Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint

Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

Part 3 – Papier-mâché Pumpkins  and How To Paint

It took longer than I thought to get to the actual point of painting these pumpkins.  That could be because this is my first experience with this process.   Since the papier-mâché kept shrinking when it dried, I kept feeling like more was needed to actually see the features.  The beauty of this medium is that wet clay can be applied right on top of the dry clay.  You can see how I continued to build up the details in the picture below.

Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on


The first thing you need to do is paint the entire pumpkin, inside and out, with a flat black outdoor paint.  You can see I bought a can of Valspar Black 60074 – Flat paint.  Use a can of paint and a paintbrush for this, not a spray can.  The latex paint cleans up easily with soap and water and it also dries quickly.  This will help seal the paper base and create a nice background for the color washes.  

Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

Although, there is a plastic bin full of acrylic paint, there was no orange.  I had to buy two bottles of orange paint.   One is a pumpkin orange and the other is a darker orange.  Another bottle of yellow paint was used to lighten the pumpkin color a bit.  Varying shades of green, tan, and burnt umber were used on the stem.

The Painting Process


Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

Scott and Jay each had different techniques for painting their pumpkins.  My technique is a combination of these two.  I like the black showing through the oranges of the pumpkin like Scott does and I like the layering of the color washes that Jay used on his.  The dark recedes and the light comes forward.  Use this to call attention to and highlight certain features.


Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on



Next, white latex primer was lightly dry brushed over the black painted surface.  This accents some of the texture and the raised areas.Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on



Then, layers of washes of orange paint were applied.  Everyone has their own technique, I guess.  After messing around with it for a while, I tried applying the darker orange wash onto the pumpkin ridges.  Then, with a 2″ dry brush, I feathered that out and down into the valleys.

That was allowed to dry and a coat of the dark orange paint mixed with a little bit of the lighter orange paint was applied in the same way.  The lighter coat  was applied leaving an edge of the darker coat beneath it to show.  Then, the 2″ dry brush was again used to soften and feather out the paint.

Again, the paint wash was allowed to dry.  More of the lighter paint was added to the darker paint and another wash was painted on using the same process.  This was repeated again, and ultimately, the lighter paint was painted on in a wash the same way.

Yellow paint was then added to the light orange in a progression of washes, just like before.


Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

Personally, I like some of the black showing through.   the texture of the papier-mâché is interesting.   The little fella seems a lot more ominous with all that black.

My intention was to paint the inside a yellow-orange and use a battery-powered candle inside but I like the black showing!   As I looked at him across the room, he looked so perfectly creepy just like that.  His eyes, nose, and mouth are very distinct, and yet, the details of his face are very apparent.


Orange paint continued to be layered on top of layers of orange paint, from dark to light.   Then, it dawned on me that if I planned to leave the inside black,  the black would really make ‘a lighter orange color around the facial features’ pop against the darkness.  At that point, more paint was layered around the eyes, the nose, and especially, the mouth.   This area was painted with more pigment and less water.  You can see the difference in the picture above and the picture below.

Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on

The stem was painted a light tan color, brown, and black in striations along the ridges that were made with the clay.  Then, 3 shades of green and some black were mixed and added.   A few  thin strokes of orange were added along the ridges and then feathered out with the 2″ dry brush, leaving just a hint of the orange color.


Papier-mâché Pumpkins

In case you missed it, directions for making the Papier-mâché

 pumpkin ◄ can be found here.  Click here ► for  Part 2 .

The question of whether to paint the inside lighter or leave the black was posed to ‘MyHumbleHomeandGarden’s Facebook page’ followers◄ You can weigh in with your opinion, too,  leave a comment below, or just see what everyone said!

These are whimsical, and maybe a little creepy, so there is no right or wrong way to do these!  Let yourself go and enjoy the process!  I love the end result and there are more of these crazy pumpkins in my future.  (I also have some ideas of how to use this clay for Christmas ideas!)

 Has this inspired you to create your own Papier-mâché Pumpkins?


Papier-mâché Pumpkins and How To Paint on


Papier-mâché Pumpkins - how to paint on

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