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 I 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

Paint Chalk Paint on Pumpkins and the Best Time to Purchase Fake Pumpkins

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

Let’s begin, 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 Gourd

Before I begin my first coat clean it off using 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 so these are 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. Remember, for this easy seasonal project I am going for faded orange Heirloom gourds/pumpkins.

mixing orange with raw umber

Next, I added a bit of raw umber pure pigment craft paint and mixed the colors together. This gives me 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 craft look real.

adding dark orange color


Mixing White with The Orange Paint

Step 2: Lighten the Orange Color for the Next Coat

For the next step, use the same orange paint mix in white craft paint. Add this mixture over the deep orange. 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

By the way, this is why I suggest chip brushes. For this craft, it’s best to use these 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. Because seeing the different colors is what adds to the easy craft project to have a real look.

Adding White Wax

Step 3: Begin Buffing in White Wax

Here, using white wax and a wax brush add it to the pumpkin. Add the white wax a bit at a time and work it into the paint well with your brush. After applying wax in sections very lightly wipe with a lint free rag. I say lightly because you want the white wax to stay adding to the Heirloom gourd pumpkin look for this craft project.

adding white wax to the chalk painted pumpkin

Adding A Real Stem To This Project

Step 4: The Dried Stem Add to the Realistic Appearance

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

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

Sharing My Collection of Stems

By the way, here’s my collection of stems. It’s well established as you can see, and I add to it every year. Incidentally, these don’t have to be used just to add to this autumn craft. For example, add these pieces 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 the Stem to This Craft Idea

Step 5: Adding the Piece to the Top

Meanwhile, heat your glue gun on the low setting. This is namely important because these imitations are usually Styrofoam pumpkins. In a word, high heat glue will make the pumpkin break down.

Lastly, glue your stem on top of your pumpkin. Because these are waxed, I recommend not using this outside. However, if you spray them with several coats of matte polyurethane they will work there as well.

adding hot glue for the stem


Project 2: Dry Brush These to Look Like Gourds

Step 1: Adding the Look of Gourds to Small Pieces

A few days later, I bought this green pumpkin at Jo Ann for a great price. For the most part, as I say above shopping early or at the end of the fall season is best.

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

green plastic gourd

Back to how to paint with chalk paint on pumpkins. With this green pumpkin, it’s extremely easy. This time 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, using a paper plate, paper towel, or a rag, dab the excess paint off. Here, you want your brush dry hence dry brushing. This is important when using this paint technique.

Dry brushing paint to make pumpkins look real is hard on brushes so again use chip brushes.

finishing the green gourd

So next, begin to 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 for this easy craft. Again, add another real stem.

However, if no small stems are available, 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.

Painting Small Fake White Gourds

Step 1: For an Authentic Look on These

Lastly, I’m sharing how to paint with chalk paint on these small white pumpkins I bought on Amazon.  For this chalk painted pumpkin, I dry brushed them with ASCP Old White chalk paint.  White craft paint will also work for these as well.  

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 this chalk painted pumpkin.

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

Decorating The Table for the Autumn Season

Meanwhile, 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 pumpkins truly look like the real thing.

Pin for Pinterest

Posted by

Hello, my name is Cindy and welcome to Cloches & Lavender. I enjoy making our house a home with antiques and thrifted finds. Antiques are used as my staples in my dcor to remain on a budget. I will often upcycle pieces with paint to make them new again. I enjoy DIYs

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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