October 16, 2012

Vintage Style Folk Art Black Cat Halloween Bucket
(made from a $1 plastic pumpkin)

One of my favorite characters from vintage Halloween folk art is the black cat ~ always sporting a mischievous look and a cheeky grin.  


Last year, I transformed a trio of styrofoam pumpkins from the dollar store into paper mache folk art.  

This year, with the same $1 budget in mind, I set to work on a classic blown plastic jack-o-lantern treat bucket -- the same jolly guy that's been around since I was a kid.  


Although I'm nostalgic for his familiar orange mug, I thought it would be fun to transform him into a wiley black cat.  So, one afternoon, my daughter and I grabbed an old newspaper and our Mod Podge and set to work...

Vintage-style Halloween Folk Art Black Cat

  • 1 blown-plastic pumpkin treat bucket, any color
  • Newspaper
  • Mod Podge or Paper Mache paste
  • Ear template (download HERE)
  • Heavy card stock or a manilla folder for the ears
  • pencil and scissors
  • Paint brushes of various sizes
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Assorted acrylic paints and/or paint pens
  • Awl or bamboo skewer
  • Heavy black wire (I used a 16 gauge flat aluminum wire)
  • Wire cutters
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • 1 piece dowel
  • hand saw
  • drill

Step 1:  Remove the plastic handle.  Apply bits of newspaper and Mod Podge or paper mache paste to the entire exterior of the pumpkin.  We actually found that a paint brush worked better than the foam brush.  Set aside to dry.

Step 2:  Trace ear pattern on to heavy card stock or a manilla folder.  Cut out, then fringe ends as shown in picture to allow for the ear to curve.  Set in place on the pumpkin (align behind the holes for the handle so that when the new handle is attached, it won't interfere with the ears), then attach with your adhesive.  Paper mache over the ears.  Set aside to dry.

Please ignore the fact that the pumpkin is already black.  Truth be told, I forgot to add the ears during the initial paper mache stage.

Step 3:  Paint entire exterior of the pumpkin black.  Set aside to dry.

Step 4:  Paint a cheeky cat face.  Mine was a composite of various vintage folk art cats that I looked at online. Optional:  paint the inside of the pumpkin with a vintage orange color to disguise the plastic.

Step 5:  Use an awl or bamboo skewer to  punch through the original holes for the handle.

Step 6:  Cut a 3.5" segment of dowel.  Drill a hole all the way through the center of the dowel (size of hole will depend on the size of your wire).

Step 7:  With wire cutters, cut an 18" segment of wire.  Thread through the dowel.

Step 8:  Thread one end of the wire through one of the small holes in the top of the pumpkin.  Go in through the outside, and back up through the large opening.  Repeat with opposite end of wire on opposite side of pumpkin.  Once you have the dowel handle centered, wrap the loose end of each wire once around itself to secure.  Trim, then crimp with needle-nose pliers.

Step 9:  Paint dowel and touch up any remaining areas.

This post has been linked-up with the 
Uncommonly Yours Party @ Uncommon Designs 


  1. Thanks for sharing, some how I missed your pumpkin last year, love these two !! The cat has always been my favorite too ! E

  2. Cute and festive for sure :) Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBB Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 3 post on Oct. 17, 2012. Thanks again.

  4. I loved your folk art pumpkins and your cat basket is also just adorable!

  5. FABULOUS !!
    We don't celebrate Halloween, but these are really sooooooooooo cute.
    I LOVE the black cat

  6. OMG! You have really rocked my world with 2 fantastic projects. I have had 4 black cats in my life (all rescues. All black or all white cats are the hardest to place for adoption)so I have a special place in my heart for these little cuties. I am sooooo going to make both of your projects. Tip of the hat to you for your creative vision. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Oh my so so love it will be watching for these to go on clearance thank u for sharing

  8. Your pumpkin/kitty turned out super cute. What a great tutorial! I'm sharing over on my FB!

  9. This looks like Felix the cat!! (you might be too young to remember him though...)

    Love it!!

  10. This is great!! I am going to have to make this for next year.

  11. Hi Jenn, what a lovely easy way to update my Halloween decorations. They will feature in my porch of horrors on 31st. In Limerick Ireland, my neighbours will love them!

  12. What a cute idea! It turned out great! Nice detailed tutorial also!
    Kim @ Sand & Sisal

  13. That is fun! Way better than my chipped off pink pumpkin I give me kid!

  14. This is just amazing, Jenn! You are so awesome at capturing the vintage look and feel. LOVE the cat!

  15. Great tutorial! This is such a cute craft - I love this cat's smile!!

  16. Love it! I'm a fan of that vintage look. I'll be making the cat, then trying a more vintage pumpkin next. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  17. I love it! You have such a talent, I am going to the store today and going to try and make this. Thank you so much, I love your blog, can't wait to see what you have in store for other holidays.


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