How to Make a Paper Pumpkin

Paper pumpkins

The Spruce / Rita Shehan

How to Make an Easy Paper Pumpkin

Paper pumpkins are relatively easy to make. The three dimensional round pumpkin is made from strips of paper that are glued to a cardboard tube. Use orange paper to create a pumpkin look or use different colors for whatever creative display you have in mind. Show off these cute little pumpkins in your home from the start of fall until Thanksgiving.

Gather the Materials

Supplies needed to make paper pumpkins
The Spruce / Rita Shehan
  • One 12-inch-sheet of colored card stock
  • One 8.5 inches by 11-inch-sheet of green cardstock
  • 1-3/4 inch round paper punch
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard tube measuring 4 inches long
  • Quick-drying tacky glue
  • One 18-inch-long piece of floral wire
  • Green floral tape
  • Leaf template
  • Twig
  • Bone folder
  • Ruler
  • X-Acto Knife (optional)
  • Paper Cutter (optional)

Cut the Outer Pumpkin Strips

Paper strips for a paper pumpkin
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Using a paper cutter, cut five 12-inch-long and 1-inch-wide paper strips from the colored cardstock. If you don't have a paper cutter, you can get good results using an X-Acto knife and ruler. Just make sure to measure and mark one-inch increments lightly with a pencil before you cut your strips.

Cut and Fold the Paper Strips

Cut and folded paper strips
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Cut each paper strip in half using scissors. You should now have 10 six-inch-paper strips. Fold each end of the strips approximately one-quarter inch to the back.

Cover the Cardboard Tube With Paper

Paper strip glued onto toilet paper roll
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Glue a strip of colored cardstock to the paper tube using quick-dry tacky glue. Make sure your paper rectangle is as tall as the tube and about one-quarter inch longer than the circumference of the paper tube. Although you can use any paper tube and cut it down to size, toilet paper tubes are the perfect size for this project.

Glue the Paper Strips Onto the Tube

Strips glued onto a paper tube
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Glue the paper strips onto the paper tube. Place a little bit of glue onto one of the inside folded edges of a paper strip and position the glued edge onto the inner top portion of the tube. Press the paper strip down firmly and allow the glue to dry.

Place tacky glue onto the bottom inner edge of the strip and place the second glued edge inside of the bottom inner edge portion of the paper tube.

Continue gluing paper strips onto the tube, making sure that each strip covers the last strip about a one-quarter inch on the top and bottom edges.

You should have some space between the strips in the middle section of your pumpkin. Glue all 10 paper strips onto the tube.

Cut a Paper Circle

Paper, circle scissors, and a paper punch
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Cut a colored circle with a 1-3/4 inch paper punch. Using scissors with a sharp-pointed tip, cut a small hole into the middle of the paper circle.

Glue the Paper Circle Onto the Top of the Pumpkin

A circle glued onto a paper pumpkin
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Run a line of tacky glue onto the top edge of the cardboard tube. Place the paper circle onto the cardboard tube making sure it is centered. Press down firmly with your finger and allow the glue to dry before proceeding with the next steps.

Cut the Pumpkin Leaves

Scissors, a bone folder and paper leaves
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Download the free PDF template and print the leaves onto the green sheet of cardstock. The download also contains files that are compatible with most digital die cutters.

You then can cut the leaves from the printed sheet by hand with scissors, or you can use your digital die cutter to cut out the leaves.

Score the leaves with a bone folder to mimic the leaf veins, and curl the edges to make the leaves look realistic.

Attach the Leaves and Twig

A paper pumpkin with leaf and stem
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Poke your twig into the center hole on top of the paper pumpkin. We used grapevine to make the pumpkin handle, but any twig you can find in your backyard is perfect. Spread a bit of tacky glue onto the bottom of the twig where it meets the top of the pumpkin and let the glue dry.

Spread some tacky glue onto the bottom of the two leaves and place the leaves firmly in place on top of the pumpkin. Allow the glue to dry before continuing to the next steps.

Make the Pumpkin Tendrils

A wrapped floral wire around a pen
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Wrap one piece of 18-inch floral wire with two layers of green floral tape. If you have never worked with floral tape before, you can view this YouTube video for helpful instructions.

Coil the wrapped wire around a pen or pencil and pull the coil gently off when finished. Cut the coil into two pieces with scissors. Bend and lengthen the floral wire coils a bit to give them an organic look and feel. These will be the tendrils of your paper pumpkin.

Glue the Tendrils

Paper pumpkin tops
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

Apply tacky glue to the bottom of the tendril and place firmly onto the top of the paper pumpkin. Glue and attach the second tendril to the top of the paper pumpkin. Do not touch the pumpkin until the glue is dry, because the tendrils may fall off. If the coils do wobble and fall, hold them for a while with your fingers until the glue firms up and the coils can stand upright on their own.

Home Decor for the Fall Season

A set of paper pumpkins
The Spruce / Rita Shehan

You now have the cutest pumpkins that will last for the entire fall season! Decorate your coffee table, create a festive holiday tablescape, or make a bunch to place around shelving and mantels.