Creating DIY Pumpkins With a Realistic Looking Stem

I'm aware that painting fake pumpkins isn't anything new. But my problem is that even after painting a plastic pumpkin, it still looks, well, plastic. The basic plastic cut stem is always going to give it away. I set out on a mission to create a realistic looking DIY stem to take my chalk painted pumpkins from ordinary to extraordinary. And you can do it to!
These pumpkins were painted with chalk paint and aged with antiquing wax. But the real beauty comes from their DIY stems.
I started with a bunch of small unmatched pumpkins from Hobby Lobby. You can also do this on large pumpkins. For these pictures, I did the stem and then painted the pumpkin, but it really doesn't matter which order you do the process in.
I used sisal for this project, but you could also use twine. Cut the sisal into small strips. Separate the twisted rope into individual pieces or twists of two or three coils. Fray the ends and attach them onto the stem of the pumpkin with your hot glue gun.
Go the whole way around the stem of the pumpkin.
To form the stem, add a little glue into the center of the strips of sisal, attaching everything together. You don't need to glue the entire strip, but just every so often to secure the pieces. If you want the stem to bend or twist, just add a little more glue to fold the stem over.
Cut your stem off at the length you desire. To make the stem look a little more real, I left a few strands of the sisal longer than the stem like it was just ripped out of the pumpkin patch.
Coat the entire stem with Mod Podge, then cover it in cinnamon just as though you were glittering something. You don't need good cinnamon.....the version sold at the dollar store is perfect. Allow the Mod Podge to dry.
After the Mod Podge has dried, brush the excess cinnamon off of the stem and pumpkin. Then coat the entire stem again with Mod Podge. Do not cover it in cinnamon this time. Everything will become hard. Some of the cinnamon may get brushed off, but that is okay. Allow the stem to dry again.
When it is dry, you may want to use some fine grit sand paper to rough up the stem a bit exposing some of the sisal.
You can them paint your pumpkins or leave them as they are. I enjoyed using all different colors of paint to make an interesting collection.
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Shirley
    on Jul 19, 2018

    Love this! Will definitely try these great looking stem. I would really like to learn more about the painting technique you used on these pumpkins. They look great! Where can I learn how you’ve created these beauties?

  • Bink
    on Nov 11, 2018

    How did you get the ends of the stem to fit so nicely onto the pumpkin. In all of the pics, the stem looks like it is not attached to the pumpkin and then at the end, it looks like it came out of the pumpkin. What did you do?

    • Rynn
      on Aug 11, 2020

      I am thinking that the stem also began to look more life-like after the cinnamon was put onto the ModPadge. And maybe the cinnamon around the base also makes it look like it is truly 'growing' out of the pumpkin. Love these adorable Fall decor ideas.

Join the conversation

2 of 80 comments
  • Charli
    on Oct 7, 2020

    Very interesting and just so COOL! LOVE them!

  • Nancy
    on Nov 16, 2020

    Loved your idea for stems I want to make velvet pumpkins and wondered how to do stems! Thank you!!!

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