DIY Mermaid Pumpkins

How to Make Mermaid Pumpkins with Craft Pumpkins for Next Halloween

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Though it is still quite far from Halloween, stock photographers know that you need to plan your photoshoots in advance to sell images for a holiday. Last Halloween, my daughter and I made unicorn-themed pumpkins. We have a tradition to make our Halloween pumpkins in August, before school starts since they take a few days to make. These are very similar to my unicorn pumpkins, but are a bit more creative in presentation. I was inspired by Pinterest and my recent mermaid cupcakes.

First, you need to start with the pumpkin. Of course you can buy a regular pumpkin from the grocery store, but I’ve found that it is much easier to work with a craft pumpkin. These can be found only at Michaels, and usually begin to sell around the end of July. These pumpkins are found in many colors, so you have endless possibilities with what you can do with them.

Then, I needed to think about what types of things would fit well onto a mermaid-themed pumpkin. Of course, I have mermaid tail molds that I recently used for my mermaid cupcakes, so I decided to use those in addition to hobby shells and artificial armored starfish to adorn the pumpkins. To top off the painted parts and the pumpkin, I bought both large and small glitter in two different sizes. I also picked up many different sizes and colors of rhinestones, E600 industrial glue to keep everything on the pumpkin, and Crayola model magic to make the mermaid tails. After gathering all of my supplies, I was ready to craft my own mermaid pumpkin.

To begin, I painted the craft pumpkin blue, so it could dry while I prepared everything else for the pumpkin. I started making some mermaid tails from model magic with a mold. To do this, I just added small pieces of model magic into the mold, until it was full and ready to come out, took it out and sculpted the rest by hand. The model magic takes at least 72 hours to dry, so in the meantime, I painted the shells different colors with some acrylic paint. They can also be decorated with glitter, which my daughter covered every surface possible with. After letting the model magic dry, I painted the mermaid tails with acrylic. To emulate corals, I folded different colors of felt to look as if they were flowers, and glued them to the pumpkin along with the starfish and mermaid tails.

Now that everything is prepared, it was time to attach everything to the pumpkin. For the rhinestones, I used E600 industrial strength glue. To put glitter onto the pumpkin, I put elmer’s glue into a small cup, and used a paint brush to apply the glue onto the pumpkin before sprinkling the glitter onto the glue. I chose to use limited amounts of glitter, but my daughter preferred to cover her entire pumpkin in as much glitter as possible. To attach the corals, tails, and starfish, I just used a hot glue gun.

This was a quite fun photoshoot, and was a nice break from the usual amounts of food that I cook and shoot. Though it is a bit chaotic with how much you have to prepare and craft, it was very fun to do something creative with my daughter and also be able to shoot the process.


1 Craft Pumpkin

Mermaid Tail Mold

Hobby Shells

Hobby Starfish

Acrylic Paint

Aqua color paint

Gold Acrylic Paint


Variety pack glitter

White Modeling Clay, two 4 oz packages

Hot Glue Gun

Paint Brushes & Pallets

Elmer's Glue

E600 Industrial Glue


Craft Rhinestones

Hot Glue Gun & Glue

Optional: Kids Painting Aprons

  1. Paint the craft pumpkin blue, and leave to dry for 24 hours.

  2. Take small pieces of model magic and fill in the mermaid tail mold, take it out when full. Do this twice so you can combine two pieces to form a full tail. Create however many tails you would like to put on your pumpkin, and let dry for 72 hours.

  3. Paint the craft shells and starfish various colors with acrylic paint.

  4. After drying, the tails and shells can be covered in glitter by putting elmer’s glue into a small cup, brushing the glue onto the surface, and then sprinkling the glue with glitter.

  5. Apply rhinestones to the sides of the pumpkin in lines, using the E600 glue on each rhinestone.

  6. Fold the felt into flower-like patterns, and hot-glue them to the top of the pumpkin.

  7. Glue the tails, shells, and starfish to the top of pumpkin with hot glue.

Props used in this photo shoot

Some of the props might no longer be available in stores. I selected props as close as possible to match those items.

Butcher paper roll

Plastic table cover roll

Pink paper background

A complete list of my photo and video equipment

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