DIY Pumpkins: Reuse Plastic Bottles for Fall Decor

Reduce your single-use plastic at home and turn plastic drink bottles into cute pumpkin shaped fall decorations. This tutorial is a great way to reuse plastic bottles and is entirely made with materials I’m 99.9 % sure you already have at home.

The first day of fall is also the official start of the pumpkin craze. There’s just something about shiny, orange pumpkins that fills our harts with joy.

From that moment, all the way up to Thanksgiving, pumpkin decorations are a must in every fall-loving home.

A carved pumpkin at the front door, pumpkins on your mantelpiece, a pumpkin pie baking in the oven, and a pumpkin filled buffet on the dinner table, including tiny pumpkin-shaped decorations.

In our home there was none of that, until now. Unless you count the Pumpkin Face Masks I wear on my face.

The story behind these upcycled plastic pumpkins started a little different though. It started with me holding 2 empty plastic bottles in my hands.

We’re slowly but surely turning our household into a plastic free zone. For example, we take coffee cups and reusable water bottles with us wherever we go.

So you see, the fact that I was holding not one but two empty water bottles in my hands was a rare occasion. But I had received new products to try, and I’m a sucker for free gifts.

The box contained two delicious flavored waters. And even though their packaging was 100 % recyclable, it didn’t feel true to the story I’m trying to share with my readers.

So I decided to reuse the plastic bottles and give them a second life first!

This pumpkin is entirely made with ‘thrash’ from around my home, from the shell, to the leaf and stem, all the way to its orange insides. You won’t believe the things you can upcycle when you look at ‘stuff’ from a different perspective!

How To Think like a Recycle Geek

The first step is to gather our materials. This isn’t a “here’s a list, go find/buy all the items and come back”- kinda tutorial.

This perfect Thanksgiving or Fall centerpiece for your table decorations is made entirely from upcycled materials. The outside is made from recycled single use plastic bottles! DIY Tutorial by The Makeup Dummy #zerowasteliving #zerowastetutorial #pumpkindecor

This is a “Get creative and think outside the box”- kinda tutorial. Although, the first (and most important) material you’ll need is an easy one.

From Single-use to Pumpkin Shape

The shape of the pumpkin is created with 2 single-use, clear plastic bottles. The bottles will need that typical ‘flower’-like pattern at the bottom. However, as this is what keeps the bottle stand up, most bottles will have this.

The idea behind this tutorial is to reduce waste and look for creative ways to upcycle ‘thrash’ at home. If you don’t have single use plastic bottles at your house, ask neighbors, friends and/or family to keep theirs for you.

Turn Up the Orange

When you say pumpkin, you automatically think of bright orange.

Of course there’s no ‘rule’ that says your pumpkin needs to be orange. You can make a pumpkin for each color of the rainbow, or match the color of your pumpkin tot the rest of your interior decorations.

My first plan was to paint the inside of the recycled bottles with orange paint. Another plan was to glue orange paper strips on the inside of each dome.

But once your eye starts looking for a particular color, you’ll see it everywhere. For example, our gluten-free oats are sold in an orange bag. I just cut the packaging into strips and voila!

Now, it would be very coincidental if you happen to have the same of brand of oats at home. So here’s a list of materials you can upcycle:

  • Orange colored wrappings from cans or jans (Hello, pumpkin pie filling!)
  • An old orange t-shirt or rags cut into strips
  • Orange ribbon or yarn
  • Magazine pages with lots of orange in them, cut into strips
  • Orange plastic bottle caps
  • Orange fabric scraps

And I’m sure you can come up with many more!

Always use clean items, so no wrappings from wet food items, or packaging that has gotten wet or dirty while cooking. Make sure you can easily wipe them and clean them before using the upcycled material for this craft.

The Recycled Stem on Top

Now we have our globe, and we have giving it its orange contents. The final step is to add a stem and leaf.

I made the stem from the paper roll that holds our cat’s poop bags. And the leaf is made from wrapping paper that came with a delivery.

You can fabricate a stem and leaf from all sorts of things:

  • old book pages
  • magazine pages
  • paper bags
  • skewers
  • twigs
  • thick straws

Now that you will never look at your thrash the same way again, it’s time to reuse some plastic bottles and start crafting that pumpkin!

Yield: 1 pumpkin

How To Make Plastic Bottle Pumpkins

How To Make Plastic Bottle Pumpkins

Turn your single use plastic into cute pumpkins! They'll look great as part of your fall decorations set up or on your Thanksgiving table. These upcycled pumpkins are entirely made from recycled materials. Fill them with orange scraps from around the house. Add a stem and leaf and you have just about the cutest pumpkin you'll ever see.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy peasy lemon squeezy
Estimated Cost Zero

Materials

  • 2 used plastic bottles
  • Orange 'thrash'
  • Scraps of cardboard, twigs or paper

Tools

  • Sharp scissors or cutter knife
  • Sanding paper (optional)
  • White glue or tape

Instructions

  1. Clean out the plastic bottles before you begin. Poke a hole at the bottom of the first bottle. Use the hole to cut around the bottle until the bottom part falls off. Repeat for the second bottle. Dry the inside with a towel if necessary.
  2. The edges might be sharp from cutting into the plastic. To smooth the edges you can lightly sand them with some sanding paper. Since the edges won't be exposed this step is optional.
  3. It's time to fill your plastic pumpkin with orange materials. I used ribbons and clean orange packaging material that I cut into strips.
  4. Glue both sides together. Apply a coat of white glue alongside the edge of one of the halves. Carefully place both sides on top of each other. Make sure all of the orange material is inside and nothing sticks out. Instead of glue you can also use washi tape or clear tape to keep both sides together. Alternatively you can wrap string around both halves to keep them closed.
  5. Give the glue a few minutes to dry. In the meantime, gather your 'stem' and 'leaf'. Glue or attach both leaf and stem to the upper half of the pumpkin. Give the glue some time to dry.

Notes

The idea behind this tutorial is to upcycle and reduce waste. If you don't have the materials needed in your house, ask around. It would be a shame if you had to buy these items and create more/unnecessary waste in the process!

If you like this zero waste tutorial than don’t forget to put a pin on it!

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