Well, I knew better, but when it came time for me to plant my pumpkin patch in time for an early fall crop I procrastinated and will be lucky of they are ready in time for Halloween. No problem though… I’m feeling ready for fall right NOW. Yes, it’s only August, but I am SO READY. So I decided to break out my faux pumpkins from Michaels, and paint them to look more realistic.
Disclaimer: This post I received products for this project from Dixie Belle, and there are affiliate links in this post, but all opinions are my own, and I only share things I love & think you will too.
My favorite pumpkin variety are pink porcelain dolls. You can see how I grow them in my garden HERE. I LOVE my real pumpkins, and want to grow them every year. But since I have to wait on the real deal, I dug out my fall rubbermaid out of storage and decided to paint my boring white faux pumpkins from several years back.
Here’s a picture of part of my crop of REAL pumpkins from last year. Ahhhh! I seriously wish I could have just frozen them in time and kept them forever.
I LOVE how my fake painted ones turned out (yep! The ones in the above photo are all fake ones I painted!) I think they could easily pass as the real deal.
It’s all in the details.You have to make them look imperfect to make them look real. That’s the secret.
Let me show you how I did it.
HOW TO PAINT & WAX FAUX PUMPKINS TO LOOK REAL:
PAINT COLORS USED (Buy them at a craft store- they are much cheaper there than buying them online):
Step 1. BUY LUMPY FAUX PUMPKINS.
One of the main things you want to look for when buying fake pumpkins is an uneven shape. Pumpkins have natural imperfections, and that share will really help them look more real. I like to get a few different sizes and variations. Avoid getting too many of the same shape so your painted pumpkins will look unique and not mass produced. I got mine from Michaels and Hobby Lobby right before fall. They usually run a 50% off sale which is when I got mine. They aren’t cheap, but for pumpkins that will last you forever, they were a good buy.
TIP: For the larger pumpkins, Michaels’s sells the Ashland brand pumpkins, which are awesome shapes. But I found the same shaped pumpkins for basically half the price at Hobby Lobby this year. Always look around. You never know who’s going to be running a better sale.
I would also try and stick with white ones if you are planning on painting. But painting over blue or orange ones would look awesome too. You will just have to add more layers of paint if you want to cover up the dark colors.
Here’s what I started out with. I mean, they don’t look horrible, but we can make them look REAL. Fairytale real.
Step 2. TAKE THE STEMS OFF AND PAINT THOSE PUMPKINS
To start the painting process, I popped the plastic stems off. If you want to keep these, I would personally paint them to make them look more realistic. The ones on mine honestly weren’t that bad, but I saved all the real stems from my actual pumpkins last year. When it comes down to it, the stems on a pumpkins is really what makes a faux pumpkin look real or fake.
But either way, take the stem off so you won’t get paint on it.
To paint the pumpkins, I squirted a little gold and light pink acrylic paint in different places. You want a variation of color.
When pumpkins grow, they usually have one side that is lighter than the other. This is due to one side resting on the ground, while the other half of the pumpkin is sitting in the sun. So slight variations of tones make it look more real. I wanted my plastic pumpkins to have an orange-pink color, so I color matched my real pumpkins from last year (see some photos of them HERE and HERE)
Ever so gently, I painted the pumpkins, being careful not to blend the colors too much.
Step 3. LET THEM DRY – FORKS ARE OPTIONAL
I ended up putting forks where the stem was so that I could get even paint coverage in one go, and let them dry without making a mess.
Step 4. ADD IMPERFECTIONS
Once the pink and gold tones were dry, I added some realistic green imperfections. My home grown pumpkins had lots of scrapes, bumps and green spots. That’s what I loved about them.
Tip: If your pumpkin has any weird indents or even scratches and bumps, highlight them with green and brown paint to make them look like real scars on the pumpkin’s skin. Believe me, it will look awesome!
You don’t have to go crazy with this step if you don’t like that look, but scroll down if you want what I was drawing my inspiration from…
This above photo has some of my real pumpkins from last year (I wish the fake ones came looking THAT good!) They were somewhat splotchy and uneven. Exactly how I like them to look. By adding small imperfections to the plastic ones, I was hoping to get this sort of look.
Step 5. WAX THOSE PUMPKINS
For this batch of faux ones, I didn’t want to go TOO crazy with the green, so I broke out my Dixie Belle “Best Dang Waxes” in white and brown. I also grabbed their “Big Mama’s Butta ” for a shiny finish.
Putting a mix of the dark wax and the white wax, I buffed it into the pumpkins for a “dirty” realistic look. Fake pumpkins are very smooth and perfect looking…
Adding the Dixie Belle’s wax is a great way to change that “perfect fake look.” Just add it in the crevices and especially the top and bottom of the pumpkin. You are essentially “shading” with your wax. Also, a little wax on your brush goes a LONG way.
Step 5. GLOSS THEM UP
Next I applied the Big Mama’s Butta on top of everything. It smells SO good (like a citrus orange smell). This finish adds a slight glow to the pumpkins, which makes it look like real pumpkin skin, instead of flat and fake.
Step 6. ADD STEMS FROM LAST YEAR’S REAL PUMPKINS
The last step is the moment we have all been waiting for! The real stems! It was so worth saving/hoarding the real stems from last year’s pumpkins.
I decided to just place my stems using a toothpick inserted into the foam of the pumpkin. You can totally hot glue them to be more permanent though. I just wanted the flexibility to stack them without squishing the stems.
This project was super fun, and I even had the kids help me with all the painting. So it’s really hard to
Being the pumpkin hoarder that I am, it’s taking all my self control not to head to Michaels to get more pumpkins to paint! I mean, LOOK at those pumpkins. All of them are fake. All of them. Like, what?!
Love love love them!
Don’t they look so cute in my hutch? I’m super happy with them.
Even close up they look awesome!
Okay, I lost my self control… I’m headed to the store to get my hands on some more. Don’t tell on me!
Want to see how to make your own faux pumpkins form scratch (using grocery bags, paper mache, and joint compound)?! Go HERE!
If you want to grow your own real pumpkins, I’ve got you covered! Below are the links to the seeds I purchased for my pumpkin patch last year. And for my tips and tricks for growing your own pumpkin patch, see my post: “How To Grow Heirloom Fairytale Pumpkins From Seed (DIY Pumpkin Patch!)”
SHOP THE PUMPKINS I GREW & GROW YOUR OWN HEIRLOOM PUMPKINS:
These look so great, I love how you painted them! Could you tell us the exact colors you used?
I want to try this but not sure if I can get them to look good if I pick out the colors myself!
Looks wonderful! I would love to make these. Can you please provide the name of the type brushes you’re using?
Hey! Just a normal mop craft brush. Hope that helps!
3 Comments on How To Paint Plastic Faux Pumpkins To Look Like Real Fairytale Heirloom Pumpkins