ArtFire Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Pumpkin painting can be easier and safer than carving, and it often results in a more creative craft product. A painted pumpkin will last longer than a carved one, especially if you live somewhere with humid or chilly weather.

Finding the Right Pumpkin
If you’re not a painter by nature, you’ll want to start with a big pumpkin, as those are easier to work with. But if you’re skilled with a paint brush, you could choose to try painting a complicated design on a small baby pumpkin. No matter what the size of your pumpkin, buy one with a nice bright shell, no soft spots or bruises, and a thick strong (preferably greenish) stem. Make sure you buy your pumpkin from local farmers rather than the grocery store, as you should always support small business owners, even on the holidays.
Choosing the Right Tools
If you don’t already have some on hand, go out and get some acrylic paints and a light all purpose glaze. Keep some Q-tips nearby for touch-ups during the artistic process.
Plan it Out First!
If you just start painting without a clear idea of what you’re doing, you’re probably going to end up with a crummy looking pumpkin. To avoid such a mistake, try lightly drawing a design on your pumpkin with a pencil before you begin painting. Pencil lines tend to show up rather lightly on a pumpkin’s surface, which makes for a great blueprint as you paint.
Dive In!
One of the most important principles of painting is to begin with the background first and work forward. In the case of your pumpkin, this would translate to painting your pumpkin’s tongue before the teeth, painting the whites of your pumpkin’s eyes before adding lashes and pupils, that kind of thing. You should also to wait for the paint to dry before adding new features. This will help prevent swearing and unnecessary mistakes. Acrylic paints tend to dry in 5-10 minutes, so you wouldn’t need to wait long.
Adding Final Touches
Once your paint has completely dried, lightly coat the pumpkin with your all-purpose glaze. Glaze will help prevent chipping and peeling of your painted surface. It is vital that your pumpkin is totally dry before you add the top coat of glaze, otherwise you could smudge your painting and destroy all your hard work. Also remember to transfer your pumpkin inside during bad weather to better preserve your finished artwork.
Other Fun Pumpkin Craft Ideas
Why stop at just painting a pumpkin? You can also create mixed media pumpkins creations! Add some fake hair, fake ears, or fake arms and legs to make your handmade pumpkin creation look truly one-of-a-kind this holiday season!