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How To Paint Pumpkins

Pumpkin painting is a fun and creative project for art lovers everywhere! Not only do pumpkins make amazing foods, beautiful fixtures, and spooky Halloween decor, but they’re also great canvases for beautiful works of art. Want to learn how to paint pumpkins? You’re in the right place!

We wanted to dive in and lay out a few ideas for painting pumpkins, including the best types of pumpkins to paint, what kinds of paints to use, the best time to paint them, and more! Read on to find out how to create your next pumpkin painting masterpiece. 

The Best Pumpkins to Paint

Although there are many different types of pumpkins, we’ve narrowed it down to the five best varieties that are the easiest to work with when it comes to learning how to paint pumpkins. 

Painting a pumpkin.

Regardless of which type of pumpkin you choose, you’ll want to spray it with some kind of sealant so that the paint sticks to the surface and holds better. The important thing is to find a healthy, ripe (but not too ripe) pumpkin that is as smooth as possible. 

1. Jack-Be-Little

Jack-be-little pumpkins can typically be found inside a home as they’re mainly used as adorable fall decorations. However, given their size, they’re perfect for small art projects as well.

These pumpkins are tiny (about three inches), making them perfect for children. Let your kids have a blast by painting shapes or cool designs that cover the whole pumpkin. 

2. Jack-o’-Lanterns

Jack-o’-Lanterns are probably what first comes to mind when you think of pumpkins, especially for Halloween as carving them has become a staple of the holiday.

While carving a Jack-o’-Lantern is certainly fun, they’re also great for learning how to paint pumpkins as well given their medium-size and relatively low weight.

3. Baby Boo

These cute little white pumpkins get their name from the white color they maintain when picked before they mature. 

Similar to Jack-Be-Little pumpkins, Baby Boos are tiny, and are similar in style when it comes to pumpkin painting. The best part? Because these pumpkins are white, they present the perfect canvas for a wide variety of colors. 

white pumpkins.

4. Porcelain Doll

This is another medium-sized pumpkin that has a smooth, waxy surface, much like a porcelain doll. They’re also unique, given their pink/orange color.

Porcelain Doll pumpkins are ideal if you want to use only certain colors of paint. Anything besides pink, red, orange, and tan can really pop against the pumpkin’s natural color and can make for one amazing work of art. 

5. Lumina

These are smooth, white pumpkins used in food, for decoration, or for Halloween carving. Because these are so smooth, and white, like the Baby Boos, they serve as a great surface for pumpkin painting with every color! 

Types of Paint

When it comes to learning how to paint pumpkins, there are several types of paint you can use to get the best results. Choosing one comes down to what results you’re looking for (professional or just for fun) and who the painter is (kids or adults). 

The Best Paint For Kids

Little Girl Painting A Pumpkin

Watercolors are the best options for kids, as they are simple, can blend together to create some beautiful, unique colors, and are relatively mess-free.

If you’re planning on teaching your kids how to paint pumpkins indoors, or on an outdoor surface you don’t want to get paint on—such as a deck, patio, or driveway—then we recommend laying down some newspaper before you let your kids paint their pumpkins. 

The most important thing about letting your kids paint pumpkins is giving them non-toxic and kid-friendly painting materials.

The Best Paint For Adults

Acrylics or spray paints are great for adults, since they stay in place, stick to the surface, and, best of all, don’t crack after being applied to the pumpkin. 

Additionally, acrylics create brighter and more intense colors. Adults can also use puffed paints, which not only provide aesthetic appeal but also changes in texture and in appearance because puffed paints add layers and appear raised on any surface. 

Types of Brushes

Just like the type of paint you choose, the type of brush you use is just as important when it comes to learning how to paint pumpkins. Sponge brushes are your best bet, since they are soft and effective in transferring paint. 

How to paint pumpkins

Typically, brushes with bristles are fine to use, but sponges tend to be best, since the bristles can be damaging to the pumpkin’s skin. After all, you are working with a fruit! 

No matter what kind of brush you decide to use, you should be gentle with the pumpkin, so as to not break the skin. The use of aerosol or brush-on sealant before painting will definitely help with keeping the pumpkin intact. 

Not sure where to start looking for perfect pumpkin painting brushes? Here are some of my favorites:

Time to Get Creative

Now for the final step in learning how to paint pumpkins. What are you going to paint?

When it comes down to it, pumpkin painting is all about expressing yourself creatively. You can paint with a vision, outlining your design first and filling it in with your paint of choice. Or, you can freestyle, starting randomly and seeing where it goes. 

No matter what you decide, be sure to get as creative as possible, so that you end up with a project that best reflects your unique vision and personality. 

To gain some inspiration, here are 10 of our favorite ideas for pumpkin painting: 

1.  Playing Around With Shapes

Though you might not believe it immediately, shapes are an amazing phenomenon. Not only are they complex enough to create geometric algorithms, but they are also simple enough to express complex emotions. For example, hearts signify love, and a star represents a fiery ball of gas light years away! 

They can also be great for creating patterns and planning intricate designs on a pumpkin! Whether you go with diamonds, hearts, stars, triangles, circles, or a combination of an array of shapes, they are diverse and can provide an awesome design.

2. Picturesque Seasons 

Although pumpkins are most often associated with fall, it is always fun to paint a picture that depicts our favorite aspects of our favorite seasons. For example, you can paint the sun, the sand, and the ocean to illustrate your favorite summer beach day. Or even a tree with its leaves falling off, to keep up with the autumn theme.

How fun would it be to think outside the box and paint a snowman on a pumpkin? Or a floral garden to represent springtime? The possibilities are endless!

3. Line Designs

You can use vertical and horizontal lines to create really cool patterns that you can then fill in with whatever colors you’d like! It’s like making your very own coloring book.

Whether it’s a simple black-and-white design or a complex combination of every color out there, you can use strong lines around the pumpkin, or vertically from the stem to the bottom, to create awesome-looking boundaries for your colors. 

4. Using Stamps 

Don’t want to draw freehand while also learning how to paint pumpkins? Then use stamps! You can find stamps in all shapes and sizes, from animals to food items, and everything in between. 

Stamps are a super fun way to use the paint and decorate the pumpkin, while not having to worry about whether or not you actually know how to paint a black cat or grey clouds. 

5. Incorporating Words 

Painting your pumpkin for Halloween in particular? Try painting some of these phrases on your pumpkin: “Boo!” “Beware” “Broomstick Xing” “Witches Brew” “Property of Ghouls”, or “Trick Or Treat”.

It may help to outline the words in pen or sharpie before filling in the block lettering with paint.

6. Wacky or Realistic Faces 

You can paint a face on a pumpkin and make it as wacky or as realistic as you’d like. You’re in control! 

If you want to paint the Mona Lisa, feel free. It’s your pumpkin, which means you get to paint it your way, so if you do choose to paint a face, it can be any face you’d like. It can even be a self-portrait!

Pumpkins carved for Halloween.

7. Fruits and Veggies

Fall produces some of the most delicious and beautiful fruits and vegetables you can imagine. So why not pick your favorite fruit or vegetable and paint different versions of it all over your pumpkin? 

8. Halloween-Themed 

We can’t talk about learning how to paint pumpkins without talking about Halloween-themed images. How about a few ghosts and ghouls flying around on the pumpkin? Or, a few witches cackling around a pot, brewing a potion? Even something simple and cute, like a pumpkin within a pumpkin would work. 

Halloween is the most popular time to decorate, carve, and/or paint pumpkins, so you can always use themes surrounding this tradition to create an awesome piece of art.

You can even make it a fun learning experience and research similar traditions in other countries! The most commonly known is Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which is celebrated in Mexico and entails elaborate masks and lighting candles to honor those who have passed. 

9. Add Some Texture

No matter what you decide to paint as you figure out how to paint pumpkins, it’s always fun to add layers once you’re done. Feel free to get creative with this part! 

You can use stickers, rhinestones, puffed paint, yarn, flowers, vines, leaves, strings with lights, strings with bells, henna, or glitter glue, just to name a few options. There are a multitude of ways to add texture to your pumpkin, once it’s painted!

10. Freestyle 

The beautiful thing about learning how to paint pumpkins is that you don’t actually have to paint anything concrete to create beauty on your surface of choice. As we mentioned earlier, it may be worth having a plan when it comes to your design, but there is also equal merit in freestyling! 

You can take your sponge or your soft brush and get wacky with the colors. Paint an array of colors together or lines and streaks where you please. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you have fun with it! 

Painted pumpkins, brushes and paint

Paint Pumpkins & Enjoy Yourself 

Whatever you decide to create, how to paint pumpkins is about taking the plunge and getting started. It’s a fun communal project that is perfect for the whole family to work on together. What better way is there to celebrate the fall holidays than using art to give pumpkin carving a unique twist?

Just remember to set up newspapers before you get started, and to only give children safe, non-toxic paint.

Excited for more pumpkin content? Keep learning all about pumpkin plants to become an expert on pumpkin planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and more!