Painted Pumpkins

These adorable painted and collaged pumpkins are a great alternative to traditional carved pumpkins.  Using simple craft materials, magic can happen! This is a great family friendly project that any age can enjoy. Scroll to the bottom of our post for helpful tips and a material list to make your own.



Pictured: Cat Pumpkin, Bat Pumpkin, Glitter Pumpkins, and Washi Tape Pumpkins




Washi Tape Pumpkin

catCat Pumpkin<a


Bat Pumpkin





Stud Pumpkin, Glitter Pumpkin, and Washi Pumpkin

suppliesMaterials I used:

A2 acrylic Paints, paint brushes, map pins/straight pins, scrapbook paper, glitter, Mod Podge (glue), adhesive gems and pearls, pipe cleaners, stickers, washi tape, and paper punches.

We sell all the materials at 2124 W. Division St.!

To make a glitter pumpkin:

Using a brush, coat the pumpkin with Mod Podge (decoupage glue).  Shake the glitter liberally all over the pumpkin over a “Tidy Tray” (a special craft tray so you can reuse the glitter= genius!) Allow to dry thoroughly.  Repeat the steps for the stem in a contrasting color.  If you have it, you can use a clear spay coat to keep the glitter on or just take care in handling and moving your glitzy pumpkin.

To make a cat pumpkin:

Using a brush, paint an entire pie pumpkin black with high quality acrylic paint.  Allow to dry overnight.  Use the instructions above to glitter the stem.

Cut two triangles out of cute Halloween themed scrapbook paper.  Fold about 1/4 inch over to create a tab.  Trim the extra to match the triangle.  Attach on either side of the stem by pushing pins into the folded tab and into the pumpkin.  I used two on each ear.

Cut 2 white pipe cleaners into thirds.  Using a pencil, wrap the end around the pencil a bit to create a curled edge.  Push the non curly edge into the pumpkin where the cat’s whiskers would be.  Repeat until you have 3 whiskers on each side of the cat’s face.

Punch a cute shape (I used a flower) out of scrapbook paper for the cat’s eyes.  Glue on with the Mod Podge.  (Don’t use a pin or the cat will “cry” because of the pumpkin juice.)  I also added an adhesive gem (from any craft store) for the cat’s pupils. Fancy!

Use a heart sticker for the cat’s nose in between the whiskers.  I also added 3 dots of Mod Podge and added glitter to make freckles near the whiskers.

Optional: add a mouth made out of scrapbook paper by cutting a line and a smile shape.  You have a CATKIN!

To make a bat pumpkin:

Use the info above to paint your bat black and glitter the stem.  Cut out wing shapes from scrapbook paper.  (I used a Halloween themed paper.)  I cut one first and then flipped it over and traced it to make the wings symmetrical.  You can also use a template from the internet.  Create a tab by folding the inside part of the bat wing about a 1/4 inch.  Use a push pin to attach the wings to the bat.

Cut the eyes out of coordinating paper.  Use the Mod Podge to glue onto the pumpkin.  Add an adhesive gem for the pupil.  You can also add a smile and fangs with paper too!  I opted for a “serious” bat. Haha Have fun with it!

Other Tips:

*Use nice acrylic paints instead of cheaper craft paints.

*Paint your base color first and allow to dry overnight before adding the details.  The paint will peel off easily if the paint is still wet.

*Use pie pumpkins.  They have a very smooth surface for decorating.

*Use map pins or push pins to attach the paper parts.  (I used them for the ears and the bat wings by creating a fold over tab and pushing the pin in the tab.) Don’t use them for the eye, the hole will make the pumpkin “cry ” a little bit.

*Use paper punches to punch out cute shapes that can be used for eyes and more.  This is easier for small children and eliminates the need for sharp scissors.

*If you are making a washi tape pumpkin, apply the tape first.  Add Mod-podge over the stem and a bit of the rough tape edges on the stem.  Add glitter to hide the tape edges.

Enjoy crafting!

Check out our Birthday Party and make a mini pumpkin for free!

Sunday, October 19th from 10-2



Day of the Dead Mask Tutorial and Art Kit!

Check out our adorable new art kit!  This Day of the Dead mask is easy to make and super cute to wear.  This kit includes what is below.  Use your acrylic paints and  brushes for many other projects.   You can buy the kit on Etsy here!

In this kit:

paint brush set, acrylic basics set, flowers, paper mask, cute mask stick, glitter glue!


Step One: Sketch out your Day of the Dead design with pencil.  I have added a half moon at the bottom of the eye area to make the eye shape more “skull like”.  I then added petals around the eyes. For the nose, I created a rounded triangle shape following the curve of the mask.  Next, I added dots under the eyes, a diamond above the nose, and an upside down heart shape. I gave the mask eyebrows just above the eyes and added a spiral shape at the end.


Step Two: I painted the eye and the nose black


Step Three: I add a little white to the blue to fill in the flowers with a small brush.  I then added a touch of black for the eyebrows.  I painted the heart and some of the dots red.


Step Four: I added pink and red festive dots around the eyes and nose with the small, round paint brush.


Step Five: I added more dots with the glitter glue! I also used hot glue to glue the flowers on the front and the stick on the back!


Step Six: Wear it proudly!


Check out for our art classes in Chicago!

Art Journal Page Tutorial

Hey, Strange Birds

I am so excited about our January Journal Challenge.  I am happy to say that I have been creating art every single day for at least an hour for 23 days!  I am so excited about the project, that I think we will do an other in February.  For now, follow our Instagram account One Strange Bird to get a daily dose of color.

For this post, I wanted to share with you a recent page I created with step-by-step instructions. Below is the full, completed page.  This was made one January 20th, 2014 for the topic of kindness. 


Materials needed: mod podge, crayons, brush, washi tape, paint markers, stamps, stamp pads, vintage photo or other ephemera, and letter stencils


Step One: I ripped up some cute, patterned scrapbook paper and glued it all over both pages with mod-podge

ImageStep Two: I mixed a good deal of water into some gesso (or you can use white paint) and layered over the papers to tone down the colors a bit.

ImageStep Three: I ripped up two types of washi tape and put it randomly around the pages

ImageStep Four:  I scribbled and doodled with some crayons to add more color.  I also stamped small stamps and pressed some bubble wrap onto a stamp pad to add more texture.  I embossed some of the bubble wrap impressions to make them even more textured.


Step Five: I used a stencil to add words.  I then filled them in with gold paint.

ImageThat is it!  Have fun in your journal.  Remember it is for you!! Image



Packing Tape Transfer Tutorial for Art Journaling

Hi, Strange Birds!

I teamed up with my super-talented sister, Madeline Northway to make a new art tutorial. In this video I share some of my favorite collage materials and different art books that I like to work in.  I also show you how to do a really cool image transfer technique that uses packing tape!

Below are my first 12 days of our January Art Journal Challenge!  It has been a blast so far.  I have been consistently doing art every morning for 12 days.  I am loving the looseness and playfulness that I am finding in my journal.  I can’t wait to see how this project influences my artwork.

PicFrame-3 PicFrame-2 PicFrame-1

Check out our sweet new art journal kit for sale HERE

Join the January Journal Challenge

I can’t believe we’re already seven days into our January Journal Challenge! This challenge has been a great way to motivate making new art everyday. It has allowed me to set aside time to do something I enjoy and share it with others. We wanted to show off some of the amazing art that has already been made and we hope you’ll be inspired to join the rest of the monthly challenge. Remember to tag your photos on Facebook or Instagram with #JanJournalChallenge to share them with us or send us your images via email at

Happy art making!
Day 1 : Resolutions by sagenlavender















Day 2 : Reflections by afields6

renewal - afields6














Day 3 : Renewal by Snuberry

renewal snuberry














Day 4 : Relationships by MsMarylnn















Day 5 : Health by OneStrangeBird (aka Nicole Northway)

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Day 6 : Positivity by TwigsandGold (aka Jess Egan)















Day 7 : Consciousness by OneStrangeBird (aka Nicole Northway)

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My Favorite Art Journaling Supplies

Nicole Northway here and I’m excited to share with you my favorite journaling and mixed media supplies!  Jess’s idea for our #JanJournalChallege has really heated up my studio practice.  I haven’t had much time to myself lately with my wedding planning, running The Bird, and the busy holiday season.  The Journal Challenge has inspired me to re-commit to my own art practice.  Since I opened One Strange Bird a couple of years ago, my artwork has been shifting constantly.  Influenced by the materials and themes we use in our classes and the energy of my customers and students, I have been incorporating more mixed media in my paintings.  I have always been obsessed with sketchbooks and journaling.  I literally have at least a hundred I’ve working in since 2000.  I am happy to share some of the tools I use in my books.  Stay tuned for some really cool tutorials in the next couple of weeks.  If you are in Chicago, I have some mixed media collage classes I am teaching. Check out our website for more info.

ImageMy (Nicole Northway) Studio

Everyone needs a little space to work.  I have had many studios.  I’ve had studios in friend’s basements and garages, studios at undergrad and grad school, and professional studios in big artist loft buildings.  I think after about 13 years of studios, I have realized I am most productive in a home studio.  Right now we have a tiny amazing apartment in a high-rise and I have a great corner to work in with an AMAZING view of the city. Gratitude….

ImageI run on coffee.


 I am always on the hunt for the perfect sketchbook.  Here is a cute one my momma bought me that I am currently working in.  Pictured is my other favorite, the Molskien! Lastly, I just started using pictures and ephemera from my life in a Smashbook.  It come with pages already colored and doodled on.  Sometimes I like working in that book if the white pages in my other book are freaking me out.  I also call that book my “happy place” and only fill it full of awesomeness.


 I have a serious addiction to washi tape.  It adds a great line focused element in lots of my collage composition.


I am powerless without Mod Podge.  It acts a both a glue and a sealant and add a great texture to mixed media work.  Gel Medium is my go-to  for image transfers.  I like matte medium when I need to seal something, but still want to be able to paint or draw on top of it. It is also (obviously) not as glossy as the gel and Mod Podge.  I just discovered the amazing power of tape runners.  It is like roll on white out, but tape. Ohmygod.


I love all kinds of paints, but I have really been into these cheapy craft paints by Martha Stewart and Apple Barrel.  Since they are so inexpensive, I fell more uninhibited when using them.  I also really like the chalky texture after they have dried.

ImageBrushes!  Lots of them in lots of sizes and shapes.

ImageI think collages are only as good as their source materials.  I love collecting vintage maps and magazines, layering with sewing patterns, and printing pictures from my Instagram with the app Postal Pics. They have a craft size that is only 2 X 2 and perfect for journaling.

It’s not too late to start the challenge.  Join us on Instagram and use the hashtag #janjournalchallenge and tag us @onestrangebird so we can see what you are up to!  Don’t have Instagram?  Use the same hashtag on FB.  We will be looking for inspiration.

Join us for our January Journal Challenge!

IMG_20131229_1349292014 is almost here and we’re exciting to begin the new year with our first ever art challenge! Throughout the month of January One Strange Bird will be creating art every day and we want you to join us. Whether you want to complete one page every day or choose just few themes we invite you to begin the new year by getting into the habit of making art. Each day of the month will have a one or two word theme that will act as a jumping off point for your painting, drawing, or writing.

You can follow our progress on the One Strange Bird Blog, Facebook, or Instagram. We also invite you to send us your images via our email (, our Facebook, or by tagging your Instagram photos with #JanJournalChallenge so we can see your original works of art!

Happy New Year from all of us at One Strange Bird!