The Best Painted Pumpkin Ideas from the Martha Stewart Living Staff
Polka dots, chalk lettering, geometric stencils, and familiar characters—there are countless ways to decorate a pumpkin, and all you need is some paint to get started. Get inspired by handmade designs from the crafty minds at Martha Stewart Living.
Once upon a fall day at the offices of Martha Stewart Living, a group of staffers came together and hosted a pumpkin painting party. And the result? This colorful batch of pumpkins you'll find pictured here. These bright creations go beyond how to paint a pumpkin by offering up tons of inspiration
Why not follow suit and do the same with your friends and family? It's a wonderful way for you to bond. You'll also get the opportunity to express your creativity and put those artistic skills to good use. Find inspiration in the world around you and make the pumpkin your canvas. You can play with colors, shapes, and patterns to design a pumpkin that is as unique as you are.
What should you have in your pumpkin decorating kit? You'll want to have a set of craft paint, of course, in a rainbow of colors. You may also use decoupage medium, adhesive tape, gilding liquid, brushes, or stencils in any mix of patterns. Glitter, pom-poms, foam figures (like a decorative spider), printable clip-art and templates, and other miscellaneous materials can be used to accent your pumpkin. What's left is your imaginative ingenuity.
At Martha Stewart Living, our editors find inspiration in all sources: cinematic films, television shows, famous artworks, and everyday objects. When it comes to painting a pumpkin, you have an unlimited number of options. Paint a pumpkin inspired by Harry Potter or Stranger Things. Take a nostalgic look back into the '80s with neon-bright colors and geometric shapes. Or forgo the traditional motifs of autumn altogether and paint images of spring or summer with sunny citrus fruits, ice cream cones, and palm trees. Any of these ideas will make your pumpkin stand out from the patch.
There are many ways to decorate for this Halloween season, and we have 30 of the best painted pumpkin ideas to inspire yours.
Stained Glass Window Pumpkin
It's a jewel-toned, geometric masterpiece! Inspired by stained glass windows—see la vie en rose—or lilac, or yellow, or any number of shades. To paint this pumpkin, use stenciling tape to cover an all-over overlapping pattern on its rounded surface. Paint inside each taped area with in contrasting colors, being careful not to cross over the lines. Let your paint dry, then slowly peel back the tape to reveal the fun pattern and orange lines underneath.
The chalk paint trend is ever strong, having inspired us to create a set of these elegant floral pumpkins. We love the combination of a matte chalk finish and these large stencil designs! They match any fall décor perfectly.
There's no denying it—everything is better with glitter. Both pumpkins are coated in a fine sprinkling of shimmer—gold and copper, respectively—and one is polka-dotted while the other is crafted with the visual effect of dripping in luxury.
Falling Leaves Pumpkin
Autumn-inspired silhouettes add simple charm. To paint this pumpkin, adhere the leaf stencil to the pumpkin and pounce the inside of the stencil with white craft paint. Slowly, peel off the stencil and re-adhere it to a new spot on the pumpkin. Repeat this method until the pumpkin's entire rounded surface is covered in leaves.
Creepy, crawly, and ultra-cool: that's this matte black pumpkin. Some of the spookiest icons of Halloween are spiders and webs, and we wanted to create them in erasable liquid chalk.
Chalkboard Menu Pumpkin
If you're a hostess like Martha, you're bound to throw at least one dinner party sometime this season. As for your décor? Turn your plain pumpkin into a chalkboard menu for the guests. Because a coat of chalkboard paint turns it into a writing surface, the sign can be written on, wiped clean, and written on again to cover every event from Halloween trick-or-treating to your Thanksgiving feast.
We love the art of typography, and what better words to use than the wonderful, spooky phrases of Halloween? This pumpkin is dark and spooky—just how we like our Halloween celebrations.
Abstract Expressionist Art Pumpkins
Abstract Expressionist artists—Pollock, Rothko, and Franz Kline—all use sophisticated designs. Similarly, the trio of pumpkins pictured here are inspired by some of the greatest artists of our time.
- Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint in Plum, Peacock Feather, Diving Board, and Slate Gray (for Pollock pumpkin)
- Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint in Pumpkin, Habanero, Orange Soda, and Party Streamer (for Rothko pumpkin)
- Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint in Beetle Black (for Kline pumpkin)
- Martha Stewart Crafts Basic Brush Set
The '80s Pumpkin
This totally rad pumpkin would fit right in with a Breakfast Club group costume circa the '80s. To paint this pumpkin, cover it in a few coats of white. Let dry, then add pops of geometric shapes in neon-bright colors.
Weathered Vintage Pumpkin
If you like a rustic finish, this is the pumpkin for you. Inspired by vintage weathered furniture, use a sheet of sandpaper to work over the paint and give it a roughened look.
A classic of menswear patterns, this herringbone-inspired design can be customized in any color combination of your choice. We chose a classic fall combination: a solid yellow surface and alternating dashes of the brush in black paint.
Glamorous Spider Pumpkin
This glamorous pumpkin dons a blinged-out spider that's too chic to be scary. To paint this pumpkin, coat the entire surface in a high-gloss black. Let dry, and then map out a spiderweb using adhesive gems. As the finishing touch, a faux spider can be painted, glittered, and given a pair of stick-on gem eyes.
- Martha Stewart Family Friendly Multi-Surface Pearl Acrylic Craft Paint in Pink Taffeta
- Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Glitter Acrylic Craft Paint in Sweetheart
- Martha Stewart Adhesive Gem Spider
A skeleton with a devilish grin like this is just the thing your front porch needs this Halloween. Kids will love to help come up with their own spooky, silly, up-to-no-good expressions.
Gilded Tile Pumpkin
It's a golden homage to gilded design. To paint this pumpkin, you can use tape to trace a checkered template and then fill in the squares with metallic gold, which will result in the allover pattern pictured here.
Preppy Monogram Pumpkin
Channel your high school varsity days with this pink monogrammed design. To paint this pumpkin, cover it entirely in a color of your choice. Let dry, then apply an self-adhesive alphabet stencil to the front, paint within the lines, and slowly peel off. Top the stem with a generous sprinkling of glitter.
Decoupage Dots Pumpkin
We're seeing spots—and loving it. To paint this pumpkin, use a layering punch to cut out scalloped and regular circles from tissue paper. Apply a layer of decoupage medium to the pumpkin and place the circle cutouts onto the glued surface in an overlapping pattern; apply a second layer of decoupage medium over the tissue paper to seal it. While the medium is drying, paint the stem in white for a monochromatic effect.
Optical Illusions Pumpkin
What's black and white with stripes and dots all over? This mind-boggling effect of a pumpkin. To paint this pumpkin, start by pouncing circles on one side of the pumpkin (with the largest pouncer in the middle of each ridge). Pounce smaller circles as you go up and down each ridge of the pumpkin. While the dots are drying, tape the other half of the pumpkin to create uniform thin lines. Once that side is taped, use the pouncer to apply a thin coat of paint over the taped area. Carefully remove the tape to reveal your stripes.
Cheshire Cat from "Alice in Wonderland" Pumpkin
Oh, that grin. It's unmistakably the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. This modified take on a classic children's book character is painted on a pumpkin freehand style and the result is just purr-fect.
A modern, marbleized look is always in style. To paint this pumpkin, coat the entire surface in white. Let dry, then dip a craft sponge in gold paint and dab onto the pumpkin's painted surface to create an effortless marbling effect.
Mossy Monster Pumpkin
Like a mossy monster, our creepy gourd would fit right into a haunted house setting. To paint this pumpkin, coat the entire surface in mottled green and black craft paint. Let dry; then go over the bottom half with a sea sponge dipped in a thicker gray décor paint for that rotted, overgrown look.
- Martha Stewart Crafts Vintage Décor Paint in Charcoal and Eucalyptus
- Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Chalkboard Acrylic Paint in Gray
- Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint in Acorn, Highland, and Snow Pea
- Martha Stewart Crafts Sea Sponge Set
- Martha Stewart Crafts Large Brush Set
Elizabeth Taylor Pumpkin
It's a bejeweled design inspired by the White Diamonds icon Elizabeth Taylor herself. To paint this pumpkin, cut out images of sparkling gems and decoupage them onto the surface. Touch up the stem with liquid gilding.
Day of the Dead Pumpkins
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that occurs the day after Halloween—and these sugar-skull-themed designs were created in honor of it. Their look was inspired by a staffer's recent travels to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and their traditional Day of the Dead celebrations.
- Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint in Porcelain Doll
- Martha Stewart Family-Friendly Multi-Surface Pearl Acrylic Craft Paint in Enchanted Green and Oasis Teal
- Martha Stewart Crafts Foam Pouncers Set
- Martha Stewart Crafts Stencil Tape
- Martha Stewart Adhesive Laser-Cut Stencil in Indigo Flowers
- Martha Stewart Crafts Basic Brush Set
Summer Citrus Pumpkin
If you're nostalgic for summer, craft a pumpkin that's anything but autumnal. These slices of citrus were painted freehand, but you could use a stencil as well.
Polka-dots and colors that pop make this pumpkin—a la artist Yayoi Kusama—a showstopper. To paint this pumpkin, use a combination of pouncers and detail brushes dipped in black craft paint to design a series of circles.
Snack Time Pumpkin
Snack time, anyone? Cookies, doughnuts, pizza—they fit in well with all of the indulging of sweets and treats on Halloween night.
The Globe Pumpkin
What a beautiful world—and what a beautiful pumpkin! This pumpkin takes on a worldly beauty.
- Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint in Pond, Bubblegum, Pesto, Indigo, Couscous, Purple Yam, Chestnut, Sweet Potato, Chamomile, Acorn, Date Night Pink, Lime Zinger, Hydrangea, Wild Blueberry, Ballet Slipper, Pacific Iris, Marmalade, and Granny Smith
- Martha Stewart Crafts Basic Brush Set
Present goodies to trick-or-treaters in this creative candy-dispensing pumpkin. To paint this pumpkin, first outline the shapes of the face you want to cut out with a pencil. Carefully cut into the pumpkin with the craft knife, following the shape of your outlined face. Once you have the shapes cut out, coat the surface and inside with a layer of paint. Once the outer layer has dried, lightly sand the surface to reveal some of the lighter color beneath. Apply wax with a soft cloth to finish the pumpkin with a matte chalk finish.