The amount of love and enthusiasm for my DIY tobacco leaf china inspired pumpkin was amazing! I’m thrilled I’m turning more and more people into bonafide chinoiserie lovers one post at a time. I promised you all fall tutorials all month long, and today I have another chinoiserie inspired pumpkin but this time we’re switching from vinyl to acrylic paint. I love acrylic paint because it is easy to work with, super cheap and available in any color you can imagine.
I’m using a medium sized white craft pumpkin which is about $5 here, but truly this tutorial will work on any size pumpkin. I highly recommend your pumpkin have a matte surface- acrylic paint won’t adhere very well high gloss surfaces.
Many retailers are selling chinoiserie pumpkins at a hefty price tag- I love this one from Ballard Designs and loosely used it as the inspiration for this pumpkin.
This pumpkin is meant to be hand painted, organic, imperfect and free flowing, so don’t overthink it and don’t be too critical on yourself, ok? Also, all the blue paint I used is from Walmart and it’s the cheap 50-cents a bottle kind.
· Medium craft pumpkin (ideally in white)
· Foam brush (1” width is fine)
· Thin paint brush (I mean really thin)
· Thicker paint brush
· Paper plate or craft paint tray for your paints (I love this one from Dollar Tree– comes with 6 for $1)
· Cup of water and paper towel to rinse/dry your brushes
Using your erasable pen, lightly sketch/draw your design on your pumpkin. I started by making a “wave”, which is really a vine or branch and adding a flower to the end of it, then another vine and another flower. You want to connect some and leave a few open ended. I also tried to make each of my flowers a little unique much like you’d find in nature.
Since you’re using an erasable pen, you can easily erase something if it doesn’t look good and redo it. Take your time with this step since this will literally be the foundation for your whole pumpkin. Look at it from top and bottom, side to side. Is it balanced?
Using your thinnest paint brush and your darkest blue paint start tracing over the lines you just sketched (this includes the outline of the petals of your flowers). Some strokes will be thicker than others, but don’t sweat it. If you make a mistake, have a damp paper towel handy to quickly wipe it off since this paint tries fast.
Fill in the petals of all of your flowers- don’t go too opaque with your painting, it’s ok if it’s not a 100% solid finish.
Now we’ll add the leaves to your vines/branches. I imagined myself painting a little “v” for each set of leaves. I had some facing the left and some going to the right to add some organic movement.
In the center of your petals, paint an enclosed avocado shape with the medium blue. This will add some dimension to the petals.
Add some dots, swirls, and curves to the petals using the light blue paint color. Using your gold paint, fill in the centers of the flowers, add further details to the petals and add a few random dots around the flowers for some metallic contrast.
Use that same paint with a foam brush to paint your pumpkin stem, and you are done.
While it is not perfect like the store made ones, it is unique and totally fits in well with my ever-expanding collection of ginger jars. Plus, this project is under $10, so I could make 7 of these and still come out ahead to some of the chinoiserie pumpkins sold online.
You can use this same tutorial and get creative with the colors- a black craft pumpkin with hot pink, lime and white with gold accents would be a great Halloween or Dia De Los Muertos craft. Take this idea and run with it, friends. Or simply swap the gold for silver or use both!
I’ll have another blue and white chinoiserie pumpkin tutorial next week that incorporates pretty napkins! If you follow along these tutorials, you’ll have a collection by the end of this fall. If you have a tutorial suggestion, feel free to drop it in the comments section- I read every single one. xo.