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How to Paint Foam Pumpkins to Look High End

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Have you drooled over those handmade harlequin pumpkins that sit on shelves in high-end boutiques? Drool no further. Today, I’m teaching you how to paint foam pumpkins to look high end without spending big money!

Woman holding dollar store foam pumpkin painted to look like MacKenzie-Childs inspired pumpkins

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Can You Paint Foam Pumpkins?

By now, I hope you know the answer is YES!

Last year, I shared how to paint pumpkins, and those little gourds became a hit on Pinterest. I’ve also made DIY white painted pumpkins for a more neutral farmhouse-style look.

This year, I wanted something bigger…something designer-inspired.

Painted foam pumpkins using black and white chalk paint, acrylic paint and gold leaf

To recreate this same look, you’ll only need a handful of supplies, and I’ll give you a few options for each step depending on your skill level.


Painting foam pumpkins with chalk paint, acrylic paint and gold leaf paint

To paint foam pumpkins, you have a few options. I’m going to share the exact supplies I used, but feel free to experiment!

*I created my own stems using my salt dough recipe that I’ll soon post to the blog.

You can order real pumpkin stems, or you can use twigs, corks or knobs for a unique spin.

Shop for Stems:

How to Paint Styrofoam Pumpkins

1. Remove stems and paint pumpkins with white paint.

There’s no magic to removing the stems. Simply pop them off!

Then, you’ll want to apply 2-3 coats of white paint to fully color that neon orange pumpkin. (It’s as neon as they come.)

Make sure you wait 2 hours in between coats.

White pumpkin with black and gold polka dots made from Dollar Tree foam pumpkins

I used the paint color Sheepskin for a soft white that didn’t look too stark against the black. You can see another example of this color in my painted bottles tutorial.

2. Draw design onto pumpkin with pencil.

Before applying any black paint, sketch an outline of your design onto the pumpkin. You can create polka dots, a harlequin (diamond) pattern, striped pattern or a check pattern.

Dollar Tree foam pumpkins painted with black, white and gold to look like designer high end pumpkins

The striped and polka dot patterns may be easiest for beginners since they don’t require as much of a steady hand. The harlequin is most difficult, but you should totally go for it!

Stay tuned for more details in my upcoming video!

Tip: You can always use a paint pen or Sharpie if painting isn’t your jam.

3. Paint black pattern onto pumpkin.

With a steady hand, start by making a fine outline of each square, dot, or diamond. Fill in each segment with black paint.

I recommend painting half of the pumpkin and waiting for the paint to dry slightly. Otherwise, you could accidentally smudge the white areas of your pumpkin. I speak from experience (grin)!

4. Paint stem gold and attach to pumpkin.

Apply at least two coats of a gold-colored paint to the pumpkin stem. (Feel free to use a natural, dried stem if you want to skip the metallic paint.)

I have experimented quite a bit with gold-toned paint colors. This 18K gold leaf paint is by far my favorite!

Black and white checkered pattern painted onto foam pumpkin with gold stem

Note: The top of the pumpkin with the check pattern has a gold leaf sheet applied, while the stem is gold leaf paint. You can hardly see a difference!

The last step is to attach your stems with hot glue. Then, touch up any “bald spots” with gold paint, as needed.

Gluing stem onto top of dollar store styrofoam pumpkin

Optional: Seal pumpkins with acrylic spray.

For a glossier finish, you can spray your finished pumpkins with acrylic sealer.

One Final Look

I love how these pumpkins turned out, and I hope you’ll enjoy making them, too! For more fall DIY inspiration, be sure to check out my full Halloween mantel decor.

Halloween mantel with foam pumpkins, salt dough ornament garland and DIY farmhouse style sign
Real and painted black and white foam pumpkins sitting on Halloween mantel

Pin this for later!

Dollar store painted foam pumpkins used for fall decor or Halloween mantel decor

Become a VIP!

Have you heard about my VIP Library with free downloads like these fall farmhouse printables? You won’t want to miss out on what I have planned for the holidays…

Thanks for spending your time with me. Ask me some questions or tell me about your pumpkins in the comments below! I read each one!

All my best,

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    1. Ha ha! Thanks, Janet. I love a good designer knock-off! This is definitely a champagne craft on a beer budget. I appreciate you stopping by, as always!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I’d love to see what you come up with if you plan to paint your own pumpkins. Thanks for stopping by, Sassy. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sonya. There are so many different ways you can paint these pumpkins. It’s always rewarding to find a way to get an upscale look on a budget. I’d love to know if you end up trying this! Thanks for stopping by.

  1. WOW… amazing DIY designer pumpkins made from foam pumpkins! These look fantastic! I can’t believe how close they look to Mackenzie-Childs pumpkins! Very excited to see the video coming! I’m thinking I may know how you got such perfect polka dots!

    1. Thank you so much, dear Julie! I can’t wait to hear your theory on the polka dot pumpkins. 🙂 The video will be coming soon! I can’t believe how quickly Halloween has come upon us!