Last week, my close friend from college and recently-moved-in neighbor K, threw a pumpkin painting party*. She invited spouses from her husband’s squadron and extended an invitation to some of the wives from my husband’s group. I was thrilled at the prospect of crafting with a group of women and possibly making some new friends.
But I hadn’t painted or carved a pumpkin in years. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I did either. Which is terrible because I pride myself on being the Martha Stewart of Air Force Spouses. (Haha, just kidding! I will never reach such great heights!)
After some sleuthing, I found some great ideas for decorating pumpkins without carving. 1. Plaid and striped painted pumpkins. 2. Graphic, almost folksy free-handed designs. 3. Patchwork white-on-white. 4. Doily as stencil. My favorite is the white-on-white patchwork. It looks like a Denyse Schmidt quilt, but in pumpkin form! All of these came from the Better Homes and Gardens’ Quick and Easy Painted Pumpkins for Halloween photo gallery.
BHG also has some great ideas for pumpkins on a porch: 5. House numbers. 6. Welcome sign. 7. Ghost pumpkins. (These are carved, but could easily be recreated without using a knife. Just use paper cut-outs to make the faces and tape to pumpkins before spray-painting orange pumpkins white or use white pumpkins and orange paint to create the faces.) 8. Bat pumpkins. I love the ghosts on the mantel and the bat pumpkins for new, inexperienced crafters – they are adorable, yet easy. #7 and 8 come from Parents’ photo gallery: 9 Painted Pumpkin Ideas.
I also found a few non-carved, non-painted pumpkins. 9. Candy faces from Martha. 10. Messages with thumbtacks from Poetic Home 11. Faces using colored brads aka metal paper-fasteners. My best friend T made this for her desk at work using multi-colored brads. Ingenious! And adorable! She ran out of gold brads, so his eye is a bit lopsided.
Photos from Martha Stewart, Poetic Home, and author’s personal collection.
So I searched through my typefaces and found my favorites. I printed out the entire alphabet in black ink and brought those plus photos and templates for some of the painted pumpkins above to the party. I also brought a big stack of Halloween magazines and of course, painting and art supplies.
The party was a success! Lots of the ladies freehanded their pumpkins, but some of them used the letters and bat templates to decorate them.
One of the gals’ painted her pumpkins in a pattern similar to the plaid and striped ideas from BHG, only using gold and silver paint.
My pumpkins came out great. These terrible photographs do not do them justice. At the last minute, I decided to buy fake pumpkins from Michael’s (they were 60% off!) so I can use them again and again.
The process was really simple:
- Print out a letter in black ink
- Use a pencil to color the back of the paper (making “carbon paper”)
- Put the paper on the pumpkin with the letter up
- Trace around the outline of the letter
- Now there is a light outline to paint and then glitter
I’m really thrilled with the way they turned out! How did you decorate your pumpkins this year? What was your inspiration?
*We painted instead of carved because of the heat here in Nevada; however, this week has been chilly, much more like we skipped past fall and headed straight into winter.