Friday, September 25, 2015

How to weigh down foam pumpkins

Our family lives east of Seattle in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Between the beautiful mountain views and the wildlife, we absolutely love living here.
But there is one thing about living here that can cause a few problems. In fall and winter we get super strong winds. We have to secure anything and everything outside unless we want it to show up two blocks away after a storm.
That means securing any decorations that we have up for the current holiday. Right now, that means weighing down the foam pumpkins that we have on our front porch.
I played around with a few different methods before I came up with the one below. This only works with foam pumpkins that are uncarved. I'm still working on a foolproof method for carved foam pumpkins.
Here are the tools you'll need to weigh down your uncarved foam pumpkins:
  • drill - I use a Porter Cable PC1800D that was a Consumer Reports best buy at the time. I highly recommend Porter Cable drills and it looks like this one is the comparable version available today. You definitely want to get the two battery model so you can charge one battery while using another.
  • 2"+ hole saw drill bit (the ones I use are a bit older and are orange)
  • piece of paper or a funnel
  • heavy duty large plastic bags - I used lawn and leaf bags from Costco (for large pumpkins) or gallon sized freezer bags (for smaller pumpkins)
  • heavy duty craft scissors
  • fine sand - I used paving sand
Make sure that you work outside in a well ventilated area. This produces a lot of dust!
First, turn your foam pumpkin over on your lap (protect the stem!). If your pumpkin already has a hole at the bottom, you can skip this step. Use the drill to drill a hole into the bottom of your pumpkin.  NOTE: this is a lot harder said than done and it produces a lot of dust. I recommend easing up on the choke so you're not going at it full throttle. It cuts much easier that way.
This will get foam dust everywhere! I had to shake my pants out when I was finished.
Then take your plastic bag and stuff it into the pumpkin with the open end facing out.
Next, take your funnel or piece of paper and roll it up to fit in the hole. I used a large cup to slowly pour the sand in. Make sure that you go slowly! This produces a lot of dust, and if you go too fast you'll plug up your funnel.
Every few cup fulls, I'll pick up the pumpkin and feel how heavy it is. My goal is to make it as heavy as an actual pumpkin.
When you've got it as heavy as you'd like, get as much air out of the plastic bag as you can and twist up the rest of the bag like this:
Now knot it at least twice, and as close to the sand as possible. You want it super secure so that no sand leaks out. Then cut off the excess bag with your scissors and tuck the knotted part in. I like to also push the knot to one side so that it's not always coming out when you pick up the pumpkin.
If you're using a gallon sized freezer bag for smaller pumpkins, just seal up bag tightly and tuck the end in.
Turn the pumpkin over and put it wherever you like. And make sure that you never ever pick up your pumpkin by the stem! If you do have a stem break off, this glue works best to secure it back on.
You now have a weighted pumpkin that you can use year after year and won't blow off your porch during a storm.

Happy decorating!

No comments:

Post a Comment