Decorating Pumpkins Without Carving

Did you know that decorating pumpkins without carving isn't just for kids, but you can easily paint a cute face on a pumpkin and make it look like those you see at a fall fair where they sell decorated pumpkins? It's much easier than you would guess and requires very little money, talent or tools to decorate pumpkins without carving. Here's how to paint pumpkins.

First, select the pumpkin. If you want to make a bunch of them, get medium sized rather than huge. The smaller ones take less paint, and therefore less time. You can do more in a shorter amount of time.

Next, clean the pumpkin. But don't use water! Use baby wipes or alcohol swabs to remove dirt. Then make sure it's really dry by rubbing it with a paper towel. Don't get the stem or bottom (called the blossom) wet. Wet pumpkins will begin to rot, even if they are not carved.

You can use really cheap acrylic paints - the kind that come in those little plastic pots that are all attached to each other. They sell for around $3 each in most craft stores and some discount stores as well. You can use the little brushes, but cotton swabs work really well and are easier to use. You'll also want a good black Sharpie marker for the black detailing.

Cover the table with newspaper or foil before getting started. Get your kids into smocks. Let them get busy and creative! Warning - don't use tempra paint because it will flake right off once it starts to dry and your kids will cry!

To decorate a pumpkin face like a pro, make two oval or almond-shaped eyes with white paint. Once the paint dries, add a line of blue for "eye shadow," use the marker to add lashes and a big pupil, and also outline the bottom and top edges of the eye. Paint a nose as a circle with any color. Make a line for a mouth with the black marker, and add "lipstick" with pink paint, making a wide "m" shape at the top, and a long "u" shape just under the bottom of the line. Take your white and make a dot inside each pupil at the same place in each eye, about ¼ way around from the top.

Then make little flowers using the cotton swabs. Just dots are fine - one for the center, and five for the "petals." use green to do a swoosh for stems. Add little white dots around the flowers for decoration.

To seal and give a shiny look, purchase some clear gloss spray sealer from a hardware store. Take the finished pumpkin outside when it is completely dry, and give it a light once-over spray. Sprinkle the top with glitter if desired.

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