Just as cakes don’t always need to be chocolate, pumpkins don’t always need to be orange… especially if your home style is not, ahem, welcoming to a harvest color palette. ;) Lucky for you (and me), acrylic paint and nail polish can save the day! Give your nails a break this season and use that polish to transform a stash of mini pumpkins into colorful works of art with this easy pumpkin polish technique.

Create colorful pumpkins to line the table, the porch or anywhere a little fall is needed without the spook.

Pumpkin Polishing

Forget the nails! To polish pumpkins, you will need:

  • Mini pumpkins, either real or faux, lighter shades are better
  • Acrylic craft paints in desired colors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Modpodge acrylic sealer
  • Nail polishes in desired colors (buy cheap ones!)
  • Plastic bowl that is large enough for the pumpkins to be dipped into, and old enough that you don’t mind throwing it away ☺
  • Toothpicks

1. Prepare painting area… waxed paper on a kitchen counter works great. If using real pumpkins, rinse and dry them.

2. Paint pumpkins in desired colors. Think about the look that is desired… a pastel pink pumpkin with a bright pink polish? A cream pumpkin with peach polish? A white pumpkin with a few bright polish colors? Depending on the color of the original pumpkin, it may take a few coats of paint to get full coverage.

3. Once the paint is completely dry, seal the pumpkins with Mod Podge. Allow to dry.

4. Fill the bowl with enough lukewarm water (polish will sink in cold water) that will allow the pumpkins to be submerged about halfway when dipping (remember that the pumpkin will displace the water, so don’t fill too high). Let the water settle and be completely still.

5. Place a large sheet of waxed paper next to the bowl, and have some rags and the toothpicks on hand. Pour the nail polish on to the surface of the water… from this point on, time is of the essence, as the polish will start to seize in a few minutes time. Do not cover the entire surface of the water with polish because it will create solid coverage on the pumpkin. Use the toothpick to create some gentle swirls on the surface.

Dip the pumpkins! Experiment with how deep you want to dip them… either horizontally (bottom half goes in) or vertically (side goes in). Let the pumpkin drip briefly over bowl, then place on the waxed paper to dry. You can also invert the pumpkin on top of a glass so that the polished part is not touching anything. You will be able to see if there is enough polish left in bowl to dip another pumpkin – if not, add more polish.

After a few pumpkins, the polish will start to set in the bowl – dump it out and start again. If you choose to layer different colors, be sure to let each coat dry completely before adding the next one.

Once you get going, there are so many color combinations and possibilities… where will your creativity take you? The polished pumpkins are a beautiful centerpiece for all the fall revelry.

PS. More painted pumpkin fun.

(Photo concept, design and photography ©A Subtle Revelry by Elizabeth Veilleux).