Craft Tutorial: Recycled Sweater Pumpkin

Do you have the inability to throw anything away until you’ve used it to the very last maximum of its life? Me too. Hence, this recycled sweater pumpkin tutorial.

I have a bin in my sewing studio specifically for items to mend or re-purpose (fine, several bins) in which this lovely cable sweater has languished since last winter due to a stain on the front. Even though I bought it from the thrift store, it seemed as thought is had more life left in it and I couldn’t just toss it in the bin. Perhaps, like me, you see all of this cute home decor in stores and online this time of year and feel really inspired, but don’t want to spend a ton of money on decorations for one season. Sweater pumpkins such as the one we are going to make today have been around for a few years and combine the simplistic fall vibe with all things cozy. However, I prefer to make my own, especially when I have basically all of the supplies to make it at little or no cost. Most of what I will be showing as supplies today came from the aforementioned stained sweater and other materials destined for the garbage.


  • Old long sleeve sweater
  • rotary cutter and cutting mat, scissors
  • batting scraps or stuffing – You could also stuff your pumpkin with other old pieces of clothing if you don’t have or want to buy more traditional stuffing materials. I simply have a lot of batting scrap to use up from quilt projects.
  • hot glue and glue gun
  • recycled cardboard – cereal boxes, packaging, back of notebooks, etc.
  • twine or ribbon
  • cork ribbon or burlap
  • leaf template (download here)
  • used toilet paper roll
  • pencil

Begin by laying one sleeve of your sweater flat on the cutting mat and cutting off the desired length. I cut two pumpkins from one sleeve by making a 8 inch and 10 inch length.

Make the base for your pumpkin by tracing a small circle onto your recycled cardboard and cutting out. I used the ribbon roll and an old pasta box.

Insert the cardboard base of your pumpkin into the widest end of your sweater sleeve and glue in place. To center the base in the sleeve, add a dot of hot glue in the center of the cardboard circle and adhere one side of the sleeve, then repeat for the opposite side until you have worked your way around the entire opening fully enclosing the cardboard.

Turn the pumpkin over and stuff until desired with your fill of choice, shaping as you go to get a somewhat symmetrical round shape. Remember, real pumpkins are not perfectly symmetrical (nor made of sweaters), so you are just aiming for relatively balanced stuffing, not perfection.

Create the stem of the pumpkin by peeling open a used toilet paper tube and cutting into a triangle. Re-roll the tube piece into a tight tube and secure the end with a dot of hot glue. Choose one end of the tube and fold the end into itself to create the top of your stem, secure with a dot of hot glue.

Fold the top of your sweater material down slightly to reveal the top of the stuffing. Create a small dimple in the stuffing large enough to insert your stem about a 1/2 to 3/4 inches down, secure in place with hot glue. Fold the sweater material up toward the stem and gather into the base of the stem, secure with hot glue. Tie a piece of twine around the gathered material, tie a bow if desired, and secure with a dot of hot glue.

To create the leaf, either fee hand draw the desired leaf shape of your choice, or print out my pumpkin leaf template (download here). Trace and cut two leaves from cork or burlap ribbon. Glue the leaves near the top of the pumpkin, near the twine bow to finish your sweater pumpkin.

I love how these Recycled Sweater Pumpkins came together! They are cute, cozy and perfectly match my neutral loving home decor taste since I made them myself. Probably my favorite part, however, is that the Recycled Sweater Pumpkins cost next to nothing since they are almost 100% from items that would have otherwise been garbage! 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make a Recycled Sweater Pumpkin. If you make a pumpkin of your own inspired by my project, please leave a comment below or share a picture by tagging me on social media @laruedefleurs. I would love to see how you interpret the idea and how it worked for you! Happy making! xoxo, Janice

Inspiration sources are linked where applicable. All written work and photographs are original content and are copyright protected; kindly give due credit by linking back to my website if you use or share.

(©2019, Janice Bailor //

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