OK, so it’s virtual—but what isn’t anymore? Our 2020 decorated pumpkins were inspired by the perfect autumn festival, complete with handmade goodies, foliage in fall colors and a funky retro vibe. And as always, we’ve got pro tips from our artists and hints to inspire you to create your own.
2020 pumpkin decorating plan
The 2020 fall festival theme came from Think.Make.Share. designer Kelly C. “This year has made me super into reusing materials and upcycling—there are so many cardboard boxes around. It’s a crafty and DIY look mixed with kid-friendly mixed with earthy tones. I love referencing patterns and motifs that have been around for a while—like ’70s florals or vintage quilted folk patterns. All of these things mesh really well together into something funky and fun.”
Along with a color palette and some design inspo, Kelly gave our five artists a mood board and some general creative direction:
- Try a DIY look with upcycled materials and perfectly imperfect details (like paper and macramé attachments).
- Create a playful and celebratory feeling with fun animals and fall icons.
- Make it funky with ’70s-inspired lettering and florals.
For artist Sam L., the mood board sparked the idea to “layer materials to get a crafted, natural feel. I expanded on the mood board, finding inspiration from ’60s and ’70s textiles and animal designs.”
To find your own fall festival inspiration, try image searches for:
- ’70s patterns
- vintage quilted folk patterns
- funky ’70s lettering (or fat-bottomed lettering)
- fall crafts with cardboard
Translating inspiration to ideas
Colin W. immediately started his creative process: “I sketched and painted a bunch of small/bad ideas. I always sketch a bunch first and then decide what’s reading and working best, then I sketch a final idea and execute it.”
Most of our artists did some version of sketching out their ideas before transferring the designs to their pumpkins.
“I drew the design on the pumpkin with chalk pastel so I could have a nice map for painting but also wipe it away when I finished,” lettering artist Teju A. tells us.
If want to go high tech—and have access to an iPad or laptop and a projector—try these tips from lettering artist Chris R.:
- Take a snapshot of your pumpkin and use an iPad to draw designs onto the photo. “It helps a lot to hone in on your design and scale.”
- Once you’ve figured out your approach, project and trace your drawing onto the pumpkin.
- Finally, test your paints: “See how many coats you need. Sometimes your paint may need some extra love.” You can test on the back or bottom where no one will see, paint and wipe off, or just plan to paint over the test. Spraying your pumpkin with a primer also works wonders.
Pro tips for decorating pumpkins
If you’ve ever read one of our no-carve pumpkin decorating posts, you’ve seen some great tips. Since we added attachments this year, we’ve got even more hints from Hallmark artists:
“Paint your large color blocks and areas first then focus on the details and touchups later. Don’t get caught up on the mistakes because you can always paint over them.” —Chris
If you’re making a mask for your pumpkin, like Sam’s owl: “Using pencil, lightly draw out the mask shape on craft paper and cut it out, making sure it fits your pumpkin size. Once you cut out the eyeholes, hold your mask up to your pumpkin and trace eyehole circles onto your pumpkin.” Then you can paint the eyes on your pumpkin.
“I love acrylic paint pens because I can get more detailed line work.” —Tuesday W.
“When painting shapes, it’s easier to cradle the pumpkin in your lap to brace it still. Also paint an outline of the shape with a small and narrow brush and fill in with color. If you make a mistake, you can always go back and clean up edges or mishaps with the base color.” —Teju
And—not to play favorites—but the most important tip:
“Stay loose and have a good time.” —Colin
Top places to display your 2020 decorated pumpkins
- “We like to place our pumpkins on our doorstep and mantel.” —Chris
- “The squirrels usually get ours out on the porch, but a nice coat of spray paint should deter them.” —Sam
- “Porch. These plastic pumpkins would work well because the squirrels that live at our house eat real pumpkins.” —Colin
- “We love to decorate our front porch—the weirder the better.” —Tuesday
- “I live in an apartment so maybe on a windowsill or near the entertainment console.” —Teju
Other places to try:
- Arranged around your fireplace or on the mantel
- As a centerpiece on your dining table
- In a styled vignette on a bookshelf
- Lining that awkward space on top of your kitchen cabinets
- In the corner of a staircase landing
- Piled on a bedside table in a kiddo’s room
More Pumpkin Decorating Ideas
And take a look at Think.Make.Share. pumpkins year by year:
- 2014 monochromatic pumpkins: One of the easiest DIYs. Black and white pumpkins— just use permanent markers. Easy to do with kids.
- 2015 marker-decorated pumpkins (and some by Keepsake Ornament and Signature artists): Don’t carve! Use black markers and white/metallic paint markers for fun doodles and no pumpkin guts.
- 2016 painted pumpkins: We love the muted teals and grays and the simple painted decorations.
- 2017 elegant painted pumpkins: Spooky and dark. (Get that drama.) If you’re needing to display all our internal 2020 drama into a collection of pumpkins, this is how to express your soul.
- 2018 painted pumpkins: Cheeky and bright. Graphic and fun. 2018 was an OK year.
- 2019 painted pumpkins: Witches have it all. They’re cool, can fly, have pointy hats and can put a spell on you. Magic. (Also, we love purple and orange.)
How will you decorate pumpkins this year? Share your pics on Instagram and tag @Think.Make.Share.