Paint Chalk Paint on Pumpkins

Now is a great time to begin thinking about updating fall crafts.  So today I’m sharing how to paint chalk paint on pumpkins and add real stems.  

Wouldn’t it be great to buy cheap pumpkins and make them look real? Let me show you how simple this is to do step by step.

To begin with every year, I save the real stems from my pumpkins.  Between the chalk paint and the real stems, these pumpkins look real.

As a rule, I use chalk paint for painting most projects such as these easy pumpkins. As an example, I used it on this cabinet and on numerous pieces I share in a home tour.

Chalking paint works well for easy craft ideas. I especially enjoy painting pumpkins for cost reasons too.

Because gourds/pumpkins can be quite pricey, I buy them for outdoor decorating. But for inside it gets expensive so adding this craft using chalk paint and real stems adds a realistic look for autumn in our home decor.

Why Use Chalk Paint for this Project

Chalk Paint Is My Choice For A Few Reasons

  • No priming before painting
  • I always have an assortment of chalk paints
  • Adding Waxes and Blending Adds a Realistic look to the plastic pumpkins
  • soft neutral colors

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used To Paint Artificial Pumpkins?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint. If using acrylic paint it doesn’t have any problem sticking to the shiny plastic faux pumpkins. If you don’t have chalk paint, spray the pumpkins with a primer specifically made for plastic. When it’s dry use spray paint or acrylic paint in paint colors of your choice to paint the pumpkins.

Adding Chalk Paint To Pumpkins And the Best Time To Purchase Them

I find the best time to purchase faux pumpkins is late summer when the shelves are getting stocked. Or, towards the end of the fall season of the previous fall. Prices for fake pumpkins for this easy craft project can be very cheap, especially the larger size pumpkins.

Let’s begin to paint pumpkins, shall we?

Items Needed:

  • Fake pumpkins size of your choice
  • White, mint green, and orange paint or any chalk paint of your choice
  • Chip Brush
  • White wax
  • Dark Brown wax
  • Paper plate
  • Paint stick for mixing
  • stencil brush and wax brush

Begin With Orange Paint

Project 1: Adding Color To My First Heirloom Gour

First, clean off the pumpkin with a damp cloth. It’s important, to begin with, a clean surface.

Here is a pumpkin I purchased during the summer for $3 at Michael’s craft store. The shelves must have been recently stocked which makes these perfect for fall craft ideas.

fake pumpkin
plastic stem removed

Step 1: Remove the Stem and Paint

For my first step, remove the stems of the pumpkins. Using orange chalk paint, I stumbled upon it while at Michaels Craft store or any local craft store. Remember, for this easy seasonal project, I am going for faded orange Heirloom gourds/pumpkins.

mixing orange with raw umber

Next, add a bit of raw umber pure pigment craft paint and mix the colors together. This makes a deeper orange color to begin my craft project on how to paint with chalk paint on pumpkins.

Paint half at a time and drying in between coats is best. This gives me my base color for making these gourds crafts look real.

adding dark orange color


Mixing White with The Orange Color

Step 2: Lighten the Orange Color for the Next Coat

For the next step, use the same orange paint and mix in white craft paint. For the second coat adds this over the deep orange on the pumpkin. This will add another layer to give your painted pumpkin a more realistic look. After half the pumpkin is painted use a chip brush and stipple or pounce lightly. Doing this gives the chalk painted pumpkin texture as we find in nature. It also adds even more to the realistic look.

adding light orange

Pouncing and stippling are hard on brushes and this is why I suggest chip brushes because they are .89 and will take a bit of abuse. Let your pumpkin dry and do the same to the other half.


When stippling, if the darker orange color is visible, don’t worry. Seeing the different colors is what adds to the look of a real pumpkin.

Adding White Wax

Step 3: Buffing In The White Wax

Add the white wax a bit at a time and work it into the paint well with the brush. After applying wax in sections very lightly wipe with a lint free rag. The white wax will add to the Heirloom gourd pumpkin look.

adding white wax to the chalk painted pumpkin

Adding Real Stems To Painted Pumpkins

Step 4: The Dried Stem Adds A Realistic Look

When adding real stems to painted pumpkins they make them look real. I save my stems from my previous year’s fall pumpkins every year. Actually, I have quite a collection of these real stems.

picking my real dried stem to add to the chalk painted piece

My Stem Collection

By the way, here’s my collection of stems. It’s well established as you can see, and I add to it every year. These don’t have to be used just to make pumpkins look real. Add these to a bowl, dish, or tray with acorns and pinecones for seasonal decor.

As a rule, I store my real pumpkin stems in a brown bag in my basement because it’s cool and dark. I have saved many like this and it works well.

my dried stem collection

These also make a nice addition to a dish on a table.  Adding dried orange slices is perfect for a rustic fall look.  I share an easy tutorial for dried orange slices and whole oranges which is great for the fall season and all winter.

Adding Stems To This Pumpkin Craft Idea

Step 5: Adding the Piece to the Top

Heat your glue gun on the low setting. This is important because these imitations are usually Styrofoam and high heat glue will make the pumpkin break down.

Lastly, glue your stem on top of your pumpkin. Since these are waxed, I recommend not using the pumpkins outside. However, if you spray them with several coats of matte polyurethane they will work.

adding hot glue for the stem


Project 2: Dry Brush Small Pumpkins

Step 1: Adding the Look of Gourds to Smaller Pumpkins

A few days later, I bought this green pumpkin at Jo Ann for a great price. Shopping early or at the end of the fall season is the best.

Also, these painting techniques I’m sharing are easy and don’t take long for these simple smaller pumpkins so it’s worth the work.

green plastic gourd

Because the base is dark green, I am going to use Folk Art mint green chalk paint. Again, using a chip brush dip the very tip of your brush into the paint.

dry brushing with mint chalk paint

Next, use a paper plate, paper towel, or rag, and dab the excess paint off. You want your brush dry when dry brushing.

When dry brushing with paint it’s hard on brushes so use chip brushes. See step by step tutorial on a dry brush technique for planters.

finishing the green gourd

So next, apply chalk paint to the pumpkin for a realistic look. Dry brushing with paint will give this green pumpkin the real look of an Heirloom green gourd. This is a fast process and is an easy craft, again, add another real stem.

If you don’t have small stems, simply dry brush the plastic stem on these small fake pieces and it will work. Again, if you purchase small Boo pumpkins for outdoors save the stems.

Paint Small Fake White Gourds

Step 1: Add An Authentic Look To Smaller Pumpkins

Lastly, paint these small white pumpkins from Amazon and you can find these at Hobby Lobby.  For this chalk painted pumpkin, I dry brushed them with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White.  White craft paint will also work for these.  

old white chalk paint for pumpkin

dry brushing with white chalk paint

adding dark wax

Adding a bit of dark wax randomly makes them look like real baby Boos.  I also added real stems to these pumpkins.

closeup of painted orange pumpkin and walnuts, pinecones and tea light candles as a centerpiece

Decorating The Table for the Autumn Season

Adding these to our fall dining room table with an assortment of walnuts, pinecones, and tea lights in bark candleholders looks pretty.

closeup of painted orange pumpkin and walnuts, pinecones and tea light candles as a centerpiece

an angled shot of the chalk painted pumpkins with candles, walnuts and pinecones

a center shot of the chalk painted pumpkins walnuts, pinecones, tea lights

I hope you enjoyed learning how to paint chalk paint on pumpkins. I’d love to read if you have ever painted fake pumpkins. If you haven’t, I hope this inspires you to give this painting technique a try. It really makes these Gourds and faux pumpkins truly look like the real thing.

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82 thoughts on “Paint Chalk Paint on Pumpkins

  1. Cindy, these are so beautiful! You have inspired me to try this. I love the vignettes you created with your pumpkins. That brown transferware piece is gorgeous! Happy Wednesday!

  2. Great inspiration and how amazing t transform those faux pumpkins into beautiful real looking ones. Love the pumpkin in your cement bowl. Very pretty. xoxo Kris

  3. Your pumpkins are so pretty, Cindy! You really do have your painting techniques down pat! Love how you displayed them too!

  4. Your pumpkins are beautiful and I love the way you styled them – so lovely and French feeling! Thanks for the great tutorials and inspiration!

  5. Love the way you layered these pumpkins to make them look real Cindy! They’re so pretty. I don’t know why I never think about buying pumpkins at the end of the season but you’re right it’s such a great time to buy them at budget friendly prices. Thanks for the great tip! Hugs, CoCo

  6. I love how you did this Cindy! And I love how you styled them! Thank you for sharing at Charming Homes and Gardens.

  7. Wow! These pumpkins really do look real! I can’t believe you used chalk paint to make these pumpkins – gorgeous! Love your Fall tablescape too!

  8. Your painted pumpkins turned out better than the real thing. Thank you for the borderline genius tips and tricks to getting the perfect painted pumpkins.
    Happy Fall,

  9. What a beautiful way to create a real pumpkin. The tutorial was just perfect with all the details. Your table looks stunning and ready for all the Fall holidays.

  10. Cindy, your pumpkins look so real, especially by using the natural stems. I love the blue ones! Thanks for demonstrating your stippling technique, too. It was fun pumpkin crafting with you!

  11. This is AMAZING!!! Absolutely beautiful friend!!! My favorite is the way you added the old pumpkin stem!!! BRILLIANT!!! XoXo Aliya

  12. Cindy, they look so real after you added the pumpkin stems. I am definitely going to save my pumpkin stems this year for projects for 2022!

  13. Love these painted pumpkins so much, Cindy! I have “make terracotta inspired pumpkins” on my to do list so this will provide the perfect inspiration. Love how these came together and I’m pinning right now! Big hugs, CoCo

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