The Best Way to Paint a Pumpkin for Seasonal Decor
An Easy DIY Using Chalky Finish Paint
Halloween is one of our favorite holidays for a lot of reasons—from the costumes and candy to the many opportunities for a DIY project. While carving jack-o-lanterns is a time-honored tradition, simple no-carve pumpkin ideas have been growing in popularity each year. Unlike carved pumpkins, which can mold or quickly start to smell, decorative no-carve pumpkins can help you stay festive all season long.
One of the easiest (and prettiest) ways to decorate your pumpkins carving is painting them with a chalky finish paint. The matte coverage that a chalky finish paint provides is an attractive and versatile option. There are three useful painting methods for this project: patterns, dipped lines, or abstract splatters. Here's a look at how to use each method.
Before You Begin
For this project you'll learn how to make patterned, dipped, and splattered paint pumpkins. Preparing the workspace for each will be quite similar. Use a drop cloth, kraft paper, or newspaper to cover the table where you'll work. If you're making dipped pumpkins, set the drying rack over a piece of wax paper.
Gather the supplies listed here. Choose your pumpkins, wipe them down with a damp paper towel to remove dirt and debris, and pat them dry.
For patterned and splattered paint pumpkins, you'll need at least two paint colors. For mini pumpkins, you can go with one color for a minimalist look or numerous colors for a cacophony of visual delight. Gather your paints before sitting down to create.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Chalky finish paint in two colors for patterned pumpkins
- Wax paper
- Drop cloth or newspaper
- 1-inch and 3-inch paintbrushes
- Small bowls
- Drying rack
- Large cardboard box (optional)
- Mini pumpkins (for dipped pumpkins)
Watch Now: 3 Chalky Finish Painted Pumpkin Projects
While this modern, abstract pattern makes a bold statement, it's so simple to execute that even the least artistic DIY-er can get the job done. With just a few quick steps, you can score stunning pumpkins perfect for any room in your home.
Paint a Base Coat
Select your base color, then paint your pumpkin using your 3-inch paintbrush, covering it completely. Allow drying for at least an hour. Once the finish appears matte and free of any wet spots, you can add a second coat for extra coverage or go straight to painting on your pattern.
Paint a Pattern
Using your 1-inch brush and a lighter color, add short brushstrokes (about 1-inch long) all over the pumpkin until completely covered. Once you've mastered this design, feel free to switch it up; try patterns featuring thin dashes, stars, polka dots, or squiggles. Give your pumpkins plenty of time to dry.
Give mini pumpkins a modern makeover with a quick and easy painting technique that will lend a fresh new look to your seasonal gourds.
Pour Paint Into Bowls and Begin Dipping
Pour each of your chosen hues into a separate bowl, making sure to use enough paint to cover the pumpkins when dipped. Holding each pumpkin by its stem, dip them into the bowls, covering to the desired amount.
There are endless ways to experiment with your dipping technique for a unique look. Dip just the bottom quarter of your pumpkin for a small dose of color or submerge it three-quarters of the way up for a bolder look. Another variation: Dip the pumpkin on a diagonal for an extra graphic take—you can even coat your pumpkins twice as a way to layer colors.
Lift by the stem to remove from the bowl and allow excess paint to drip off.
Leave Pumpkins to Dry
After removing from the paint, set each pumpkin on the drying rack to dry for at least an hour. If you would like to go back for a second coat of dipping, do so once the first layer has dried.
Splatter Paint Pumpkins
Looking to create an especially bold display of pumpkins this fall? Unleash your inner Jackson Pollock with a splatter paint technique that really stands out.
Paint a Base Coat
Using a 3-inch paintbrush, give your pumpkin its base coat. This is the color you'll be splattering on top of, so be sure to select a hue that will allow the paint to really stand out. Let dry for at least an hour, then apply a second coat if necessary.
Water Down the Paint
Before creating your artsy splatters, you'll need to modify the consistency of your second color to make it easier to work with. Start by diluting your shade with roughly a tablespoon or two of water, gradually adding more until the consistency is thinned but not too watery.
Set your pumpkin out on wax paper or newspaper. This project is about to get messy, so set up in a location that you don't care too much about, like a garage. If your options are limited, place your pumpkin inside a large cardboard box, which can keep you from making a major mess.
Splatter the Pumpkin
Dip your paintbrush in the watered-down color, then repeatedly flick your wrist while holding the paintbrush to cover the pumpkin in graphic speckles. Once you're satisfied with your coverage (the amount of splatters is up to you), allow your pumpkin to dry for at least an hour.
What kind of paint do you use to paint a pumpkin?
Acrylic paint is a good option for pumpkins because it’s water-based, which makes for easy cleanup. Chalky finish paint is a great water-based option if you want a matte look.
Can you paint straight onto a pumpkin?
Yes, you can apply paint right onto a pumpkin. Just make sure the surface is clean and free of dirt that might mar your paint job.
How do you seal a painted pumpkin?
If you want your paint job to last longer, apply a coat of clear craft sealer spray onto your pumpkin craft.