Today I am going to share a quick tutorial regarding how to paint pumpkins. Did you know there’s a right way and a wrong way to paint a pumpkin? Seriously! The first time we painted pumpkins, we did it the wrong way. The paint ended up flaking all over the table and the poor gourd never made it to Halloween. Lesson learned!
What did we do wrong? Well, we didn’t seal the pumpkin – not before and not after. To really do this right, you have to do both. You can use a spray sealer or one that you apply with a brush. For a recent project (see our spooky Vampire Pumpkin Bats), the Little Monster and I used Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer – it’s what we had on hand and it worked.
A couple more tips – make sure you pick pumpkins that are free of blemishes and soft spots. Gently wipe off any dirt before getting started. And if you have time (we didn’t), it helps to put the pumpkin in a sunny windowsill for a week or two to cure.
Here’s what you need:
- paintbrush (the cheap-o foam brushes work great for this)
- acrylic sealer (spray or brush on)
- acrylic paints
The Little Monster and I transformed this gourd into a spooky bat by applying Mod Podge matte sealer with a foam brush. For outdoor pumpkins, I would apply a couple coats of outdoor sealer, such as Aleene’s spray sealer.
How to Paint Pumpkins Step-by-Step Tutorial:
STEP ONE: Prepare Work Area
Set up your work area. Lay down a drop cloth or newspaper to protect your work surface.
STEP TWO: Prep Your Pumpkin
Prepare your pumpkin for painting. Make sure it’s free of bruises and blemishes. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe off any dirt or debris.
STEP THREE: Apply Base Sealer Coat
Apply sealer to your pumpkin. Because the pumpkin is round, you will need to work on it one-half at a time. Apply the sealer to the first half, allow to dry, then apply to the second half. Give the second half time to dry before moving to the next step.
STEP FOUR: Time to Paint!
I should have forewarned you that this is a day long process – but it’s fun, so it’s okay! Apply the paint the same way you did the sealer, working on the pumpkin one half at a time. Allow the first half to completely dry before painting the second half. Allow the second half to dry.
At this point, take a good look at your work. Do you need a second coat? If so, repeat this step.
STEP FIVE: Apply Top Sealer Coat
Same instructions as step three above.
STEP SIX: Decorate
At this point, you might be done, especially if you painted a design on your pumpkin in step four. On the other hand, the real fun may just be starting – if so, pull out your hot glue gun, duct tape, craft foam, googly eyes, or whatever you had in mind – and decorate!
If You Need a Little Inspiration, Check Out These Painted Pumpkins…
Kids love googly eyes! After you paint your pumpkin black, have the kiddos glue on large googly eyes. As a final touch, outline some of the eyes with glow-in-the-dark puffy paint.
Use orange, yellow and white craft paint to make candy corn painted pumpkins. For the finishing touch, use a couple pieces of twine to tie a bow around the stem.
If you are crazy for buffalo check prints, why not paint a couple of pumpkins to match your decor? For this design, paint your pumpkin white, then add gray horizontal and vertical stripes, and finally use black paint where the gray stripes intersect.
If you don’t mind getting a little messy, try drip painting your pumpkins! For these colorful pumpkins, Mom Dot Crafts and her helpers used milk paint.
These tiny message pumpkins would be a fun way to decorate a Halloween buffet table. If you have a very steady hand, you can use a paintbrush to add Halloween phrases – however, a paint pen will make the project even easier.
So, that’s how you paint a pumpkin – easy, huh! I would also love to hear what you made (or what you are planning to make). Just leave a comment below…