I've been painting pumpkins during the fall for a very long time- so long that I kinda consider myself a pioneer of pumpkin painting! Back in 2010 my pretty painted pumpkins tutorial went viral and since then it has become a yearly tradition of mine to come up with a variety of unique pumpkin tutorials with the hope to inspire others to push the boundaries with paint and a pumpkin! While I've got a couple of fun ideas coming you way in the weeks to ahead, I thought I would dedicate a post to sharing a few of my favorite tips that I have discovered over the years painting pumpkins.
PICK A PUMPKIN
Any kind of pumpkin or gourd works great for painting. I typically like pumpkins that have an interesting shape and will use whatever is cheapest. I have found that white pumpkins make it a little easier if you are painting with light colors (or if you are collaging paper or fabric), while and the orange pumpkins work great when using dark colors.
The question I get asked more than any- is why I don't use fake pumpkins and if I am sad when I throw out my painted pumpkins. Most people figure that if I am going to spend a lot time painting something then it should last forever. But I love the concept of creating art that is temporary. There is something really cool, at least for me, about picking out a real pumpkin that I paint knowing that it's shelf life is limited. This concept is not for everyone but for me it's a great challenge to get creative with unique materials. And no I don't get sad when I throw them out :)
USE PUMPKINS AS DECOR
Most people associate decorated pumpkins with Halloween but I like to use pumpkins throughout October and November in my decorating. I use them on the front porch, as a table centerpiece and around my home and studio.
START WITH A BASE COAT
Starting with a quick base coat is the best advice I can give when painting pumpkins (unless you want the surface or color of your pumpkins to show through). Since pumpkins have a slick surface, that coat of paint will make it much easier to paint or draw on. I use a quick layer of either black or white acrylic paint and once that layer is dry I add my color or pattern.
USE UNEXPECTED SUPPLIES
While I like to paint or draw on my pumpkins, there are so many different supplies and mixed media techniques that can be used! Back when I created my pretty little pumpkins, I was told that puff paint should not be used on slick surfaces but I didn't care! I had been using puff paint in so many different ways I knew it would work great and since I wasn't creating art that needed to last forever, I could be unconventional with my materials. Anything that can be in art or mixed media projects (stamps, stencils, paint, ink, collage materials, etc) can all be used on the surface of a pumpkin.
A SHARPIE WORKS BEST
My favorite supply for just about any project will always and forever be a Sharpie pen. A Sharpie pen is wonderful and the best supply for drawing on pumpkins- they work great on slick surfaces and are permanent which means they will withstand the elements if you leave your pumpkins outside.
Don't be afraid to express yourself! While it is really easy to duplicate tutorials that you see on Pinterest, try challenging yourself to use your own style and favorite mixed media techniques to decorate your pumpkins. With a little creativity and time a pumpkin can be transformed into a piece of art.
Looking for some pumpkin painting inspiration? Here is a look at all the pumpkins I've shared over the years-