Get the “decorator’s look” you want this fall by painting real or faux pumpkins in the exact paint colors you desire! This step-by-step tutorial with pictures demonstrates how to paint pumpkins to achieve beautiful results.
- Faux or real pumpkins. (Walmart currently has inexpensive faux pumpkins in store.)
- Acrylic paint or chalk paint in desired colors–both will work.
NOTE on Spray Paint: You might be able to spray paint your pumpkins if the coating on the foam is durable; however, foam dissolves in oil-based paint so you could have a mess on your hands! Real pumpkins can be spray painted, but do so at your own risk. The oil-based paint prevents the pumpkin from “breathing” and as the pumpkin decomposes gases build up inside the pumpkin potentially causing it to explode. Yikes!
- Paint brushes
- Paper towel
- Cup of water
Step 1: Decide upon the desired color for each pumpkin before you begin painting. This will ensure a polished-looking end result!
Step 2: Paint on your base coat.
Colorful pumpkins look the most realistic when you use more than one paint color. Choose a few paint colors in similar shades that are within the same color family, and use one of the shades as the base coat. You can decide if you want the crevices of the pumpkin to be highlighted or shadowed. I tried both techniques, and I liked both effects. For this pumpkin, I wanted the crevices of the pumpkin to appear highlighted so chose the lighter color to paint on first. I used Waverly paint in Celery (found at Walmart) as my base coat.
If you get a little paint on the stem, don’t worry. You will be able to scrape it off later on. I failed to take a picture of my “pumpkin drying contraption”, but it was handy for this project! Place a large office clip on a skewer suspended between two tall glasses. Clip the office clip onto the pumpkin stem and hang the pumpkins until dry. 🙂
Step 3: Use a paper towel to dab on your second paint color.
To create a layered look, you will dab on your second paint color. Chalk paint is wonderful for painting pumpkins, but if you don’t happen to have it on hand, acrylics work just as well and are cheaper. I had a sample of Olive chalk paint in my stash and knew it would look great on this pumpkin; however, all of my other pumpkins were painted with acrylic paints.
To create the second layer of paint, dab a folded corner of paper towel into your paint and blot off the excess paint. (This is the equivalent to “dry brushing” in furniture painting.)
Once your paper towel is almost dry of paint, lightly pepper your pumpkin with the second paint shade using a tapping motion. Continue doing this for approximately 1/4 of your pumpkin and then stop to blend the shades. You don’t want you paint to completely dry before you blend.
Step 4: Use a small dampened paint brush lightly dipped in your second paint shade to blend the crevices of the pumpkin.
This is where your individual artistry comes into play! There really is no right or wrong here. It’s all about playing with the paint until you are happy with the end result. Use a dampened paint brush to blend and soften the harsh lines between the different shades of paint. In the picture below, you can see where I have blended the paint on the right and not on the left.
For this pumpkin, I wanted the crevices to appear highlighted with a rustic, mottled look. I used my damp paint brush to blend the two colors until I was happy with it and added more paint as needed. I love the way this one turned out!
And here are a few of the other pumpkins I painted this year!
Painting Real Pumpkins
You CAN paint real pumpkins using chalk, acrylic, or latex paint. I wanted Baby Boo pumpkins for my fall home tour, and at the time they were nowhere to be found. I was able to find orange Jack-Be-Littles so painted them white using Folk Art’s Vintage White acrylic paint. It’s the perfect shade for white pumpkins!
After two coats of Vintage White, they looked just as beautiful as the real deal!
I hope you found this tutorial helpful and inspiring for your fall decorating. You really can have a bevy of beautiful pumpkins in the colors you desire! If you liked this post, please be sure to pin it for later and check out my related posts below. Thanks for stopping by!