Crafts,  decorating

How NOT to Make a Book Pumpkin

This is a cautionary tale should you fall down the Pinterest hole of comparison inspiration and decide you too need to join the throngs of DIYers making book pumpkins. As I did.

Please heed these warnings.

STEP 1: Put one foot on the slippery slope to a moral abyss. 

To cut a book apart you’re going to have to throw your moral compass out the window. Let’s just be frank about that. It doesn’t matter how bad the book is, one simply does not cut a book apart. To loosen yourself up for the slide down this slippery moral slope, might I suggest doing something equally egregious, like double-dipping your chip in some salsa? In public. While eating with non-family.

STEP 2: Procure a book to cut apart.

I did not have any books I could slay on the sacrificial table of decorating. Why? Well, moving books to Ireland seemed like a bad idea – unless they were my kids’ books. And while I’m willing to double-dip my chip in the salsa, I’m not willing to cut up a Dr. Seuss book. Although, I’ve thought about it…every single time I’ve read all 72 pages of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. Kids don’t pick Dr. Seuss books because they are fantastic stories (although they are). They pick them because a long book is the best bedtime delaying tactic ever.

The Junk Whisperer told me to just buy a book at a thrift shop. And I did wander in and see some suitable books for a buck. But a buck? For a book I’m going to cut up? I needed to think about how committed I was to this dastardly DIY endeavor.

Then, lo and behold, the heavens provided me an answer. I kid you not, I leave the thrift shop and walk to my kids’ school and what do I see on top of the trashcan by the school? A PAPERBACK BOOK! Is this not a sign? Come on. This is a sign.

I did a pass-by to see what the book was all about. The title was The Only Way to Stop Smoking Permanently. It’s clear why someone didn’t need the book any longer, but… this was not what I was expecting. Why couldn’t it have been a bodice-ripping romance?

I don’t know these moms. I’d like to make a good impression. They already think most Americans have lost their ever-loving minds. I don’t want them to think I’m a smoker too. I’m not.

But I couldn’t ignore this free book! Hello? Signs from the universe and all that.

With that in mind, I decided I had to be cool about swiping the book. The only problem with this is A: I’m not cool and B: I don’t have experience swiping things.

Here’s how it went down. I unzipped my backpack, casually sauntered by the garbage can for the fifth time and then as quick as I could, grabbed the book and shoved it in my backpack. PHEW!

About 10 seconds later I was having a panic attack because I had just taken a free “how to stop smoking” book. That means it probably came from a smoker and it could smell like smoke. Clearly, I did not think this through. I didn’t want to smell like smoke. So now I’m trying to discreetly sniff my backpack to see if it smells.

And people ask me if I’ve made friends here yet.

STEP 3: Leave “stop smoking” book out at home and see how long it takes your husband to notice.

Spoiler alert. After a day I gave up and asked my husband if he thought it was weird that there was a “how to stop smoking” book in the foyer. His response was something akin to “huh?”

Well played, Handy Husband. Well played.

STEP 4: Read about how to make a book pumpkin.

I read a bunch of online tutorials on how to make a book pumpkin. They were all pretty much the same. Make a template, cut the book with a craft knife, blah, blah, you’ll have the best decorated home EVER.

I decided to wing it. Off came the cover of the book and I used one of these scribbles lines to make a template.


STEP 5: Get to work.

Settle in with some Netflix and start cutting away at your book. I would recommend not using a book as thick as The Only Way to Stop Smoking Permanently.

I lasted approximately 7 1/2 minutes before I decided this was a waste of time. Cutting the pages with a craft knife was taking FOREVER.

This is where the rails might have come off the project. I decided to get out the scissors. 7 1/2 minutes later, I was done.

My pumpkin shape was a little wonky, I admit. Keeping the template in place while holding the book open to cut the pages was tricky. Nothing I couldn’t trim away though – if I had the patience.

The bigger problem was the book wasn’t fanning evenly all the way around. I actually blame this part on a few pages at the back of the “stop smoking” book that absorbed moisture while it waited for me to rescue it off the garbage can. There’s some irony in there…


STEP 6: Do some damage control to salvage this project. 

I paper-clipped the book in place to help train the pages to fan more evenly. Then I ignored this project for a week. It really wasn’t looking like it would turn out well. Maybe I missed something in the directions? Or the execution? Oh, and yes. I was making an assumption that book pages are trainable.

You know what they say about assumptions.

The other unknown in this scenario was the glue gun. I had brought my glue gun from the good ol’ US of A, but I haven’t tried to use it yet. Trying to use the blender didn’t go so well (boom, sparks, little details like that). Using this device was going to be a wing and a prayer and a power adapter type situation.

Thankfully, it worked.

I found an interesting looking stick on one of the bushes in our yard to use as the pumpkin’s stem. More character is exactly what this project needed.

I hot glued the stem in place and then glued the book pages together to hold the pumpkin’s shape in place.

Here’s how it turned out.

It looks okay from this angle.

And here’s how it went wrong.

I compare it to looking at yourself in the mirror. From the front you look so put together – even you hair is cooperating, but then you forget to check the rear view and don’t know your skirt is tucked into your waistband and everyone can see your granny panties.

That’s this book pumpkin. Flashing the granny panties.

I could not get the book to fan evenly all the way around. Maybe it was the moisture? Maybe the scissors? Maybe the page training gone awry? Maybe all the patience I applied to this project?

Whatever it was. Don’t be like me.

Just spend a buck to get a bodice-ripping romance book or some other more cooperative book at the thrift store.

If there is a moral to this story, I’m not sure what it is. I am happy I can cross this project off my crafting bucket list though. And it will never be put on the list again.

Most of my crafts are cautionary tales, but I do enjoy it! Here are some others…

Braided Denim Pumpkin

Paper Pumpkins

Halloween Book Covers

Leather Map from Old Boots

Golf Ball Pumpkins

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