You've decided to do something different with your pumpkins this year. Carving pumpkins can be fun, but the process is often messy, and results can vary.
Instead of carving, you may want to paint a pumpkin. But can you spray paint a pumpkin?
The good news is that you can! I'll walk you through the process, outlining the best tricks of the trade for creating gorgeous, multi-colored gourds that will add a pop of color to your fall and winter decor.
Spray paint is a type of paint available in pressurized cans. The pigments are suspended in an aerosol spray that releases when you press down the valve nozzle.
If you need a solid color base or plan to paint the pumpkin all one color, spray paint is the best option. Spray paint will give you a uniform coat without any brush strokes.
Spray Painting Real Pumpkins
Real pumpkins take paint well, especially spray paint. Their lightly textured surface allows the pigments to adhere, though they can chip if left exposed to the elements. To prevent this, consider covering your painted gourd with a coat of clear sealant.
There is a risk of a painted pumpkin exploding as it decomposes. If the pores of the pumpkin get sealed by paint—especially oil-based paint—gasses can build up and create a messy pumpkin explosion. To prevent this, you can drill or puncture a small hole in the pumpkin.
Spray Painting Fake Pumpkins
Fake pumpkins will last for years and years, as long as you touch up the paint after storage.
Plastic pumpkins are more likely to flake than real pumpkins, but I've found that a primer designed for plastic adherence solves that issue.
Foam pumpkins are an excellent option for spray painting because the pigments stick well to the softer texture and pores.
Spray Painting Carved Pumpkins
If you want to carve and paint your pumpkin, you can take steps to make your pumpkin last a bit longer.
Dunking your creation in bleach water after cutting helps kill pathogens that lead to rot. I also recommend coating the areas where you made cuts with petroleum jelly to retain moisture.
Keep in mind that a carved pumpkin will rot faster than a whole one, no matter what you do to preserve it.
Color Ideas For Pumpkins (Options For Halloween & More)
In art, especially this sort of fun, seasonal activity, anything goes in the way of design. The pleasure of painting is experimenting with colors and styles, so don't worry about the result too much.
Can You Spray Paint a Pumpkin White?
White pumpkins, such as the Baby Boo, Super Moon, and Cotton Candy, are often referred to as "ghost pumpkins," thanks to their hauntingly pale color. If you only have orange gourds available in your area, you can spray paint your pumpkin white to achieve the same look.
These are incredibly gorgeous when you pair the unpigmented squash with glitter accents, lace appliques, and bold, black detailing.
Can You Spray Paint a Pumpkin Yellow?
Rich, mustard yellow is a ubiquitous fall color, so it's completely understandable if you want to add this shade to your fall decor in the form of a painted pumpkin.
If you decide to use lighter colors, you'll most likely need to incorporate a white primer as a base coat to cover the orange undertones that might come through your paint.
Can You Spray Paint a Pumpkin Gold?
Metallic decor is all the rage, and pumpkins are an excellent choice for bringing this trendy palette into your home. A warm, shimmering gold stands out best against a white primer coat, but some prefer a hint of orange to shine through.
Experiment with layering to achieve the perfect luxe shade you're aiming for.
Can You Spray Paint a Pumpkin Pink?
Turn your pumpkins pretty in pink with a few coats of spray paint. You can go pastel or try an eye-catching fuchsia shade, depending on your preferences.
Pair with other unique colors, like blue, white, and silver, for a harvest display your guests won't soon forget.
Can You Spray Paint a Pumpkin Peppermint Candy?
Pumpkins can be winter decor, too! Reuse your white pumpkins for the winter holidays by adding red stripes, creating a peppermint candy twist.
I highly recommend sprinkling a bit of white glitter over your creation for a sugar-coated glisten that will twinkle in the light.
How To Spray Paint A Pumpkin Step By Step
Ready to start spray painting your pumpkin? Let's walk through the steps for perfecting your harvest-time decor:
1. Review Safety Precautions
Your first step for spray painting anything is following the proper safety recommendations. Spray paint can be flammable due to the propellants.
Oil-based paints also contain toxins that are dangerous if inhaled. Therefore, it would be best only to spray paint in a well-ventilated area and use a respirator to prevent breathing in toxins.
2. Set Up Your Painting Space
Protect the ground where you'll be painting with a tarp or plastic sheeting.
When painting inside an opened garage to avoid the wind or weather, you may also want to cover any nearby items with a protective cover to prevent accidentally speckling them with pigment.
3. Cover the Stem and Unpainted Areas
If you want to keep parts of the pumpkin orange, cover those areas with painter's tape before you start. You may also want to tape the stem to retain its natural color.
4. Lay Your Base Coat
Start with a base coat of white that will make your colors more vivid and opaque than putting the paint directly on the pumpkin.
5. Cover with Color
Once you've decided on your final product, cover the base coat with the spray paint color of your choice. Use several thin coats, layering over dry spray, to avoid drips and splotches. When spraying, go side-to-side rather than up and down, creating the most even color.
6. Add Patterns and Details
Once your pumpkin is completely dry, add stenciling, designs, or accents if you'd like! Popular options include glitter, swirls, stripes, and painted-on faces.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you preserve a spray painted pumpkin?
A bleach bath will help preserve a spray painted pumpkin, as it prevents pathogens from making their home on the rind. Over time, though, your pumpkin will inevitably decay, so consider faux gourds if you want your creation to last.
Can you light a spray painted pumpkin?
If you used oil-based paints or vaseline to preserve it after carving, do not use real fire to light the pumpkin. Putting a fake candle or glow stick in the pumpkin instead is highly recommended.
Spray painting pumpkins is a fun activity to do at any time of the year, no matter your age. So long as you follow all safety precautions, it's a safer option for small children who aren't yet able to handle the sharp tools necessary to carve.
It also opens the door for more designs, unique accents, and pops of color that aren't available with traditional pumpkins.