How to Make Concrete Sock Pumpkins
Gather Those Ol' Socks
So, if you are anything like me, there are a ton of unmatched, holey, and lifeless socks taking up precious space in your drawers. Well, here is the perfect solution. Why not make super cute pumpkin decorations out of them?! They are cheap to make, durable, and unlike real pumpkins they won't rot! Woohoo! It's a win, win, all around!
Let's Get Started
First off, you will need to gather a few supplies and prepare a space to make a mess. Since you will be working with loose concrete and your hands, this one can get messy... but in the best way! Line your work area with plastic. If you are only making one or 2 pumpkins, lying down a trash bag should be sufficient. I prefer to use a plastic drop cloth so I don't have to worry about my mess. Here is a list of supplies you need to gather before beginning the project.
List of Supplies
- Plastic Grocery Bag
- 1 Pair of Long Socks or 1 Long Sock and 1 Ankle Sock
- Piece of Wire 8-12" long depending on your preferred stem length
- 5 Rubber Bands (extra is good in case any break)
- Pair of Latex Gloves
- 4 or so cups of Portland Cement Mix (just eye ball what looks like enough in your bucket) it doesn't take much to make one pumpkin).
- Container of water (for mixing concrete and also soaking items)
- Plastic to cover work area
Wad up the plastic grocery bag like ball and stuff it into the toe of the long sock. Try to make the ball as round as possible.
Twist the sock once and fold the open end back over the ball, pulling it tight. At this step, the goal is to use the long sock to form a nice tight ball. I recommend twisting and folding the sock over itself 3 times. Each time, working to get the twists lined up so they are directly on top and bottom of each other. Hope this makes sense
Cut off the excess at the top of the sock by slicing down through the elastic band to the ball. Then, cut around the ball so that the cut edge lays nicely against the ball. You don't want excess material coming to the center at this point. The short sock will create plenty of that pretty soon. Set the ball aside and grab the short sock.
I chose to use an ankle sock for this portion of the project but I don't see why is wouldn't work just the same with another long sock. You simply need to cut off the sock just below the ankle section where the heel begins to curve. Discard the top of the sock or save it for another project.
Cut the foot portion of the sock from the heel to the toe about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way to the toes. At this step I prefer to stick the sock ball into the sock I am cutting to make sure I do not cut too far. The goal is for the outer sock to cover the ball completely with the cuts ending just as the sock gathers in the center around the ball. After measuring the cut length, it is necessary to take the ball back out before making the next cut.
Now it is time to cut out your leaf. Lay the cut sock down so the heel portion is folded up and the other part is lying flat. Draw a pumpkin leaf shape. See picture for an example. Since it is being dipped in concrete, there is no need for perfection. Any loosely formed 3 pointed leaf shape will do the trick. After you cut out the leaf you may see little pieces of fabric between the heel cut and your leaf. It's okay, just leave them attached. They add filler to the stem at the end.
Put on your gloves, it's time to get messy! Add your Portland cement mix to a small bucket or large bowl. How much you use really depends on how many pumpkins you plan to make. Since this project makes a mess and I don't want to clean it all up for just one pumpkin, I tend to make several at a time. If you only plan to make one, pumpkin, 4 cups of Portland mix is plenty. Slowly add water a little at a time, mixing it as you go until it gets to the consistency of a bowl of creamy chowder....lumpless chowder ideally...just creamy is best for this project.
Soak the sock ball water, making sure it is wet through the layers. Squeeze out all the excess water and drop it into your concrete. Roll the ball around in the concrete, working it into the layers and saturating the concrete as deeply as possible into the layers of the ball. Wipe off any drippy excess and reshape it back into a squished ball shape, like a pumpkin. Set it off the the side.
Repeat the soak and wring process with the outer sock. Saturate it in concrete and insert the ball back into the sock, lining up the twist knot with the sock opening.
Twist one end of your wire into a base that can be placed on the ball. It will serve as the pumpkin stem wire and should stick straight up from the center of the pumpkin. Holding it all in your hand, turn the ball upside down so the excess sock part hang down and you can place a rubber band around them, securing the wire to the ball.
Using the remaining 4 rubber bands, wrap the pumpkin to create its creases. Make sure the rubber bands are tight enough to pull in the ball slightly but not so tight that they break. Do not substitute rubber bands for string, rope, or yarn as they will adhere to the concrete and you will not be able to remove them after the concrete cures.
After you get the rubber bands on, all that is left is wrapping the stem and futzing with the leaf placement until it looks nice to you. Take the heel piece and wrap it around the wire. Then, twist the wire to give the stem a fun little curl. Pull the leaf open and drape it nicely. Set your masterpiece out to dry. Depending on the weather, it will take any where from a few days to a week or more to completely cure. The concrete will change from a dark grey to a light grey when cured. Once done remove the rubber bands and cut off any excess wire. All done! Now you have a cute little pumpkin that will last for many years to come!