This season, two trends are dominating fall decor: velvet pumpkins and painted styrofoam pumpkins from the dollar store. I’ve put my spin on the dollar store pumpkin craze, too! Today, I’ll show you exactly how to paint foam pumpkins like the pros.
Now, let’s get started with these DIY projects!
This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. For more information, please see my disclosures.
Supplies for Painted Foam Pumpkins
For this project, you’ll need just a few basic supplies. This is a great opportunity to reuse existing paint colors!
- Foam pumpkins (Dollar Tree or similar)
- Acrylic paints, chalk paint or latex paint
- Paint brushes
- Natural wood stems
- Kitchen sponge (optional)
- Decorative ribbon or fabric (optional)
Steps for Painted Foam Pumpkin
Step 1: Prime the faux pumpkin with a base coat of paint
Before painting the pumpkins in your desired color, remove all foam stems. They are usually attached to the pumpkin by a toothpick.
Then, apply 1-2 coats of thick chalk paint or another light-colored paint.
(This helps disguise the original orange color of the pumpkins.)
Step 2: Paint pumpkins in the desired color
You can play with several colors to lighten or darken your paints until you find a tone that you like.
The chalk paint from the first step can also help lighten other colors as needed. I chose light teal and rust colors to coordinate with my living room decor.
For best results, wait about two hours in between coats of paint.
Step 3: Apply metallic paint or darker color accent to pumpkins
As a final touch, you can use a sponge or brush to apply accent paint onto the pumpkins.
In my case, adding gold metallic paint gave the pumpkins more depth and texture. Since I decided to paint a few other dollar store gourds in gold paint, the collection hung together nicely.
Step 4: Prepare stems of pumpkins
For stems, I collected twigs from our local community park. You can use any type of stem that strikes your fancy.
If you choose to use wooden stems, place the stems in the oven at a low temperature (200°F or 93°C) to dry them out and get rid of any small critters. Once the stems are toasted, you can gently insert them into your pumpkins.
Shop for Pumpkin Stems
Did you know you can also keep real pumpkin stems for future craft projects? Just make sure you remove all raw pumpkin flesh and store the stems in a dry place for several weeks. You can also shop for real or faux stems below.
More Pumpkin Crafts
If you’re looking for more ways to customize your pumpkins for home decor this year, try making these easy decoupage pumpkins or my glam painted pumpkins that look like MacKenzie-Childs knock-offs (see below).
You can watch me make these MacKenzie-Childs beauties in my Halloween crafts video on YouTube.
I also have a tutorial on how to make farmhouse-style white painted pumpkins.
You can see how these white-painted pumpkins work for a neutral color scheme in my fall cloche centerpiece below.
Final Look at Painted Foam Pumpkins
You can add whatever bling you like to your upcycled pumpkins. I found an adorable set of mini wooden fall leaves that I placed at the base of my stems. Try adding these to your Halloween decor next to jack-o’-lanterns or plain white pumpkins.
Do you have plans to upcycle some ugly pumpkins with paint this year? Tell me about it in the comments below!
Shop the Look
Pin it for later!
I hope you enjoyed learning how to paint foam pumpkins! If you want to share your painted pumpkins, tag me on Instagram @firstdayofhome!
- Foam pumpkin
- Acrylic paint or chalk paint in 1 light color for primer coat and 1 desired color for top coat
- Gold/metallic colored paint for highlights (optional)
- Natural wood stem or faux pumpkin stem
- Kitchen sponge
- Decorative ribbon (optional)
- Paint brush
- Prime the pumpkin by painting 1-2 coats of white or light-colored paint. Let dry 1-2 hours.
- Apply top coat of paint and let dry.
- Wet part of the sponge, pat dry and then dip it into gold/metallic paint. Dab off excess paint and then pounce the sponge onto the pumpkin. This gives a soft highlighted effect to the pumpkin.
- After pumpkin is completely dry, insert ribbon (optional) and stem into center of pumpkin.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.