Turn your old sweaters, or thrift store finds, into adorable pumpkins for fall or Thanksgiving decorating with this SIMPLE, no-sew project! One sweater easily becomes five pumpkins with the snip of your scissors.
I might have a problem. I’m completely OBSESSED with this simple new project! You don’t even wanna know how many I’ve made so far… because they are THAT EASY!
I love decorating for fall, but getting enough pumpkins to make an impact ain’t cheap. Until now. Thanks to the power of upcycling, I made all five of these pumpkins for less than $4.
Recently AnnMarie and I went to Vintage Market Days and I saw the cutest little pumpkins made from sweaters. But they were selling for $8 for one small one! I loved how they looked and knew I could make them myself.
And I’m not sure who’s more surprised, AnnMarie or me, that I actually did it instead of just thinking about it! 🤣 Making these adorable sweater pumpkins was just as simple as I thought, so now I’m sharing it with you.
How to Make Sweater Pumpkins
Do you have some old sweaters lying around your house? If so, you’re in luck! I had recently cleaned out our closets and donated our old sweaters (curse you, Marie Kondo!), so I took a quick trip to our local thrift store. Women’s sweaters were only $3 apiece!
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All you need:
- Old sweaters in the colors and textures of your choice
- jute twine
- polyester fiberfill stuffing
The size of your pumpkins will depend on the size of sweaters you use. Want smaller pumpkins? Hit up the children’s section. Jonesing for a big one? Go get an XL men’s (or larger!).
I love that you can choose colors and textures to work within the color scheme of your choice! Prefer bright colors? Neutrals? Pastels? No problem! And you can use different colors of jute twine for the stems to change things up too.
Cut up your sweaters
The number of pumpkins you can make from each sweater depends on the size of the sweater you’re working with. I can generally make five pumpkins from a medium-sized women’s sweater.
Each sleeve can make 1-2 pumpkins depending on how tall you want them and the length of the sleeve.
Here are the top parts of the sleeves. And I cut the bottom part of the sweater off to make a larger pumpkin. This particular sweater had a zipper that went halfway down the back, otherwise, I could have made an even larger pumpkin!
Assemble the body of your pumpkin
Start off by turning the sleeve inside out.
Cut a piece of the twine, about 4-6 inches long. Then gather up the cut edge…
Now tie the twine TIGHTLY about one inch down. I used a square knot (right over left, left over right). I’ve seen some people recommend using a rubber band to cinch the base of the sweater pumpkin. But I’ve also seen rubber bands get dry rotted and I want these to last as long as possible! Now turn the sleeve right side out and you’re ready to start stuffing it!
Stuff your pumpkin
Instead of grabbing a huge wad of stuffing, use smaller clumps. I’m not sure why. But way back in 7th-grade Home Ec, that’s what my teacher told us to do. Old habits die hard.
Once you’ve got a few clumps of stuffing added, flip over your pumpkin and squoosh the end in just a little bit. This is how you shape your pumpkin. I wanted the bottom to be a little flat. I found smooshing the knotted part in a bit, almost like it’s a doughnut kinda shape, worked best.
Then continue adding stuffing until your sweater sleeve is as full as you want it to be. Cut another piece of twine, about the same length as before.
And tie the top of the pumpkin tightly. Be sure to tie it so there’s no empty space above the stuffing.
Add ribs to give your pumpkin shape
Cut three pieces of twine that are long enough to wrap around the pumpkins like this:
Wrap the twine so that it’s spaced out and creates six sections. Then use the piece of twine that you used to tie the top to wrap around the stem again and tie it off. It’s even kinda cute like this!
How to create your stem
To create the appearance of a stem, you’re going to use more twine.
Don’t cut the twine off the spool! Just wrap the end around the base of the “stem” and secure it with another square knot. Leave a 2-inch tail. Then pull up on all the edges of the “ribs” so they sink into the stuffing.
Gather up all those pieces of twine (except for the one tail) and hold them in place as part of the stem. Then start wrapping the twine in a single layer tightly around to create the stem.
Keep wrapping until you’re almost at the top. You can shape the stem a bit while you’re wrapping it to give it a little bend. And now you keep on wrapping the twine back towards the base of the stem. This is how you’ll cover up any bits that may be showing through.
Cut the twine and use the tail that you left hanging out to tie off the twine with another square knot. Then trim the tails close. The cut edges disappear into the gathers at the base.
Now take your scissors and trim off the top edges of the sleeve so that the ends are flush with the top of the twine.
And that’s it! Just repeat that basic process for all the rest of the sweater. It’s taken me WAY longer to type out how to make these pumpkins than it took to actually make one!
You can style all of them together like I did here in this display, or mix them in with other pumpkins throughout your home. You can see how I used 13 of them on my fall fireplace mantel. And check out how AnnMarie used them to style a gorgeous fall tiered tray!
Now go make some pumpkins of your own! And share how they turned out with us. You can email us a picture, or post them on Instagram or Facebook and tag @simply2moms so we can see!
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