out most of the remaining water. You don’t want all of the water out of it, it should still be a bit damp. However, it should not be dripping water.
Next, put elastics around the ball to create lines as it dries. Three to four elastics seem to work best, but you can decide how many look good on your pumpkin. The elastics should not be tight on the paper pulp or else it will begin to break through the ball.
You can make your pumpkin any size you want. One of my children decided that they wanted to make a huge pumpkin. The only problem was that the elastics were too tight on a large ball. However, we were able to used string/yarn around the pumpkin to create the lines instead of elastics. You can also make your pumpkin quite small. It’s up to you!
It takes a few days to fully dry, but when it does is quite solid and hard. Which is perfect for kids to use! Once the paper was fully dry, we painted them orange. If the paper you used had some color still in it, or your pumpkin has some discoloration to it, you can try a layer of white paint on the ball, before painting it orange.
We made a few variations on our Halloween crafts. Initially, we simply made fall pumpkins. We put a twig into the top with hot glue and curled some green construction paper to add a pumpkin vine. The details make a great finished product or gift.
If you don’t like the look of the paint, or you want to try something else, you can use tissue paper instead of paint. Cut up small squares of tissue paper, in whatever color you want to make your pumpkin. With a paint brush paint a thin layer of glue onto the pumpkin and then put the tissue paper on top.
You can also add a finish on top of your finished pumpkin, such as a gloss or modge podge type finish. It gives it a beautiful polished look.
My kids loved making these so much that we kept adding to them and creating more. For the Halloween pumpkins, we used black puffy paint to create jack-o’-lanterns. These are fun for kids because they can easily design a face that they like and these are jack-o’-lanterns that last forever!
There is so much that you can make from paper and I love that it is all recycled!
Other Recycled Paper Craft Ideas
My kids love the feel of the recycled paper pulp, so we have been getting creative with everything that we can make out of the pulp. One of their favorite things is recycled paper. They even make their own recycled birthday invitations! We created the pulp in exactly the same way, and simply dried it differently.
For ideas on how to create the recycled paper, click the link, or photo, below.
In the spring, we used the paper pulp and added seeds! They make for a great gift and a wonderful recycling – and growing – activity!
Using the same idea as the pumpkins, we created recycled apples for fall!