Featured List

Prepare To Be Dazzled...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

...by my "beadazzled" pumpkin!!


Here it is in the sunlight:

And here it is lit up inside:

Now, wanna see how I did it??

Oooof course you do.


First, I printed out my pattern and taped it to the foam pumpkin (no, it's not real. Sorry.):

Next I used a nail to poke holes through the paper to transfer the pattern. (You can also use a thumb tack or needle.)

It's hard to see, but here's the transferred pattern:

Next is the messy part: using the Dremel. Using the smallest engraving bit they sell, I carved out the lines of my pattern.

I did this in the garage, because that dust gets *everywhere* and sticks fast. Which also means you need an immediate shower afterward. Hellooo, itchy!

My main issue when carving with the Dremel was the depth: I didn't carve the lines deep enough at first, and so had to keep going back over them. I recommend keeping a flashlight on hand to check your line depth as you go.

Also, because the Dremel is incredibly high speed, it has a tendency to grab and spin out in directions you don't want it to go. My hand soon became a clawed death grip from hanging on to it: I had to take frequent breaks to shake my numb fingers out. (Usually while intoning, "Ooooo, the claaAAaaaaw!!" 'cuz I'm a geek.)

Here you can see how my bit is buried a good quarter inch into the foam while I carve. These Funkins are thick, so don't be afraid to carve your lines deep.

For the rivets on the bot's body and feet, I used a tiny bit to drill all the way through the pumpkin. (My holes are so small you can't see them very well, though; I may have to re-do them.) I also carved out larger holes for his buttons and antenna.

Once I finished the bot, I took a few days to brainstorm ways to jazz up the rest of the pumpkin. I knew I wanted to embed colored beads in it somehow, to give it an old-school Lite Brite feel. Eventually I settled on a fireworks-style spiral, and enlisted John's help in drawing the pattern for me.

I transferred John's pinwheel pattern using a nail to mark only the spots I wanted to drill through. Then, using a drill bit the exact size of the beads, John bored through the first few tricky spots where the holes were especially close together:

Once he finished the center holes, I used a cordless drill to finish the rest. (You could do them all by hand with the drill bit, but it would take a while.) This was also tricky: our big drill is heavy, and holding it and the pumpkin steady was hard work. John could have done it perfectly in no time, of course, but I'm stubborn and wanted to do it myself.

Not perfect by a long shot, but dang it, I did 'em myself!

And finally, the fun part: sticking the beads in!

If you make your holes exactly the right size, then your beads should fit snugly, no glue needed. Each of my fireworks uses three colors: light blue, blue, and green, and yellow, orange, red. The mid tones don't show up well in this photo, but they look bright and beautiful in person:

Here's a better shot of the red spiral lit up:

I also inserted beads in the bot's buttons, antennae, and eyes, to make them sparkle:

The eye beads are clear tri-head beads, inserted sideways.

And finally, here's our first test pumpkin:

Which actually looks better in the light, I think:

The eyes are blue glass gems inserted sideways, and the antenna is another gem glued to the inside. Don't they look great against the orange?

If you'd like to try any of this yourself, here are the beads and gems I used:

The beads (in the glass jar) are plastic 6mm ones from JoAnn's. That bag of nearly 500 cost less than $2. The gems are the glass drops usually used to fill vases for flower arrangements, which you can find almost anywhere.

I still have more beads and larger gems that I want to experiment with, plus a *real* pumpkin to carve this week, so you may be getting more pumpkin pictures soon. (My favorite idea so far? Constellations. Wouldn't it be cool to make a pumpkin planetarium?!?)

In the meantime, can you guys help me find some great Lite Brite style designs for inspiration? I'd love to do a geometric pattern or simple shapes using lots of color, but I'm at a loss for a great pattern. (Although I did see a nice Pac Man design somewhere...) If you have any ideas, please share them in the comments. If I don't get to it this week, at least I'll have some ideas lined up for next year!

Posted by Jen at 6:19 PM Labels:


  1. Absolutely precious! LOVE it!!

  2. cute stuff! <3 the old school lite brite feel.

  3. That is the cutest pumpkin EVER! How about a Star Wars theme for the next one?

  4. fantastic! And you can make your own printable patterns here: http://www.hasbro.com/litebrite/swf/litebrite.cfm

  5. WOW!! I *love* it!! It's Beautiful!!

  6. I love them! The lit beads and gems are wonderfully creative.

  7. That is awesome!! I really haven't been in the Halloween mood this year, not sure why. But after seeing your design, I want to carve some pumpkins!!

  8. That looks AWESOME! Love how you used the glass beads sideways!
    Amanda H
    (SB, California)

  9. I think the test pumpkin and the second pumpkin with the fireworks display both look great! What a clever idea to do a litebrite-y pumpkin!

  10. Way cool. And you can use them year after year... bonus! I love those complex templates, but since we do real pumpkins and I'm a clod, it probably won't go much beyond the simplistic cuts.

  11. So stinkin' cute. You come up with such clever ideas!

  12. I think using a foam pumpkin is a great idea - it'll last for years, and that's a fair amount of work you put into it. Plus, no slime! :-)

    Lori in Portland

    (WV: mashw - They did the Mashw, they did the Monster Mashw...)

  13. That is the coolest pumpkin ever! I have NEVER thought of using beads to make the light colourful! :-O !!

    Awesome. Just awesome.

  14. Your pumpkins are really neat! You asked for lite brite designs, and this music video has some awesome lite brite designs


    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

  15. wow, Jen and John, how very cool! Great work! Love the addition of beads to sparkle things up a bit!! you are just so darn creative!

    The EPBOT Robot looks awesome on a pumpkin


  16. Jen, you are so creative! I LOVE the bedazzled pumpkin...awesome, awesome, awesome! I am so trying that with my foam pumpkin. :)

  17. I carve a foam pumpkin while my kids do a real one every year, and yes the "sawdust" gets everywhere. also they sell kits with plastic golf tee things that are clear plastic it comes with a mallet and you can just pound them in your pattern.

  18. Very nice job, especially for your first one! Love the addition of the beads to add some colour :)

    Just as a tip, you can print your design on tracing paper (I have to tape it to a sheet of regular paper in order to get it to feed through) and then glue it to the pumpkin using either a watered down glue mixture or some spray glue. If you use spray glue and let it sit for a minute or two before putting it on the pumpkin it's easier to take off later. Then you can just use the dremel and carve right through the paper and not bother with all the pinpricks.

    You also want to hold your dremel further up the body of it rather than close to the tip, or if you'd like to do more carving with it (either pumpkins or other things, I use mine on wooden boxes too) then you can look into a flex shaft and stand that will make it much more like using an engraving pen.

  19. Hey Jen, I know how much you love steampunk so I knew I had to show you this. It's a steampunk dress-up game: http://www.ammotu.deviantart.com/#/d31aeya

    I love Epbot and Cake Wrecks! You rock!!!

  20. How about actually getting lite brite refill pack, with real light brite pegs and designs. I'll bet that would be pretty cool.
    Love the bot, he's absolutely precious!

  21. Truly awesome! And yes, a pumpkin planetarium would be amazing - like those gadgets that display the constellations on ceilings and walls for home use!!

  22. This isn't a pumpkin, but it is lite brite and it is REALLY Awesome. This post explains how they did it, and at the bottom is the video. And the song is pretty cool too.

  23. here is a flickr image of a lite-brite pumpkin cat

    here are a few others

    also like the idea of a web and a jeweled spider

    apparently this company sells a bead kit on amazon for pumpkin carving and on their website that had these cool images of pumpkins that give off a shadow in the back, different from the front. take a look

  24. I think we may be hand twins.
    Of course, I cannot find any pictures of my hand in the same pose as yours, so you'll just have to take my word for it, but it is uncanny. =D

  25. Great job, Jen! Thanks for sharing.
    My O'Lantern last year was the winking smiley emoticon ;o) dot-drilled, and I used battery operated christmas lights stuck in the holes to illuminate it.

  26. Love the beads- so creative :) Might have to try it myself! Although here in Ye Olde Englande I don't think we have any foam pumpkins to play with..

  27. Maybe this gives you some ideas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8cAU475dQo

  28. Now I really want to decorate a pumpkin with lite brite pegs. :)

  29. A nice job, cool... I like it but don't let the deer or moose eat it until all the beads are removed.

  30. Whoa! That's super cute! I too have been wanting to create a 'lite brite' pumpkin this year as well. Never considered using beads till now. Ever tried real lite brite pegs? Just wondering if they'd work.

  31. Ha! The Claw! I thought I was the only one!

  32. Epbot pumpkin = WIN. That is all. :D

  33. I thought you had used Lite Brite pegs when I saw the pic. Great work!

  34. Awesome! My funkins are not nearly as geeky or as thick, apparently. I think the walls of mine are about 1/4" thick. I had to be super careful when cutting through (with the exacto attachment for my soldering iron). I was wondering how to do the whole shading/not cutting through idea, and you've answered my question! Love the beads idea. I'll have to save that for next year.

  35. What kind of light did you use inside the pumpkin? I did a design on mine that go all the way through and can't seem to get enough light inside of it to get it to glow. (I put a candle in it but it went out because there wasn't enough air without holes in the pumpkin.) Thanks!

  36. I am definitely dazzled! VERY clever! Can't wait to see your next pumpkin project. I have about a billion of those plastic beads--now I know how to put them to good use! Thanks!

  37. P.S. It's "planeh-arium" per South Park, BTW.

  38. @ Cyndi - John found a directional LED puck light for the inside. It's meant for under-the-cabinet lighting, and it's battery powered.

    It's extremely bright, but even so I had to aim it right at the design to get that much brilliance. Definitely don't bother with a candle, though; it's a hazard *and* too dim to do much good.

  39. If you're feeling particularly geometric, you could always try the Torchwood logo. I think that's what I might be doing this year, but I don't have any beads to work with...

  40. Wow!! I LOVE this! It made me feel both incredibly happy AND insanely stupid. I had the bright idea to carve a Day of the Dead mask into a pumpkin - except instead of only doing a survace carving (which makes soooo much more sense) I just sawed right in and bascially the entire thing collasped.

    I do still have one pumpkin left so maybe I'll attempt to redeem myself and my carving abilities and try it again.

    This post has encouraged me to solider on!!

  41. I love your little bot pumpkin!

    Last night I carved a pumpkin (first time in probably 20 years) and did a cute little squirrel. I'd forgotten how much fun (and work) carving a pumpkin is.:-)

  42. "The claw! The claw is our master. The claw decides who will go and who will stay!"

    Pumpkin looks awesome. I have a Lite Brite, and never thought of using the pegs on a pumpkin. Hmmm...

  43. Love love love it! And I especially love that it's a foam pumpkin so you can keep it---it's so sad to get a pumpkin carved perfectly and then watch it get all rotten. :(

    And the constellation idea is fantastic...we're carving pumpkins this week and I may have to think along those lines...there's nothing better than a planetarium. :)

  44. That is awesome. I'm totally inspired now. I need to fit in a trip to Joann's this week. Great work!

  45. I'm torn between loving you, because this site is just way awesome....and hating you, because my kids were lucky we carved ONE pumpkin and used the plastic sitck-in things on the others this year. (I did promise the boys that next year they can each carve their own, lol)

    Seriously...I wish I was crafty. <3 you!

  46. That is incredible and a nice twist on an already fun craft.

  47. ooh, awesome, I'm gonna use that technique for my TARDIS o'lantern!

  48. I bet light bright pegs would work to do that too. I have a couple of billion laying around the house that I step on regularly.

  49. Jen, love your pumpkin! :)

    Just a quick tip for folks! When poking the pattern holes into your pumpkin, I use a meat thermometer. It is a lot easier to hold onto than the ones that come in the carving kits, and the end doesn't get dull.

  50. It reminds me of Lite Brite. Thanks Jen, now I miss my Lite Brite. However, I wonder if I could "Lite Brite" my pumpkin...hmmm...

  51. I skimmed the comments and didn't see this link anywhere:


    8 posts total there, but one of them is Pac-Man and the ghosts. :)

    I love this blog!

  52. Thanks for the inspiration Jen! I used your lite-brite idea to embellish my entry for my office carving contest. I found these fantastic blinky stars to add a bit more bling and possibly a few seizures.

  53. It reminds me of a litebrite!!


Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>

Related Posts with Thumbnails