Create a Star Wars: The Force Awakens, BB-8 Pumpkin for Halloween
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My son loves the Star Wars movies, and we spent the whole months of August and September watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, repeatedly, over and over again! I thought it would be fun to make a BB-8 pumpkin for Halloween. BB-8’s shape lends itself well to becoming a pumpkin. You can include as much, or as little, detail as you’d like to in your BB-8 pumpkin design.
I get what I call “visions” in my mind, which are basically just ideas and brainstorming thoughts. I knew we’d be visiting a large pumpkin farm, where I would have access to really big, white pumpkins. I love white pumpkins! They are very versatile in decorating. It’s fun to include them with your orange pumpkins for a pop of color. So, we picked out a large, white pumpkin for BB-8’s body. I tried to get as “round” or “spherical” of a shape as I could. It’s tough once you get to the super-large pumpkins, because they often have one flat side where they were lying as they grew on the ground. I didn’t want to obsess over getting a perfectly round pumpkin, which was not going to happen. My goal was to get a pumpkin that had 3 out of 4 sides really round, and not worry about the flat side. You can always turn the flat side to the back, which is what I did.
For the head, you could use a smaller pumpkin and stack it on top of BB-8’s body. This would be very versatile, as you could carve it and light it up from the inside. There are several pictures and tutorials online that will give you some guidance.
I chose to make a “dummy” head, not using a real pumpkin. I wanted that perfect half-sphere shape for BB-8’s head. So, I used a half-sphere styrofoam piece that I purchased at a craft store. I like this idea, because it is lightweight, still versatile and easy to work with, and I don’t have to worry about it toppling over and breaking. Also, I did not want to cut open, carve, or scoop a pumpkin either. We still have quite warm weather here throughout October, and I’ve learned my lesson that a carved pumpkin just doesn’t last as long.
I looked up a few pictures of “BB-8” pumpkins online, just to get an idea of detail and size/scale. I found one tutorial from Disney that shows you how to do a BB-8 with a real pumpkin head. I studied BB-8 watching the actual movie, and looking at a few good pictures. I combined all of my ideas to decide how much detail I wanted to include.
And, I just winged it from there. There was a bunch of trial and error for me. I had no idea how I was going to complete each step. So, here is what I did along the way…
For BB’s Body:
- Get a large pumpkin for the body. I recommend a white pumpkin, but you can use an orange pumpkin if need be. Chose a pumpkin that will sit flat, and that has a round/sphere shape like BB-8. Most large pumpkins will have a flatter side, and that is fine. You can turn that side to the back.
- Paint the entire pumpkin white. Let it dry completely (I waited about 6 hours). I used acrylic paint from the craft store. Use whatever paint you like to use on your pumpkins. I keep my pumpkin under the porch so it won’t get rained on. I don’t recommend leaving your pumpkins out if it rains. Move them inside if it looks like rain. In the past, I have had paint peel off with the changing weather and temperatures. But, this was after Halloween for me. If it looks like your pumpkin paint is peeling, move it inside until Halloween, so that you can preserve it for that day.
- With brown or gray, you can contour on the white, to make a more realistic BB-8. I like to have fun and still keep things simple, so I did not contour any of my colors. It just depends how detailed you want to get.
- I did a search online for “BB-8 body stencils/templates” and was able to pull up a pretty good set of stencils. I printed them out, and then re-copied to blow them up into a larger size that would fit for my pumpkin. Just estimate the size. It does not have to be perfect. I printed the stencils on a thicker paper so that it would hold up through cutting and tracing.
- I printed 2 different orange/gray color combination stencils, and just re-used one stencil a second time. Cut out your stencils. This can be very tedious and time consuming, and you need great scissors and a steady hand. But, the cleaner your stencil, the better your BB-8 design will look.
- I estimated where I wanted to include the orange/gray designs on the pumpkin. I only did three, but you can do more, including one on the bottom. BB-8 actually has six of these designs on him, and all six are different. But, for my purposes on a front-porch pumpkin, I only needed to inlcude three, repeating one of the patterns to keep things simpler. I did not include an orange/gray design on the back of the pumpkin, as that part is completely flat anyway, and will be facing the wall. It was not worth the time or energy to put it on the back.
- Pin down your template onto the pumpkin using regular, old sewing pins. This will keep the stencil in place as you trace around it. This part can be tricky, and you will have to work with your pumpkin and stencils. The pumpkin is not flat and is also bumpy, so it is very difficult to get the stencil to lay completely flat. Do the best you can, adjusting and unpinning the stencil as needed. I’m a perfectionist, so I was still able to get my designs pretty circular.
- Trace your stencils. I used a sharp pencil, as that showed up well on the white paint, and isn’t permanent. But, you can use a ball-point pen or a Sharpie too. Don’t worry about tracing mistakes, because you can always go back and touch-up with the white paint (I did that several times!).
- Go back and paint all of your designs. I saw an online idea that used paint markers/permanent markers for this step. I preferred to paint mine with my acrylic paint colors. Do whatever works for you, however you want to get the color onto the pumpkin. This step was very time consuming, and required a steady hand. I had several mess-ups, that I touched up later on. I used an angled paintbrush, to precisely paint along the lines. I used a smaller brush for the gray, and a larger brush for the orange.
- Let everything dry completely. You don’t want to smear all of your hard work.
- I went back and outlined everything with a black Sharpie. Again, I was winging it, and wasn’t sure how I wanted to outline everything. I wanted something that would show up nicely, be easy to glide over the pumpkin, and was something I already had in the house. You can outline with whatever you like to use.
- Add more details with whatever object you used to do your outlining. For me, I used my handy-dandy Sharpie again. I looked at some pictures of BB-8’s details, and just chose a few simpler details to include. I used a stencil for all of the little circles I made, to get them just right. I made a few colored “buttons” on BB-8 by just dabbing the handle end of my paintbrush in blue, green, and red colored paint, and then just doing a quick dab onto BB-8.
- Turn his body around so that his best side is facing front. Done!
For BB-8’s head
- I used a styrofoam half-sphere shape that I purchased at the craft store (like the kind students use for planet projects).
- Paint the head white. Even though the foam is already white, I wanted the white paint to exactly match the paint on BB-8’s body.
- I pulled up many pictures of BB-8’s head, so that I could see the details all around & from the top
- I used a pencil on the foam, to draw out my designs. A pencil works pretty well. Don’t press too hard and puncture through the foam. You can use a pen too, which will glide along pretty well. You can cover any mistakes with touch-up paint later on.
- To get nice circular and rectangular shapes, I used stencils in various sizes. This will help BB-8’s head look nice and even and precise.
- Using small paint brushes with angled edges, I used my acrylic pain to paint my designs. Don’t worry about mess-ups, you can always touch them up later (I had several of these!).
- After everything was dry, I went back again with my Sharpie and outlined everything to make BB-8 look sharp.
- You can add reflection details on his “eyes” using paint or a marker. I added some colored “buttons” using colored Sharpies. I did all of the lines with a Sharpie.
- You could poke 2 objects through to make BB-8’s two antenna. I chose to leave these off, as I knew my son would just mess with them, and I didn’t want him to mess up BB-8’s perfect head : )
- Set the head on top of the body. Putting it on a little angle looks more like BB-8.
- I just used pins to pin through the foam into the pumpkin. I painted the head of the pins to blend into BB-8’s paint color.
I hope you enjoyed this step-by-step guide for how to make your own BB-8 pumpkin! May the Force be with you. Share your Halloween pumpkins in our comments!