Kelly Tarleton's portrait

Welcome to my blog! I am a Houston portrait and wedding photographer,
and I also custom design wedding and special event stationery.
This is where I share photos of my latest portrait sessions, design assignments,
and personal projects. Take a look around to see what I've been up to and
be sure to let me know what you think. I love comments!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

DIY: Wicked Witch of the West pumpkin

I had this fairytale illusion that my vision would come to life perfectly for my office pumpkin carving contest creation and I would photograph the process to document for a blog post. And then Murphy's Law commenced. Not only did my original idea not work, but I didn't find this out until 7:30 the night before the VALIC MarComm (Marketing Communications) pumpkin carving contest. So please learn from my mistake, and if you just skim the rest of this post for the photos, read this: if you want your pumpkin to be spray painted, CARVE IT FIRST. I thought it would be better to paint first, and then it petrified my pumpkin! I almost broke a knife trying to stab through it.

You may or may not know this, but I am VERY competitive, and I was convinced I had this one in the bag! There were two categories: scariest pumpkin and most creative pumpkin. I went for most creative with my Wicked PumpkWitch of the West creation. I mean, I made her actually melt! I hope the process I've outlined makes sense, I did freak out in the middle that it might not happen at all and just started doing random things and taking random photos. Enjoy!

These were the original pieces. I'll save you from all the photos I took of the spray paint process, since I didn't actually use this one, but it'll make an appearance later, so I thought I'd introduce you to piece-of-crap-pumpkin. It's named this for obvious reasons. You know, since it didn't tell me that spray painting it would make it unusable.The little gourds were intended to be the nose and ears. I didn't know which nose I would use, so I sprayed both. Barley also wanted to be in the picture:

While I let the spray paint dry, I started on the feet. I got these super cute striped knee high socks at Target, and I worked very hard throughout the process to preserve them so I could wear them after it was all over. First, I stuffed them with a little tissue paper to give them a little life:

Next, I took a sheet of black felt I bought at Michael's and free-hand cut out the shoes and belt buckles.

I then folded the "shoe" pieces in half length-wise and hot glued the edges together. The belt buckle pieces were also glued together. I stuffed the ends of the socks into the "shoes" and then glued the belt buckled on top. But I tried very hard not to get glue on the socks at all!

Now on to the face! This is where I skipped photographing a few steps. Not pictured: Cut a circle into the top of the pumpkin for the lid, making sure to cut at an angle so that the lid doesn't fall into the pumpkin. Then scoop out all the seeds and goop. Scrape the side with a spoon to get all the stringy nastiness out.

I downloaded a "dripping face" template (to make it look like her face was dripping off) from Better Homes and Gardens. I flipped the smiling face into a frown using Adobe Illustrator and then printed it out. Next, I taped the papers to a flat edge of my pumpkin. In the background is my failed attempt to poke through the stencil on the green piece-of-crap-pumpkin. It reminds me of Larry from Veggie Tales.

Next, I poked small holes using an awl, all around the outlines of the template (left). This takes some patience, but goes pretty quickly once you get the hang of it. When I was done I took the paper off (middle) and outlined the eyes and frown made by the holes with a fine marker (right).

Also not pictured- Kim's beautifully sculpted ears! My sister was a huuuuuge help during the process (including a panic trip to Lowe's at 8:30 for more spray paint) She cut a small sqautty pumpkin in half and scooped out the middle to make the ears. Before I spray painted this pumpkin, I secured the ears on the sides and the nose in the front with toothpicks. (I was able to salvage the nose spray painted the night before since it didn't require cutting).

Next, ready for spray paint! (I reused some of the paper from the night before as can be seen on the right wall). Piece-of-crap-pumpkin served as a mighty fine paper weight since it was really windy. Pieces of newspaper were put inside the pumpkin to protect the inside from being painted. I just noticed that it's pictures of Halloween candy. Eery!


Now we're in the homestretch! The following morning (morning of the contest) I woke up really early to add the final touches. First, I flipped the pumpkin over and stapled the socks to the bottom of the pumpkin. I figured stapling would still allow me to wear them later.

After that, I flipped the pumpkin back onto it's bottom to apply the "hair." I used Spanish moss for this, also purchased from Michael's. I just hot glued pieces to the top, just below the lid of the pumpkin, and then stretched the piece out to reach the bottom. This was done all around to cover the back of the pumpkin. I also used little pieces for eyebrows.

Now, to make her melt! I felt this was what made her the Wicked Witch of the West. I used two shades of melted green candle wax and poured it all over her face for the "melting" effect. It also made her smell nice, since one was a green apple scent!

And last but not least, because this is what makes her a witch, the hat! I got it for $1.99 at Target.

So, what do you think? I should have gotten second, right??!?!?! Haha, I am competitive, but I got over it. I won a free "jeans day" of my choice. I think the day I return to work from my vacation in Australia sounds about right. And the reason I say second place, is because my friend who won first soooooooooooo deserved it! I'll post the winners tomorrow, so check back to see what I mean!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN and be safe tonight!

Oh, and leave me a comment to let me know what you think!


Anonymous November 2, 2009 at 11:52 AM  

Hey Girl. Looks great!! The pumpkin I carved is on my facebook page. It is the Blue Bell logo. I did it for my husbands Halloween party. Instead of out lining your poke holes with a marker, I took flour and spread if on the out side of the pumpkin to make the holes show up. Alot easier, but kinda messy.

Kerri Mcbroom Wood

Anonymous November 7, 2009 at 12:40 PM  

Dude, I like! Totally cute, but really, I think your witch should've beat the barfing pumpkin.

That snake pumpkin was amazing, though...who did that?

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About Kelly Tarleton

I've always been a creative person, and the one who always had a camera on-hand at a moment's notice for any occasion. Photography and graphic design dominated my life in school and I loved every minute of it. I miss that constant creative outlet and want to share more of it with my family and friends through this blog.See more of my work at my website:

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