Call me basic, but my perfect fall afternoon is spent with a paintbrush in one hand and chai tea in the other. Let’s discuss the *basics* of pumpkin painting!

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Carving pumpkins can be a lot of work. Painting can be more colorful, is suited for a full range of skill levels, and allows live pumpkins to be preserved longer. Another option is painting or carving artificial pumpkins, which can be purchased at craft stores and never rot. I prefer to test new designs on real pumpkins, so I have the benefit of practice when decorating the “forever” pumpkins.

What to Paint

Pinterest is my favorite source of design inspiration, from event decor to pumpkin painting. Follow D20 Theory on Pinterest for more inspiration! Here are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

  • Classic: mixed fall motifs
Fall motif pumpkin
  • Stylish: monogram
  • Trendy: 3-color ombre
Ombre pumpkin
  • Girly: metallic solid
  • Creepy: eyeball
  • Kid-approved: emoji

You will need…

When deciding what to paint, consider two factors: what supplies you have in stock and what supplies you need for the designs that interest you. It may seem straightforward. However, a lack of planning can result in frustration, and this is supposed to be a fun project! Luckily, D20 Theory is here to help you prepare.

Pumpkin painting supplies.

The most disappointing experience is running out of your design’s primary color of paint halfway through the project. Acrylic paint is best for pumpkins, and it’s inexpensive. Also consider the paint brushes that are best for your design. A variety pack of basic brushes is a good investment, even for the infrequent crafter. Lastly, you will need a pumpkin. The small, smooth, spherical variety is the easiest to paint, but there are appropriate situations for many different pumpkin varieties. I recommend choosing a design prior to picking a pumpkin.

Let’s do it!

First, take a trip to your local pumpkin patch or craft store for real or artificial pumpkins. In the Philadelphia area, Linvilla Orchards and Terrain are pumpkin wonderlands.

Linvilla Orchards – Media, PA
Terrain – Devon, PA

Once you have the supplies, set up a mess-proof space and start painting. Disposable plastic tablecloths from the dollar store effortlessly transform any flat surface into a painting—or carving—station.

In general, take it slowly and—just like your fall wardrobe—use layers. If you want your design to shine without the candlelight, try glow in the dark paint.

Are you excited to paint décor for other holidays? Read our post about painting artificial eggs for Easter!

Call me basic, but my perfect fall afternoon is spent with a paintbrush in one hand and chai tea in the other.

What are you looking forward to painting on your pumpkin this fall? We are always searching for new inspiration. Share your creative ideas in the comments!