Here at Petals, we've made vases out of just about everything from pineapples to pumpkins. Every fall we host a floral design workshop where we design in pumpkins but if you aren't local or available this year, no sweat! This blog post will show you exactly what to do with lots of inspiration photos too!
You will first want to source your pumpkin, may I suggest visiting a local pumpkin patch and cutting your own? You'll be supporting a local farmer and sourcing the freshest pumpkin possible!
We grow our own pumpkins here at Petals (truth be told, they are my favorite thing to grow!) Here you can read my blog post about all the varieties we grow each year and what we do with them! If you cut your own pumpkin try to leave it in a sunny, warm, and dry spot for a few days to allow it to cure.
Make sure your pumpkin is large enough to cut open or plant to glue succulents or faux flowers along the top -- but that's the quick method -- read on for the legitimate version.
You will need to line your pumpkin with a water tight container to avoid leaking onto furniture or speeding up how quickly your pumpkin rots. To achieve the suggest fit for your liner vessel, mark the widest part of the vessel on the pumpkins and use this as your cutting guide.
While fantasy and heirloom pumpkins make beautiful vases, their skin is incredibly hard and the flesh terribly dense. If you do want to use this type of pumpkin, I suggest a kind of design hack where you shove a piece of wet floral foam on to the stem of the pumpkin then crossing electrical tape over this foam. Then use your flowers to cover the foam and tape.
Scooping pumpkins is SO much easier with a large serrated spoon, luckily this time of year you easily find these as grocery stores, target, or online at Amazon. Once our pumpkin was fully scooped out (don't forget to save the seeds for roasting!) I rinse each pumpkin with a mild bleach solution, I then spray the inside of the pumpkins with a mixture 1:8 parts water and bleach and left the pumpkins open to dry for a few hours. You can also skip this part and jump straight into designing -- these things don't last forever so don't sweat the small stuff.
You can either design your pumpkin using floral foam, which will give you the most versatility for placing stems or you can forgo the foam. Floral foam is not biodegradable, however, so if you want a greener option you can create a grid using floral tape over the top of your container. (see photo below). If you choose to use floral foam soak it in water until it is saturated before beginning to design. When your arrangement dies you can dry it out, flip it over and get at least two uses out of it, you an also add it to the bottom of potted plants when it becomes too full of holes for design work. In the bottom of the pot it will act as a soil lightener and moisture retainer. When fitting your floral foam into your liner vessel, leave one to two inches protruding above the edge, this will give you extra surface area to design with and help achieve a round or over flowing design.