H.Prall & Co. | No Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas
I have never, not once ever, been a fan of carving pumpkins. It’s messy, I’m always afraid of cutting my handoff, and mine NEVERRRRRR looks any kind of decent. When I decided I wanted to do a post about child-friendly pumpkin decorating, I for sure wasn’t going to even visit the land of carving, so I took to the streets—and by streets, I mean Instagram—and asked what everyone does with their own kids to decorate pumpkins. (Don’t follow me on Instagram yet? You can do that HERE.)
I got some great responses and basically couldn’t wait to hit up the craft stores to buy all the things. Side note: my goal is to now actually organize my crafty space, so I don’t go buy all new supplies next time I have a project like this pop-up. Maybe that will be another post … ha!
I also decided to invite my sister and nieces over to help me with the project. We don’t have kiddos of our own, but we are very close with our nieces…and I knew they’d enjoy getting crafty. I picked two types of decorated pumpkins for the girls to do, and three for my sister and myself to do.
First things first, you need to decide if you want the pumpkins to be just for this season, or if you want them to last from year to year. Ideally, I would have liked to have all the pumpkins last forever, but fake pumpkins are kind of expensive! I ended up getting real pumpkins for the girls and a mix for my sister and me. I found a great deal on real pumpkins at Walmart ($3.98 each) and decorative pumpkins were on sale at Michael’s for 60% off. They had several sizes to choose from, depending on what kind of project you’re doing.
I prepped everything that I could ahead of time, to make the process run as smoothly as possible. It was still overwhelming, but we packed a lot into a few hours, so it went well considering that!
All but two of the pumpkins got a coat of spray paint, depending on what the finished product was supposed to be. Now, I will be honest and say that I did the spray painting the morning of … so it wasn’t my best effort. I would suggest doing your prep a few days ahead, including cleaning the pumpkins and using a primer, then paint, and then a poly coat on-top. The paint doesn’t stick the best to any of the pumpkins, real or fake, and a primer and poly topcoat would both help with that.
Last, but not least, we needed nourishment for the day’s events. I made charcuterie board, so we’d have something to snack on throughout the day, rather than having a big heavy meal…and needing a nap. This is a great way to fix food for a group, adults and kids alike. You can eat everything with your fingers, so it’s easy to serve, and it’s all pretty healthy! You can find my tips + tricks for building your own charcuterie board HERE.
Melted Crayon Pumpkins
- White pumpkins
- Approximately 20 unwrapped crayons per pumpkin. (I found them at Walmart for 30¢ a box…worth stocking-up on even without a project to do!)
- Fast-drying glue to adhere the crayons to the pumpkin. (I used hot glue, which dried quickly, but then when heated with the hairdryer, it melted again, and some of the crayons fell off.)
- Heat gun. (I used my hairdryer since I didn’t have a heat gun. Lesson learned: A heat gun would melt the crayons more quickly. It also doesn’t have as much of a blower, so the wax wouldn’t be as messy. If I do this again, I’ll buy a heat gun. You can find an inexpensive one HERE.)
- Painter’s drop cloth and/or large cardboard box. (This is a messy project—there’s no getting around it. Also, if you want them to look really cool, you need it to be messy. Next time, I’ll make sure to save a large cardboard box to put the pumpkin in while we melt the crayons. That way, if wax flies off, the box will catch it. Kind of like a spin-art booth, if you’ve ever done that.)
- Gloves. (Again…messy project.)
1. Prep pumpkin. If your pumpkin isn’t white already, you can spray paint it! Remember that a primer and poly top coat will help the paint to stick better.
2. Glue approximately 20 unwrapped crayons in a starburst around the top of the pumpkin stem. We decided that half a crayon is a perfect size, as the bottom half tends to melt and break off during the heating process anyway.
3. Place pumpkin in a large cardboard box. Begin to heat one section at a time with the HEAT GUN. The crayons will slowly start to melt, and wax will begin to run down the pumpkin. You can swirl the pumpkin around to encourage the wax to move in a certain way.
4. Be careful to pick the pumpkin up from the bottom, once it’s dry, as the melted was does chip off easily.
** While this is a no-carve project, kids will need parental help! The kids can help select and unwrap the crayons they want to use, place the crayons on the glue—once you’ve put it in place, and hold the heat gun—depending on their age.
Tissue Paper Pumpkins
- Mod Podge (Not familiar? You can buy a starter kit HERE.)
- Foam brushes
- Tissue paper (I got mine at Dollar Tree. They have several different patterns and colors to choose from.)
- Plastic Bowl
- Disposable tablecloth
- Disposable gloves (optional)
1. Pour a small amount of the Mod Podge into your plastic bowl.
2. Working in small sections, start applying a thin layer of Mod Podge to the outside of the pumpkin. Depending on the age of your kids, you could help them with this part, while they tear sections of the tissue paper to put onto the pumpkin.
3. Apply pieces of the tissue paper in whatever design you choose, working around the pumpkin. Once you get a piece onto the pumpkin, you’ll go over it with more Mod Podge, helping it to lay flat and stick to the pumpkin.
4. Continue to layer Mod Podge and tissue paper until you’re done.
5. When you have the desired finished look on the pumpkin, you can spray it with an acrylic sealer (HERE), if you want it to be less tacky and last longer.
** You’ll notice that the tissue paper pumpkins my nieces decorated here have some extra embellishments. They just “had to” use some of the supplies from the cactus pumpkins (coming up next) to decorate theirs. I love how they turned out, though, so maybe add some faux flowers and pom-poms to your shopping list for this project.
What you’ll need:
- Pumpkins (I used fake pumpkins for this project because I wanted them to last! I bought two craft pumpkins from Michael’s and two jack-o-lantern candy buckets from Walmart. I painted the pumpkins from Michael’s pink and removed the handle from the jack-o-lantern candy bucket, turned it upside down, and painted it green. If I were to do this again, I would only use the jack-o-lantern…it’s so much cheaper—only $1 each!)
- Spray paint (Whatever color you want your cactus to be)
- Pom-poms (You can use whatever size or color you want. I used two different sizes between the two pumpkins I decorated.
- Faux flowers (The best place for faux flowers for crafting is Dollar Tree! You’ll be able to get a lot that way, without spending a lot of money. The flowers pull right off the stems, so it’s very easy. Save some of the greenery too … you’ll want to add some of that in.
- Glue gun
- Glue dots
- Decorative basket
1. Spray your pumpkin whatever color you want your cactus to be.
2. Glue faux flowers on the top, to be the blooms of the cactus. For the jack-o-lantern, you’ll turn it upside down—the bottom will become the top—much easier to glue onto. I would use a hot glue gun for this part so the flowers will stay better on the pumpkin—parents will need to help kiddos with this part.
3. Put pumpkin into a decorative basket. This will help you know how far down to go with the pom-poms.
4. Glue pom-poms on. I used the lines of the pumpkins to do this part, using every other one. I left about 2” between each pom-pom going down the pumpkin, but you can do whatever looks best to you! I used hot glue for the pom-poms on my cactus pumpkins, but to make this part child-friendly, you can use crafting glue dots—usually found in the scrapbooking section.
What you’ll need:
- Pumpkin (I used the pretty fantasy pumpkins from Trader Joe’s.
- Scrapbook paper (You can use whatever colors you want. I cut 4 sheets of paper for two pumpkins and we had plenty leftover.)
- Die-cutter (They’re available in several sizes and shapes. I chose to use the 1” round. You could use a variety if you want.)
- Hot glue gun or glue dots (glue dots make this project totally kid-friendly)
1. Cut your paper confetti out of your scrapbook paper using the die-cutter. This step should be child-friendly, but they may need help lining up the cuts and trimming off the used edge pieces to get to the unused paper.
2. Glue dots on in whatever pattern suits your fancy. Make it totally kid-friendly by using glue dots.
I had so much fun getting my craft on again! I haven’t spent an afternoon just creating for such a long time. It’s good for everyone involved. Let your mind relax a little and enjoy the moments decorating pumpkins with your kids … without having to use any knives. I can’t stress enough, though, how much easier the day was made, by doing all the prep-work ahead of time. We were able to jump right into decorating without having to do anything else.
About the Author
Hilary Prall | Owner + Founder | H. Prall & Co.
Hello, friends – I’m Hilary (One I, not two), coming to you from my home sweet home in Ankeny, Iowa! I’m married to my BFF, Jason, could thrift shop + eat queso on the daily, am always rocking a hoodie or mumu (depends on the season – because, Iowa), and being a homebody in my love language.
After spending years in the world of retail, in my daily uniform of black + white, I started H. Prall & Co. as a way of making the world a more stylish place! That doesn’t mean buying everything brand-new or trendy, though, because I love finding beauty in every day, inspiring design for real life, and making style accessible for everyone-especially you!
I’m always on the look-out for what’s new + fun in the world of home design + lifestyle-sharing as much with you as I can! Life is busy and there’s always a budget involved, so I try to ease some of that stress for you, with our decorating services (Psst … we have so many options for you!) and all the inspiration I share.