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Tutorial: Faux Concrete Pumpkins

I was inspired by my recent trip to Roger's Gardens Nursery in Corona del Mar, California
when I saw some HUGE, GINORMOUS concrete pumpkins at their store:

One look at them, and I had a craft project in mind!
My versions would be smaller, naturally, and also lighter in color....
 I wanted mine to be a bit more subtle and less scary than Roger's Gardens versions, 
so I went with lighter gray paint.
You can easily do this with dark gray and black paint to get the same results as in the photos up above...
Follow my tutorial below 
to transform some gaudy orange Dollar Tree pumpkins into concrete classics!

Faux Concrete Pumpkin Tutorial

styrofoam pumpkins (this canteloupe-sized pumpkin is $1.00 at the Dollar Tree)
acrylic / craft paint in white, black, and dove gray - matte finish
cup of water
palette (I use a paper plate)
paint brushes - large for base coat, smaller for details
and A SECRET INGREDIENT to be divulged later!

Step 1:
First, basecoat the entire pumpkin with white paint. Let dry.
Step 2:
Mix some gray paint into white paint on the palette,
then cover the pumpkins completely with this color.

(I left the stems unpainted until the end so I could use them as 'handles' while painting)

You will now be working in a 'Wet on Wet' paint technique, 
which means you will move on to the next step before the paint dries completely...
Step 3:
 Pour some straight gray paint onto the palette. 
Mix in a bit of water to create a runny consistency, to create a 'wash'.
Using a smaller detail brush, paint the grooves of the pumpkin with the gray wash,
and also the whole bottom (underneath) of the pumpkin.
Before the paint dries,
Step 4:

Add a little bit of water to the pale gray paint left on your palette (from step 2)
and brush it with a 'scrubbing' motion over the edges of the dark gray lines in the grooves.
You want to smooth out the edges, not cover all of the dark gray.
Leave some of the dark gray visible on the bottom of the pumpkin.
At this point, I painted the stems with the dark gray color.

Still working with wet paint over wet paint,
Step 5:
Add a bit more white paint to the lightest gray to make a very light gray wash.
Use the smaller detail brush to 'scrub' the white paint
across the top edges of the ridges on the pumpkin.
Blend this color in well so there are no divisions of color on the pumpkin - just smooth transitions.

While the paint is still wet...

Step 6:
Now is when when we bring in the SECRET INGREDIENT!
It's FLOUR. Bleached flour.
Yes, really....
Wet a small brush with a tiny bit of water, then pick up some flour and put it on the pumpkin, 
in the hollows and grooves of the pumpkin, where the gray wash is wet.
Wet your small brush and pick up more and more flour to get it all over the top and upper side surfaces.
 After the flour is on the pumpkin, use your fingers to press it into the wet paint and smooth it a bit.
Don't forget the bottom!

Let the pumpkin sit to dry for a few minutes.
The flour will absorb some of the paint's moisture, 
causing it to stick to the pumpkin.
After it is dry, brush LIGHTLY with your fingers to remove loose flour.
The flour left on the surface gives the finish the look of dry, flaking concrete.

It's not needed, but if you wish, you can spray the whole pumpkin with matte clear sealer
 or with hairspray. Works just as well!
 Your pumpkins will look like they are made of concrete, and they will weigh almost nothing!

This painting method will also work on plastic pumpkin buckets, 
making them look like hollow concrete planters & vases!
.(spray the inside of the bucket with gray outdoor furniture paint so it's waterproof)

October 20th, 2014

I used this method on a plain old styrofoam head form.... and it's awesome!

(that's one of my original Junk Queen Crowns from way back in 2008 on her head -
with bleached leaves added for fall )

I've used this paint technique in another project...
Come see what I transformed with paint! 

shared online:

Cupcakes & Crinoline | project inspire{d}

DIY on display

Practically Functional | Creativity Unleashed 

Yesterday on Tuesday | Project Inspire{d}


  1. I love them., Deb Great knock off project and they do look like concrete.The use of flour is brilliant! I bet those concrete ones were expensive, too! xo Diana

  2. Thanks for the cute pumpkins I always like your style

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Janne! Enjoy and have a happy fall!

  3. Where did you get that wig head? I've been looking and haven't found any with neck muscles like that, nor such a sweet and detailed face.

    1. Jenvieve (what a lovely name!) I found her several years ago at a Daiso Japanese imports store here in California. She was $2.99 ;) A quick search of their online listings does not show that item - but you can locate a store near you and check there! daisojapan.com

  4. We have an outside fire place that needs these pumpkins this year. I can't wait to try this. Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. i normally don't publish anonymous comments - but i happen to know that my friend Kimberly left this one ;) so i'm breakin' the rules for her!!! thank you and i hope you'll send me a photo when you make yours!