pumpkin decorating Ideas

Forget the Mess of Carving

Fun Halloween Crafts with Painting Jack-O-Lantern Stencils - Here's some exciting pumpkin decorating ideas that will help you avoid the mess of pumpkin carving!

It’s about that time when all the ghost and goblins come out! Here are some great pumpkin decorating ideas that aren't your usual slash and carve endeavors.

Decorating pumpkins for Halloween is a longtime tradition. It’s a great craft for the family to do together. However, recent years have brought about some exciting changes to the tradition. Folks are becoming much more creative and putting an artistic touch to their designs. Instead of just the traditional carving of a pumpkin, now people are painting pumpkins.

I want to share with you some pumpkin decorating ideas and information for painting Jack-O-Lantern Stencils onto a pumpkin. Decorating your pumpkin with paint is much less messy and safer when getting the kids involved. Not to mention that you can be a lot more creative with paint and using a Halloween stencil makes the job much easier.

Free Pumpkin Stencil

Don’t just limit these pumpkin decorating ideas and instructions to the pumpkins you pick up at the farmer’s market either. I use this technique on gourds, too. Also, I found some plastic pumpkins at my local craft and decorating supply house. These are great because I can pack them away and they’ll be good for next year.

(Pssst! Check out Scary Pumpkin Stencils!)

Once you have your pumpkin, it’s time to look for the right stencil design. There are many Printable Halloween Stencils available right here on this web site like this one. It's called "Gonna Getcha" and it's the one I am using for this project. Enjoy!

Do you want to paint a face (scary or funny) or maybe a scene (black cat or graveyard)? Just find one that suits you and print it out.

How to Decorate a Pumpkin Without Carving

Great thing about printable stencils, if the Halloween stencil is not the right size for your pumpkin, you can always reduce or enlarge the image on a copy machine. Just hold the design in front of the pumpkin and eye it in. It’s best not to have a design the rolls too far over the top or bottom of your pumpkin. Remember, you want to see the entire design from one direction.

OK! You’ve got your pattern and it’s the right size. Now, you’ll have to cut your pattern so that you can apply paint. Using a craft-knife cut out the openings on the stencil. Make sure your blade is sharp at all times. Dull blades may cause the paper stencil to tear. The goal is to cut along each line only once with a firm, smooth motion. With your free hand, hold the stencil firmly and rotate the stencil so that you are always cutting with your arm and wrist at a comfortable angle. When cutting past a thin bridge area carefully use a finger to hold down the paper.

Painting a Pumpkin

Now it’s time to tape the stencil to the pumpkin and apply paint. That’s much easier said than done because you have a flat square page that needs to be secured to a round object. Here’s what I do. Line up your stencil so that the center of the design is even with the center of the pumpkin and put tape on each side. Then if you can, place another piece of tape at the top and the bottom. As you apply paint, you will need to use a finger to pull down the corners so that it flattens against the pumpkin.

For the white pumpkin, I was able to tape down the four sides and work my way out to each corner after starting in the center. But for the green gourd pictured below, the bottom was too rounded so I had to hold down with a finger as I moved around the corners.

Decorate Any Gourd!

It’s best to wait a couple of minutes before removing the stencil once you’ve finished painting. The idea is to be able to get the paper away from the surface without smudging the paint. So, if you let the paint dry just a little it will be less likely to smear. On the other hand, if the stencil remains in place for the paint to thoroughly dry, some of the paper along the edges will stick to the pumpkin. When removing the stencil, hold down on one side and roll it away. This is the best way to keep the stencil from dragging across any wet paint.

Touch up any jagged lines with a thin paint brush. You will most likely also need to fill in the crevice areas of the pumpkin that didn’t receive paint.

Wait! Don’t put away the paint brush and paints. This is the part where you can get very creative. Since you are working with paint, there is no reason you can’t do a second color or even a few colors. Here are a few tips and hints to make your pumpkins really stand out.

Once you have completed a layer of black paint on your stencil, reattach the stencil just above the black areas and repaint with a yellow. This creates a shadow effect.

But don’t be shy with the colors. Using reds, blues and greens can make your faces or scenes really stand out. You have the stencil to guide you in getting an image onto your pumpkin so now stretch your creativity and make it unique.

There are so many ways to have fun with Halloween Crafts! I often think that making the decorations is the most fun part of any occasion and Halloween is no exception. I hope you get the most of the projects found on this page and create some funky or scary art.

Want more pumpkin decorating ideas? Well, above we painted a craft pumpkin why not carve one. There's still no mess and it's awfully cute (I mean terrifying, yes definitely terrifying). Find out more about this Pumpkin Crafts project.

Happy Halloween and Happy Stenciling!