Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How to Paint a Plastic Pumpkin

 I found these pumpkins taking up a shelf at 
the store.

They were sitting
because of this:
Plastic painted styrofoam pumpkins
that had little knicks in them.

They were cheap enough,
but who would want them this way?

So I filled my cart with a bunch of them,
and a few of these:

Seeing that they were damaged and nobody was buying any,
I showed the cashier their flaws,

(my husband is cringing)

I asked if they'd consider a discount.


But hey, nobody else wanted them, right?

She asked the manager and the manager nonchalantly said,
"Sure, you can give her half off for those."

So I brought home my bruised babies,
and began making the paint:

I stirred in a good quantity of Plaster Paris
into the paint and stirred.

 Then I began coating the thick substance on all the pumpkins...

 and anything else that was lying around.
 The two major differences between this paint
and Annie Sloane's Chalk Paint
is this paint is gritty.

Annie's is smooth.

Also, Annie's dries in minutes.
These pumpkins took hours to dry.

I left them over night,
and then I did another coat
just to make sure the bruised parts were thoroughly covered and sealed.

It did a good job
and although I wouldn't drop kick one of these pumpkins across the room,
their bruises are healed,
and they are much more durable than their former selves.

To paint the pumpkins,
I painted some orange with lighter tones on the raised ribs;
for the "whitish" looking pumpkins,
I used really watered-down
Leaf Green, Burnt Umber, and Bright Yellow Apple Barrel paint
and roughly sponged each of these colors all over the pumpkin
til I got the look I liked.

After that dried, I highlighted the raised rib sections
with watered down white paint.

For the pumpkins that I did transfers on,
I found the images that I wanted from the Graphics Fairy,
 and colored charcoal pencil on the back of the image
after I had roughly cut around it.

I practiced on a sheet of paper...
 so I would get a rough idea of how I would place the wording.

Then I carefully laid the image onto the completely painted
and dried pumpkin,
 lightly taped it down,
and traced around the image.

 I then used a dipping calligraphy pen
and some permanent brown acrylic calligraphy ink
to fill in the design
and write in the words.

Using a permanent paint marker would be an even easier option.

The painted completed pumpkins were then given
a brushing of clear wax,
with a touch of rugger brown wax for some extra shading.
A few hours later, they were buffed and
ready to sit on a shelf.

 For the other pumpkins,
I did some free-hand designs,
and I did this one...
using a stencil.

I then filled in with some detail and shading.
(You can see the shine the wax adds by comparing the previous two pictures).

 This was a fun project
and definitely worth the effort.
If you happen upon some "damaged" pumpkins,
get a few and give it a try.

Even my daughter stole one of my pumpkins away
after it had been chalk-painted.

I discovered this fact when I opened the gift she had wrapped up for me:

 But this one isn't being offered in the giveaway.

It's priceless.

So without further ado,
the winner of the giveaway is:

 Congratulations, Anne!!
You'll have to let me know which one you will choose
when you email me your address.

Wait a second.
Your comments were so sweet and overwhelming,
I decided to give one more away,
since I got an extra scarf done.

So I ran the numbers through random.org one more time and got:

 Congratulations to you, Anita!!

You said you liked the first pumpkin the most.
I think that was referring to the "Autumn Geese."

Let me know when you email me your address if this is right.

My email is PumpkinPiePainter1(at)gmail(dot)com.

Thank you to all who participated.
I wish I could send all of you a painted pumpkin!

(I am linking this up to Debbie Doos Primp-your-Pumpkin,
event thought these pumpkins were from last year).


  1. Woo Hoo!! Congratulations Anne and Anita - you're two lucky, lucky, gals!! I have pumpkin envy!! ;o) Thanks so much for hostessing this fun giveaway....no matter what, I'm still in love with your incredible pumpkin magic (and your daughter's - well, you're right...that's just priceless!!) Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  2. hurray to your lucky winners!!! you are so darn creative! love it!

  3. Congratulations to the winners. They are lucky girls!!


  4. Those are fantastic. You did a great job. Always fun to look at something and say I can fix that no problem. Happy Fall.

  5. love it and love that you can use it year after year :)

  6. Well, the title of your blog could not BE more perfect for this blog post! Thanks so much for posting this DIY. Your pumpkins look amazing. I have a foam pumpkin that I don't like the "seam" across it...I was wondering if a thick paint might fix it and now I know that it would! I saw your post over at "No Minimalist Here".

  7. Amazing, just amazing. Love your pumpkins redo. Your creativity shines.

  8. I apologize for not visiting my favorite blogs lately, and i promise to do some catching-up with everyone in the next few days. We are experiencing cooler weather starting today (Thursday) and as for myself I'm looking forward to falls return to the Lancaster Pennsylvania area. And are the color of the leaves changing your your way folks as they are mine. Hope everyone has a great weekend and enjoy the beautiful fall season that has now begun. Richard from Amish Stories

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  10. what an awesome idea!! i never thought about making using of plastic pumpkins till now.. i might just try it this year! thanks for sharing!

  11. What a great rescue you did! I can see your hubby now:) They turned out fabulous! Yay for the gals that won one and your beautiful scarves!

  12. OMG!! These are just awesome! You are one very talented lady! Thanx for coming over and sharing!

  13. Wow! What a transformation! I love that you added plaster to the paint to create a more realistic texture on the pumpkins!

  14. I've never come across your blog till now. Those are beautiful!!! If I send you my Dollar Tree pumpkins will you do that for me? LOL I plan to paint them on a day that I'm strong enough to set it all up. How do you get all sides painted and dried? I don't see lines where you left off to do the other side.

  15. How cute! I love the graphic images you transferred into the pumpkins.

  16. I really like how you painted and embellished the white pumpkins. So cute!

    Linking from Debbidoos,
    Ricki Jill


I love your comments!