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How to Paint Foam Pumpkins with Great Results Every Time

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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 this DIY project!

Foam pumpkins turned into farmhouse style fall decor with paint and decoupage

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! 

Steps for Painted Foam Pumpkin

Dollar store pumpkins made of styrofoam

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.)

Applying primer to dollar store foam pumpkin

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.

Demonstrating how to paint foam pumpkins by applying a teal color over a base coat of white paint

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. 

Applying gold metallic paint to foam dollar store pumpkin

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).

Painted foam pumpkin from dollar tree with black and white checkered theme and gold leaf stem
MacKenzie-Childs Inspired Pumpkins

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

White baby boo pumpkins with lantern and faux fall foliage
White Farmhouse Painted Pumpkins

You can see how these white-painted pumpkins work for a neutral color scheme in my fall cloche centerpiece below.

Fall cloche with white pumpkins, green hydrangeas and wooden bead garland
Fall Cloche Centerpiece

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.

Decoupage pumpkins and painted pumpkins in farmhouse barrel using dollar store foam pumpkins
Painted Farmhouse Pumpkins
Painted pumpkin and decoupage pumpkin in barrel made from dollar store foam 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!

Painted pumpkins in bushel barrel on display by fireplace

I hope you enjoyed learning how to paint foam pumpkins! If you want to share your painted pumpkins, tag me on Instagram @firstdayofhome!

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Applying blue paint to dollar store foam pumpkins

How to Paint Foam Pumpkins (Dollar Store Craft)

Author: firstdayofhome.com
See this tutorial for great tips on painting foam pumpkins from the dollar store. You'll be amazed at how you can transform cheap dollar store pumpkins into beautiful farmhouse decor with a little paint and a faux stem.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 37 minutes
Project Type Arts & Crafts
Cost (US$)10
Yield 1 pumpkin


  • Foam pumpkin
  • Acrylic paint (chalk paint in 1 light color for primer coat and 1 desired color for top coat)
  • Gold acrylic paint (optional, for highlights or texture)
  • Natural wood stem or faux pumpkin stem
  • Kitchen sponge
  • Decorative ribbon (optional)


  • 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.
Tried this project?Mention @firstdayofhome or tag #firstdayofhome!

Previous photos:

Paint and Decoupage Upcycled Dollar Store Pumpkins

More Fall Crafts & Decor

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  1. Beautiful pumpkins from not so pretty beginnings. Stunning transformation!
    I would love to include this post in a post I am writing this week (roundup) full of pumpkin inspiration.
    Happy Fall,

    1. Hi Kippi! Thank you so much. They are so fun to play with, aren’t they? I’d love to be included in your roundup post. Thanks for asking! I look forward to seeing it and sharing it with others. Happy Fall! -Crissy

    1. Ha ha! I’m glad you like them, Barbara. It’s always fun to experiment. I bought some more dollar store pumpkins, so now I’ll have to find something else to do with them! Thanks for visiting.

  2. These look so good with your tricks an updating them! Thanks for sharing with Thursday Favorite Things!! I’m going to be featuring you tomorrow! Angelina @ Petite Haus

    1. Hi Renee! Thanks so much! I actually purchased the brown woven pumpkin at a local boutique. If I find a similar one online, I’ll add it to my home decor shop on this site!

    1. Hi Oma! You’re so kind! I got the planter pot at Michaels. They had lots of cute farmhouse decor this year. You might also try Hobby Lobby.

  3. Hi Crissy!
    So cute!!! Last year I found a big foam pumpkin at Walmart so I ended up creating a faux vase with it. There are so many fun things we can do with faux pumpkins. 🙂 Thanks for the new ideas! Pinned to my Crafts & Sewing board ~ Fall for you and our readers. <3

    Barb 🙂

    1. Hi there, Barbara! Thanks for popping in! The possibilities are endless, aren’t they? I love the fact I can reuse these or update them from year to year. Thanks for pinning! Hugs back to you! 🙂

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Lauren! I’m glad you liked the pumpkins! If you’ve already painted your pumpkins, your one step ahead to use decoupage. Please let me know how they turn out! 🙂

  4. Your pumpkins turned out so cute! Painting pumpkins is on my to-do list for this week. 😉 I would love you to share these at our Vintage Charm party on Wednesday! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

    1. Thanks, Cecilia! I’m glad you liked them! I’d love to participate in the Vintage Charm party, and I can’t wait to see how your pumpkins turn out…

  5. I painted a bushel load of plastic pumpkins last year and they’ve held up really well.
    I love your decoupage version, but Mod Podge is not my friend.😀

    Happy first day of fall.

  6. Simply amazing!! Your pumpkin creations are delightful and so creative. Above all, the placement and decor in your home is magazine quality! Congratulations and keep up the good work.