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Pumpkin Painting is easy & fun with step by step guide

Updated on August 23, 2017

Pumpkin painting for the less Artistic and most Enthsiastic

I wanted pumpkins that would be festive and could survive until Thanksgiving. I started this family tradition years ago.

I will share step by step instructions for painting a pumpkin.

Some are Halloween themed, some are Holiday themed and then some are purely original. I believe creativity is therapy for anyone regardless of their age or artistic ability.

Holiday Fun with Painted Pumpkins

I have never met a kid who did not like to paint.

Just plan the bath for right after.

Choosing the pumpkins

You can choose a pumpkin that will last months. Pumpkins come in a variety of colors: orange, yellow, green, brown and white. Check pumpkins over for bruises, discoloration, or soft spots. Look for a strong and sturdy stem. I give it a slight tug to make sure it does not come off.

I make sure they can stand up on their own. Think small sizes for younger painters who want to participate and be done quickly. I prefer a more smooth, flat and ridge free pumpkin. Store pumpkins with space around them so air can circulate.

Draw a draft picture

Sometimes it takes a bit of coaxing and tossing ideas out to get children to draw a picture for their pumpkin. All they really want to do is paint. For the younger or less imaginative pumpkin painter I suggest a picture similar to coloring book pictures. This will lead to a better product and success rate.

Get on-line and search for their favorite things that are printable. You need a draft drawing that is colored in order to chose the paint colors that will be needed for the pumpkin. I use crayons, markers or even colored pencils for the draft drawing.

Preparing the pumpkin

A Thanksgiving Painted Pumpkin

I thoroughly wash them. I then let them dry completely. Think about if you want to paint the entire pumpkin a solid color for a backdrop to your idea. This is the time to spray paint a solid color as a background. You may want to consider not covering the entire pumpkin so it still looks like a pumpkin. You can paint only the front in that case.
I have tried both so let your creativity guide you.

Transfer drawing to the pumpkin

Another Thanksgiving Pumpkin

I use a thin lined crayola marker or even a very dull pencil. Be careful not to push very firm or you will puncture the rind which will lead to mold and then rotting. If you use a crayola marker then use the lightest color possible. Crayola markers can be erased using a q-tip dipped in water. My husband uses a very thin lined sharpie marker. Beware sharpie does not erase or wipe off. It is permanent. (You could use sharpie markers if you like instead of paint. It dries much faster.) You can try to freehand paint without transferring the drawing. I would practice on paper with paint first.

Other ways to transfer your drawing to the pumpkin

Make sure the pattern or drawing is adapted to the size of your pumpkin. Using a computer program to scan and resize the picture is the easiest way to make certain you keep the correct proportions. Trace the picture onto tracing paper and then use graphite paper. Put the graphite paper between the pumpkin and the tracing paper with the graphite side facing the pumpkin to transfer the picture. Tape them in position. It helps to trim the tracing paper so the graphite paper's edges are slightly exposed. The tape will stick to both papers and the pumpkin.

Now carefully and firmly trace your drawing with a chopstick or a very, very dull pencil. Check to see if it has transferred by lifting a corner before taking all the tape off.

Another method is to tape the drawing to the pumpkin and using the chopstick or a dulled toothpick to trace the drawing. Only use enough pressure to leave a faint indentation on the pumpkin. Do not press hard enough to pierce the pumpkin.


As you get your creativity flowing you will probably come up with supplies not on this list.

  • Pumpkins
  • Paintbrushes
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Spray paint
  • Spray Sealer
  • Graphite Paper / Sketch Paper / Tracing Paper
  • Pencil / Chopsticks / Toothpicks
  • Paper Towels / Rags
  • Cup of water - I use old small gatorade bottles
  • Paper plates to mix paints or small plastic cocktail plates
  • Glitter / Buttons / Beads
  • Strong Glue- not all glues are equal

Getting the supplies ready

I set up a pumpkin station that can stay put for a few days or can easily be put away and then put out back out. It seems with normal life it is impossible to finish a painted pumpkin in just a day.

Don't forget a drop cloth of some sort. I use a cheap vinyl tablecloth and tape it around to the bottom of my table. Newspaper will work as well.

Each time I begin working I always have cups of water, paper towels, damp small cloths, q-tips, dull pencils, toothpicks, and plates to mix paint. I like to use paint trays for mixing my paints for each pumpkin and others prefer small plastic cocktail plates.

Paintbrushes can make a huge difference

Another learned lesson

Different brushes make different strokes and have different purposes. A good quality synthetic brush will work best. The different designs of brushes are round, flat-ended, pointed, chiseled, and they range in width from one hair to inches. Mostly you will find round or square ended brushes.

A beginner can use a small linear brush for detailing and outlining then a large flat brush for painting larger areas. The smaller pointed short bristled brushes are necessary for outlining and detailing. Most inexpensive brushes do not come to a point so being precise will be frustrating. A thinner brush is better for details.

All the brushes need to be cleaned thoroughly after use. If you leave it in the water the bristles get bent and stick to the paint which settles at the bottom of the water and then they are ruined. If you are taking a break then wipe the brush with a damp cloth and lay it down flat.

Painting a color underneath your picture

If you have one color that serves as a backdrop to the rest of your picture paint it on first. Wait for it to dry completely before painting your picture on top.

Time to Paint Pumpkins

NO worries a damp paper towel will wipe mistakes right off

It is good to pick a small area on the pumpkin to start and only get those colors ready. I have learned it is much better to start at the top of the pumpkin and work your way down. Otherwise you get paint on your hand and smear your work.

I have also learned that propping your pumpkin up at times or tilting it back may be helpful. I have used things such as big bowls (good for tilting a pumpkin backwards), small foot stools, 2x4 boards, a folded towel and other items to adjust the pumpkin how you need it for painting your masterpiece.

A reminder, once you have mixed a color for painting then save it for a while because you may want it for touch up or for an another area. It is hard to remix the exact color. Wait for each painted color to dry completely before adding the next especially if they are next to one another or on top of one another.

If you goof wait

Do not fret if the image or painting is not perfect.

When the paint dries start again.

The colors will bring the image to life. Just think, imperfection gives your pumpkin designs character.

Stopping and starting again

Again, when you mix a color it is good to save it for later use because it is really hard to mix that exact color twice. You can use paint containers with lids. You can use small plastic cocktail plates and save them in ziplock bags.

Often a little water might be needed when you start painting again. Go easy with the water. I use a baby dropper so I can put one drop at a time.

Final Touch
Once the paint is completely dry, spray sealer generously over the painted area and allow to dry.

Your pumpkins can be displayed outside except when it freezes or there is a frost because the extreme cold makes the pumpkin expand and then can cause the paint to crack.

World Series Try

We were inspired by the Texas Rangers one year.

Creativity has no limits.

Painting Pumpkins


Once you start it is hard to stop!

What would you paint on your pumpkin - Please share

Halloween or Holiday


Traditions that start when they are young & take you through the years

Buy A Pumpkin

The very first step is buying a pumpkin.

Pick out a good one.Go back to top if you need a review on picking out a pumpkin.

Albums for the songs above

I have all of these albums and enjoy listening to them.


All the text and photos in this article are the creation and property of the author, unless otherwise noted. Thanks for respecting intellectual and image copyright laws and principles.

All photos in this article, are the exclusive property of Coolaunt. Please do not copy or reproduce these photos in any way without written permission from Coolaunt.

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Pumpkin Painting Friends

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      These are just so amazing! Thanks for sharing. Take care :)

    • amandascloset0 profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • OrganicMom247 profile image


      6 years ago

      Cute pumpkin paintings.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      These are so cute, very lovely pumpkins lens. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I never thought about painting pumpkins before, thanks for the great ideas!

    • selah74 profile image


      6 years ago

      I was just telling my wife the other day, we should paint pumpkins instead of carve them. Carving them makes them go bad too soon. Good to see others doing it and some ideas too. Thanks.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great guide, Ill have to get the kids started on painting their own pumpkin for this Halloween

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What a neat idea and what fun. Love the star wars paintings. Great lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love these images of Pumpkin Painting, it looks like so much fun.

    • rawwwwwws lm profile image

      rawwwwwws lm 

      6 years ago

      AWESOME LENS! Thanks for sharing, blessed! I loved the images and set up of your lens. Great job.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You creativity astounds me. These are fabulous pumpkins, added to my pumpkin décor lens because it fits perfect! Love the white welcome and give thanks. Cool!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a really fun lens. I will have to try this. I've never thought of a Darth Vader pumpkin before. I like the idea.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image


      6 years ago from British Columbia

      What a great collection of pumpkin art! Good thing you took photos. These pumpkins look terrific!

    • greenspirit profile image

      poppy mercer 

      6 years ago from London

      You say that you haven't much artistic technique...I think we can see here that in fact you are a skilled artist! These pumpkins are beautifully painted, and the lens is great fun,

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      love this pumpkin art. very interesting

    • sunlightseer profile image


      6 years ago

      Very fun idea! Love the lens, keep it up.

    • sheriangell profile image


      6 years ago

      Oh my gosh! I just want to say these are incredibly cool. Excellent first lens and Squid Angel blessed today!

    • MikeRobbers LM profile image

      MikeRobbers LM 

      6 years ago

      Wonderful paintings,, so sad that we don't have the Pumpkin tradition here

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      6 years ago

      Oh! The pained pumpkins are so funny, as they are unique, and the imagination can go wild... Great lens! This is also a great debut, so keep going!

    • lewisgirl profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent! Really well done! Great instructions.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I really like the "Welcome" pumpkin. Welcome to Squidoo!


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