CONCORD, N.H. (AP) Before they stuff themselves silly with Halloween candy, let your kids stuff some spare pantyhose to create plump pumpkins and other seasonal, soft-sculpture decorations.
This project is perfect for those hose you've pushed to the back of the drawer because of a small run or snag face it, you're never going to wear them again. Or you could buy new, inexpensive pantyhose and knee-highs. You'll need two pairs to make a large pumpkin, though you can get by with less if you want a smaller, simplified version.
Black and white pantyhose can be used as-is to create ghosts and spiders, while tan or nude hose can be dyed orange to create pumpkins. If you're willing to get a bit messy, skip the dye and let children paint their squeezable masterpieces with acrylic craft paint.
The finished products can be left unadorned, or faces can be added with markers, beads, embroidery floss or shapes cut of felt.
How to make soft-sculpture pumpkins, ghosts and spiders out of pantyhose:
2 pairs of nude pantyhose per large pumpkin
1 pair white pantyhose for 2 ghosts
1 pair black knee-highs per spider
orange fabric dye
green pipe cleaners
markers, beads, embroidery floss or felt shapes for eyes, faces
needle and thread (if using beads)
1) Cut the legs off two pairs of nude pantyhose. Cut off the toes and save them to use for the pumpkin stems.
2) Dye the pantyhose legs orange, then wash and dry them, following directions on dye package.
3) Arrange the legs on a flat surface, crossing over each other in the center like the spokes of a wheel. Knot them together at the center or sew a few stitches through the center to hold them together. The result should be eight open-ended tubes radiating from the center. For smaller pumpkins, cut legs in half and use as few as 4 tubes.
4) Stuff fiberfill firmly into each tube, leaving a few inches empty at the ends.
5) Gather up the tubes, hold them together and secure with a rubber band.
6) Trim a narrow band from the open end of a toe you set aside in step 1 to create what will resemble a rubber band made out of pantyhose. Slip the toe over the top of the gathered tube ends to cover them and create a brown stem. Secure with the band you just cut.
7) If your pumpkin looks lumpy, squeeze and squish it to smooth out the sides.
8) If desired, add a jack-o-lantern face with markers, beads or felt. Or decorate with a pipe cleaner stem or felt leaves.
1) Cut legs off white pantyhose, leaving toe intact.
2) Shape a large handful of fiberfill into a ball and insert it into the toe of one pantyhose leg.
3) Tie a knot above the ball of stuffing and fold the rest of the pantyhose leg down over the ball, creating folds and wrinkles covering the ghost's body.
4) Cut a small oval out of black felt and sew or glue it to the ghost to make a mouth.
5) Add eyes with black beads or smaller felt circles.
1) Twist together four green pipe cleaners in center to make eight legs.
2) Shape a small handful of fiberfill into a ball and insert it into one black knee-high. Trim off the excess or fold it around to the bottom of the ball.
3) Cut off the toe of a second black knee-high.
3) Insert the covered ball into the black knee-high, centering it so that there is excess material on either side. Twist this excess material (picture the twisted wrapper on a piece of candy), and pull it around to the bottom of the ball.
4) Flip the ball over so the bottom is facing up. Lay the pipe cleaners across the ball and tie the black material in a knot to secure the center of the pipe cleaners.
5) Trim off excess material, or wrap it back around the ball.
6) Add eyes and other facial features as desired with beads, embroidery thread or bits of felt.