7 Pumpkin Painting Ideas You Have to Try This Year

Make mushy jack-o'-lanterns a thing of the past with these painted pumpkins that will last through Thanksgiving.

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As classic as a carved pumpkin is on Halloween, hollowing and carving a jack-o’-lantern is time-consuming (and kinda gross!), especially if you’re busy wrangling trick-or-treaters, whipping up Halloween desserts or crafting DIY Halloween decor. Luckily, carving isn’t the only way to transform an ordinary pumpkin into the ultimate Halloween decoration. Grab a paintbrush instead of a carving knife and check out these amazing pumpkin painting ideas!

country woman glitter pumpkinsCountry Woman

Glitter Glam Painted Pumpkins

Use a sponge brush to coat your pumpkin with a thin layer of decoupage glue. Before the glue dries, sprinkle the pumpkin with your favorite color glitter. (If your pumpkin is extra-large, do this in sections!) Shake or blow off any excess glitter. Allow the glue to dry completely before touching. Since your pumpkin is already looking glam, check out these Halloween cocktails to serve at your next costume party. 

Create a chevron pattern with painter's tapeTaste of Home

Zigzag Pattern Painted Pumpkins

Create a chevron pumpkin by marking and cutting off your desired chevron depth on painter’s tape (we’d suggest 2½ inches for a standard pumpkin). Cut enough strips with the depth measurement to circle the pumpkin several times. Mark the widest part of the pumpkin with a pencil and position a cut piece of tape on a 45-degree angle, with the bottom corner touching the center guideline. Continue placing tape pieces around the guideline, alternating between an upward and downward angle, with the pieces overlapping at the ends.

Once the tape is completely around the pumpkin, mark new guidelines and place tape above and below the center zigzag about 1 inch apart. Repeat as many times as needed to complete the chevron design. Cover the stem with painter’s tape to protect it. Spray-paint the pumpkin with two coats. While the paint is still tacky, remove tape from the pumpkin and allow the paint to completely dry.

Blue painted pumpkin with vinyl appliquesCountry Woman

Happy Harvest Design

Paint pumpkin with two or three coats of aqua craft paint. Dry thoroughly. Cover with matte decoupage glue to seal paint. Upload the template (see below) to your Cricut or another electronic cutting machine. Convert the template to seven layers in the machine’s software, and cut out the individual layers of vinyl craft sheets (red, orange, dark and light brown, light and golden yellow, and ivory) according to the machine’s instructions.

Remove all extra vinyl from each cut sheet, leaving just the pieces for design and markers. Cut a piece of clear contact paper large enough to cover entire project when finished plus a few inches all around. Peel backing off and tape down on work surface, smooth side facing up. Set contact paper aside.

Center brown vinyl layer on contact paper backing. Using masking tape, adhere vinyl to backing. Place contact paper over vinyl and use a smooth-edged scraper to press contact paper to vinyl. Remove vinyl backing along with contact paper backing. Prep next color by taping it onto the contact paper backing. Using marks on both layers, arrange brown layer on top of second color, pressing with scraper to adhere. Remove backing. Repeat process until all colors are lined up. Remove vinyl markers. Replace contact paper backing on design, and cut out design with a craft knife. Remove backing from half of design and place onto pumpkin, working from center out. Repeat with other side. Carefully peel off contact paper.

Stenciled quilt design on red painted pumpkinCountry Woman

Country Quilt Design

Paint pumpkin with two or three coats of red craft paint, drying thoroughly between coats. Create a cardstock stencil with an electronic cutting machine or by drawing and tracing by hand and cutting cardstock with craft knife. Place stencil on pumpkin, making sure it is straight and centered. Trace design on pumpkin with chalk, working from center out each time to assure design lines up. Fill in design with white paint, using a small angled brush. Dry thoroughly and wipe away excess chalk. Paint design with two or three coats of finish colors, drying between coats. Apply decoupage glue to pumpkin and allow to dry.

White pumpkin painted with marble swirl color designCountry Woman

Marvelous Marble Painted Pumpkin

Paint pumpkin with two or three coats of paint, allowing to dry between coats. Fill a deep roasting pan or plastic tote with room temperature water to an inch below the top. Drizzle two to three colors of nail polish on surface. Quickly swirl polish with a toothpick and immediately roll sides of pumpkin onto water surface. Place marbled pumpkin on cookie sheet to dry. If desired, empty pan and repeat swirling nail polish for a more layered effect, drying between coats.

Cream and gold painted pumpkin with textured script writingCountry Woman

Give Thanks

Using a wide brush, paint pumpkin with cream paint. Write “thankful” on pumpkin with chalk. Trace over the lettering with hot glue. Dry thoroughly. Paint two or three coats of gold paint over letters with small brush. Using a large brush, apply a thin coat of gold paint over whole pumpkin, increasing the concentration of paint in pumpkin creases. Remove any excess paint with a rag, using small, circular motions. Paint stem gold. Paint a thin coat of cream paint over pumpkin ridges, removing excess. Allow to dry. Check out these other Thanksgiving decorating ideas you’ll love.

Pumpkins decorated with glued on fall leavesTaste of Home

Lovely Leaf Decoupage Idea

Gather fresh or silk leaves. Using a sponge applicator, brush decoupage glue on an area of the pumpkin slightly larger than a leaf. Apply glue to back of leaf. Glue leaf to pumpkin, smoothing as needed. If necessary, keep leaf flat with straight pins inserted slightly into pumpkin. Coat top of the leaf with decoupage glue. Continue gluing leaves until design is complete. When dry, remove pins and apply another coat of decoupage glue to the entire pumpkin surface. Get in the autumn spirit with more easy fall crafts. 

Chuck your carving supplies and say hello to super cute porch decor that’s here to stay!

Originally Published in Country Woman

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Caroline Stanko
As an Associate Digital Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.