I am not really a huge fan of carving pumpkins. It always ends up taking such a long time (and lets just say I don't focus well), I hate the cold slimy guts that have to be scraped out, and no matter what I do, they never last for more than a few days before starting to rot.
I was so excited to skip all of that this year, and try painting them instead! I kinda jumped in with both feet and zero fore thought... so here are 8 tips I learned the hard way.
#1 Use a Craft Pumpkin instead of a real pumpkin. Seriously, none of these tips are necessary if you just use a craft pumpkin, but where is the fun in that!
#2 We all know how much I love spray paint, but on this one I had to cut back a bit. Spray paint makes a perfect smooth base coat, and should definitely be used for that, but no more.
#3 Don't skip the primer. Despite extreme caution when removing the tape stripes, I lost a substantial amount of paint. Even now, the paint on this pumpkin cannot be touched in the slightest or it will peel off in one big sheet.
#4 Remove any tape or stickers VERY SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY! If this seems like an obvious tip, then you are underestimating how slowly and carefully I mean. These orange dots were made with stickers and sadly, these were some of the best I managed. *see tip #6
#5 Do not apply any stickers or tape over paint. When I got started, I had plans for lots of layering, but it quickly became clear that the base coat of paint had no intentions of remaining on the pumpkin when it came time to remove the stickers. I actually had to completely start over on that pumpkin and completely forgot to take pictures of the destruction. Sorry!
#6 Despite what you see all over Pinterest, round stickers are not actually the best way to make polka dots. I tried a couple of different options because apparently I love polka dots (I somehow only just discovered this, maybe it's just a phase). Anyhow the stickers worked pretty well but had a few down sides. Primarily, those listed in tip #4 and #5. The best way to make perfect crisp edges was to essentially stamp the dots on. I happened to have a round foam stencil paintbrush, it's apparently called a "spouncer", but anyway it proved to be a great way to make the polka dots. Once I discovered that I tried a few other random items and found that my favorite was actually a pencil eraser. Look at how clean the edge is on the dark grey dot.
#7 Pumpkins are not all orange, embrace it! As I mentioned in #5, you cannot apply tape or stickers over a layer of paint, so using pumpkins that are naturally a different color adds to your options.
#8 Get Creative! Some of my favorite details came about by accident. I actually used this washi tape to tape off the stripes on the black and orange pumpkin. Using it as a decoration was an after thought.
and I love this one, but only thought of it after I started over on this pumpkin 3 times. Meaning 3 times I sprayed over paint that was peeled for various reasons and in the end the finish on the pumpkin was so bumpy that I had to try and find a way to hide it.
Despite the fact that this particular project didn't go all that smoothly, I had a lot of fun with it. And hopefully you can benefit from my experience. :-) Good Luck!