24 No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas That Anyone Can Create
Learn how to decorate your gourd with designs that involve paint, glitter, decoupage, and other seasonal tricks—no carving required.
When Halloween is fast approaching, your first instinct is to don a costume and decorate your home in spooky décor. But as you are planning for the latter, in particular, there are easy ideas that still scream festive—including pumpkins. This year, opt for the no-carve kind—they are creative and crafty, and easily done at the last minute. Plus, these projects only require minimal materials. (That's right: There's no wielding of a keyhole saw, cutter, or pumpkin carving tool, which means these ideas are family-friendly, too.) Choose your variety of pumpkin and anything can be made from imagination: Think a creepy-crawly pumpkin that can scare trick-or-treaters plastered with temporary tattoos in the shape of spiders and cobwebs, a floral monogram, a princess-inspired pumpkin, and more will all make this autumnal season one to remember. Faux or dried flowers, pearl beading, and velvet offer a soft touch to the typical pumpkin—still without carving—that you can add to your indoor or outdoor space in pretty style.
Designs don't stop there, though. Stack multiple pumpkins and transform them with a coat of paint, turning them into an optical illusion, a foreboding tree, or even a melting ice cream cone. Look around the house for supplies: You can upcycle an item as unexpected as lace stockings, wrap them over the surface of a pumpkin, spritz it with spray paint, and you'll have made a one-of-a-kind design in 15 minutes or less.
Whether you are looking for a design that's cute, spellbinding, or spooky, there's a project for everyone. Ahead, we share the best of our no-carve pumpkin ideas that are easy to make for all of your autumnal decorating.
Colorful Leaf Decoupage Pumpkins
Add a rainbow of color to your autumnal décor. In fact, this customizable craft offers two designs you can create for multiple pumpkins: one covered in bright leaves and another that features a cheerful bird. Neither of these designs are challenging, though. We have templates to easily print out the seasonal clip-art—just make sure to have tissue paper on hand to complete the project.
These pumpkins will be sure to spook trick-or-treaters come Halloween. To start this project, spread out newspapers and place the pumpkins on top. Next, place the tape around the base of the stems and paint the stems with the gold acrylic paint. Lay the plastic snakes on the newspaper and spray-paint them gold, turning to coat all sides. Once they're dry, spray them with fixative to set the color. To display, wrap the snakes around the stems and arrange more of them underneath for a terrifying Indiana Jones effect. For an optional finishing touch, add a gold bowl filled with "snake egg" candies.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Metallic Acrylic Paint, $2.49, michaels.com; PlayKreative Vinyl Toy Rubber Snakes, $22.38, etsy.com; Rust-Oleum Universal All Surface Metallic Pure Gold Spray Paint, $6.98, homedepot.com.
Our foreboding tree "shadow" casts a pall over this foyer bench, but it would look just as bewitching stacked on your porch steps. First, pile some eerie pumpkins—for a truly ghoulish vibe, go for specimens with a naturally greenish tint, including the knobby Hubbard variety. Draw the outline of a leafless tree over several of them with a grease pencil, then fill it in using a brush and matte black paint. To throw extra shade, add a faux crow to the haunting scene.
Metallic Copper-Leaf Pumpkins
If you want décor to give your home an autumn appeal, look no further than these pumpkins. They are made complete with metallic copper leaves and just three easy steps to piece together. When you are selecting pumpkins for this project, we suggest seeking out small and lumpy ones like gourds. They look even more festive atop your everyday arrangements—and they will grab everyone's eye when they pass them from the stunning design that looks straight out of a store.
Creativity knows no bounds with this custom portrait pumpkin. First, plan out the faces you want to create. Keep in mind that as items dry and wither, the results will change—and perhaps become even more interesting. Begin by using hot glue to adhere small the hard details, like white beans, and to attach a tangle of Spanish-moss hair. Secure the heavier vegetables with the wooden skewers, and the lighter vegetables with toothpicks. T-pins prevent the leaves from blowing away; the straight pins work for thin, lightweight items.
These crazy, kid-friendly pumpkins require zero knives, but they're seriously sharp. Sketch a design on the surface with chalk, then go over (and fill in) the lines with the stick-on jewels. Let the shape of the decals guide your design: Teardrops stand in for fangs; pointy ovals make wily pupils. To apply the items that aren't self-adhesive, like our faux spider, use a smidge of craft glue. The low-impact approach has a bonus: Uncut gourds last longer than carved ones, so your crew can start boo-dazzling as soon as the air turns crisp.
No-Carve Lace Pumpkins
Do you need to create a pumpkin design in a pinch? This project will take just 15 minutes to piece together—and it only takes a couple of materials, too. If you have sheer-to-waist patterned lace stockings, you are already ahead of the game. Simply placing your pumpkin in this accessory and covering it with spray paint will create a lace design that even the best pumpkin carvers will want to try out for themselves.
Décor trends are always evolving, but as for one that is standing the test of time? Chalk paint. The trend is ever strong, having inspired us to create a set of these elegant floral pumpkins. The sturdy design is creative enough to catch someone's eye and long-lasting enough to keep on a pumpkin throughout the autumn season.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Crafts Stencil Brush Set, $10, michaels.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Vintage Décor Paint, $11.49, michaels.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Blossoms Adhesive Stencils, $10, michaels.com.
Embroidered-Floral Applique Pumpkin
An ethereal pumpkin will serve as the perfect centerpiece on your table or as an accent to your front door. The best part about this craft? Floral appliqués make the piece stand out in simple fashion from others you may have picked up from your local patch. Choose your motifs from a craft store and use straight pins to secure them into place.
Of course, everything is better with glitter. Let your imagination run wild and use this ever-essential item to make your pumpkin unforgettable. What designs should you use to make the pumpkin stand out? First things first, brush your pumpkin with vintage décor paint and then coat it with decoupage finish in matte. Add a polka dot design in the glitter of choice or create a waterfall-like appearance with glitter starting at the top of the pumpkin and oozing its way down.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Crafts Stencil Brush Set, $10, michaels.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Gold Decoupage Gliding Sheets, $13, michaels.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Vintage Décor Paint, $11.49, michaels.com.
Temporary Tattoo Pumpkins
Temporary tattoos will give your pumpkin an effortlessly creepy-crawly look. To start, remove the clear top sheet of the temporary tattoo. Then press the tattoo, with the design facing down, onto the pumpkin's rounded surface. Hold a wet cloth against the back of the tattoo; press down, and make sure to wet the paper backing thoroughly. (Note: Be sure to rub into all groves of the gourd.) Wait 30 seconds, then peel off the paper backing to reveal the adhered design.
Gilded Leaf Pumpkins
If you are looking for the perfect representation of the fall season, then these autumn-inspired pumpkins are what you need. The gilded leaf design makes for an eye-catching accent to a pumpkin without the stress of carving or painting. The easy-to-follow instructions guide you through the process of using the gilding sheets and metallic adhesive to make a stunning design for your pumpkin. Bring this piece outside or top off your dinner table to complete your décor.
Give your pumpkin personality with mohawks and jewelry for the spooky season. To begin, cover the pumpkin with the black spray paint, if desired (protect the stems with the painters' tape). Let it dry, then use the craft paint to make the faces. With a pencil, draw your design, then gently tap the nails, studs, brads, and pins into the flesh with a hammer. Adhere the small piercings, such as a nose ring, with superglue.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint, $2.49, michaels.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Stencil Brush Set, $10, michaels.com; Crescent Fiberglass Rip Claw Hammer, $12.97, homedepot.com.
This lunar look has a sweet secret: To decorate these white Baby Boo gourds, all you need is rock candy, sugar crystals, and clear caulk—no carving knife (or spaceship) required. First, break up the rock candy into chunky pieces. Spread the caulk on top of the gourds, and cover them with the sugar and candy. Then sprinkle more "moon rocks" around them. It's a few small steps for you, but one giant leap for your dinner table's ambience.
Floral Monogram Pumpkin
A personalized pumpkin with a cute appeal starts with this floral masterpiece. You can even make this piece specific to your family with a monogram placed front and center. Not only is it pretty, the opportunities are endless to make it just what you are looking for this Halloween. Whether you like decorating with fresh or artificial flowers or like a classic orange pumpkin or one in a different hue, you can pick and choose your favorite ideas to make this décor your own.
Laser-cut stencils make this decorating project a breeze. To begin, remove the stencil from the adhesive backing and adhere the first stencil layer to the pumpkin. (Tip: You may need to cut the stencil into segmented parts with a pair of scissors in order to fit the stencil over the curved surface of the pumpkin.) Stencil with craft paint; let it dry completely. Place the second stencil layer over the dried design and stencil with craft paint; let it dry completely.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint, $2.49, michaels.com; Martha Stewart Crafts Adhesive Laser-Cut Layering Stencil, $10.49, michaels.com; Penta Angel Wooden Stencil Brush Set, $7, amazon.com.
Ice Cream Cone Pumpkins
No matter the season, having a tasty dessert is always a treat. The same can be said of dessert-inspired décor. This ice cream cone pumpkin looks good enough to eat, and making it is easy enough that the whole family to get in on the fun. To create your own, gather three small pumpkins. Next, paint each one in the color of your choice and accent with designs similar to sprinkles. Top off the delight with an ice cream cone made of tissue paper for an easy accent to make this all the more authentic.
Color-Changing Thermochromic Pumpkin
Adding a touch of jewelry to your home's entryway doesn't have to stop with a Halloween-inspired doormat or a festive wreath. This one-of-a-kind pumpkin will be perfect for the spooky season—especially with its changing colors. The fine, colored powder called "thermochromic pigment" is the secret touch to make this handprint design turn into a different hue before your very eyes. Once the temperature hits 77 degrees it will change to a clear powder. When the temperature drops, you it will change back to its original color.
Pink Princess Pumpkin
Who said pumpkin décor had to be scary? This pink pumpkin with pearls and velvet is reminiscent of classic fairy-tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. If you like to keep decorations in your home that last, then you're in luck. Unlike many pumpkins that are tossed out as Halloween comes to a close, this pumpkin is specially designed to be preserved for years. The adults and kids alike will love this craft—especially those who know the princess stories to a tee.
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.
Glittered Crystal-Encrusted Pumpkin
Silver accents like sequins, rhinestones, and crystals define this glamorous pumpkin. As many pumpkins give off a ghoulish look each Halloween, this one will offer a glitzy appeal that will have just as many people wanting to craft it for themselves. To cover the pumpkin in an all-black hue, all you will need to do is use a coat of shimmery spray paint and top with glitter. Our expert tip? Inexpensive hairspray can seal a glittered item to make it fit for perfection.
Who says socially-distanced Halloween dinner parties need to be macabre? The opportunities are endless to make one come alive with the right décor. Begin by spray painting the miniature pumpkins in gold and add place cards written in gold ink. A block-printed napkin and tablecloth and the marbleized plate add patterned richness, while a mix of mismatched contemporary glassware and classic flatware keep the feeling clean and modern for the night.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Gloss Finish Spray Paint and Primer, $3.19, michaels.com.
When it comes to decorating your pumpkin, you may want to skip a simple coat of paint to make it unique. In our book, a modern, marbleized look is always in style and easier than you think to make. To paint this pumpkin, coat the entire surface in white. Let it dry, then dip a craft sponge in the gold paint and dab onto the pumpkin's painted surface to create an effortless marbling effect.
Creating a modern-day mummy will be as easy as ever using your gourd or pumpkin. To begin, start by cutting two 1/2-inch holes with a saw for the pumpkin's eyes. Then place the map tacks inside the holes. To complete the eyes, draw dots on the map tacks with a marker. Next, secure one end of a streamer to the stem end of the pumpkin with the double-sided tape; wrap the streamer around the pumpkin, leaving a gap for eyes to show through. Once the bottom of the pumpkin is wrapped, secure the other end of the streamer to the pumpkin with the double-sided tape.