To really enjoy your creativity you need to get away from the traditional way that pumpkins and gourds are used. Now is the time of year that pumpkins are very affordable and stores may even be discounting them from Halloween sales. Pumpkins aren't just for carving anymore and that kind of thinking will limit your creative juices. Think paint!
Pumpkins, melons and squash are all part of the gourd family and can be provide fun shapes and textures to paint on. In deciding which kind of gourd to paint on you first need to choose the pattern you want to paint.
CHOOSING A PATTERN
All of us are not artists that can freehand any design we choose. Painting on gourds can be fun for all levels of crafters and painters with beautiful results by using a pre-made pattern. Take your inspiration from coloring books, tole painting patterns, or fabric designs in your home. Use a photo copier to enlarge or reduce your pattern to fit your pumpkin or gourd proportionately.
You will want to choose a gourd or pumpkin that compliments your pattern. Look carefully at the shape of your gourd to see if you can turn it different directions to highlight the pattern. Maybe you will need to choose a gourd that is yellow, speckled or green to keep the natural color of the gourd as your background color. Complex designs are the easiest to paint on smooth or flat pumpkins.
APPLYING THE PATTERN
Make sure your gourd is clean, dry and fresh before applying your pattern. The pattern can be transferred by placing graphite paper between the pattern and the gourd with the graphite side facing away from your pattern. Carefully tape the pattern to your shape and trace the pattern with a pencil. You could also use a chop stick or dull toothpick to trace the pattern using pressure to leave a faint indentation in your pumpkin. This method works well for patterns that do not have a lot of detail.
First use a paint sealer on your gourd before painting it. This will help prevent your paint from chipping off. If you are not using the natural background of your pumpkin you will need to apply 2-3 coats of basecoat over the sealer. Spray-paint can be used to accomplish this step faster. Or you may decide to use a "wash" of 1/2 paint and 1/2 water applied in long even strokes to achieve a sheer antique look.
After painting your pumpkin you will also want to use the same spray sealer over your dried paintwork to protect it from the elements it may be exposed to.
Weather a fruit or a vegetable, gourds are considered a seasonal fruit and will spoil if not taken care of. Under the right conditions you can enjoy your painted gourds for many months. Fruits and Vegetables in the gourd family should not be stacked, they need fresh air circulation and should be stored in a dry cool place. Space them apart from one another - gourds are like apples, one bad one could spoil the whole bunch!
If you display your painted pumpkins outside make sure to bring them in at night to prevent them from freezing.
If you are picking your pumpkins from a patch, cut it from the vine leaving 2-3 inches of vine on the stem to keep it fresh longer. If your gourd is missing a stem it will not last as long.
Other than paint, gourds can be embellished using a wide variety of crafting supplies. Almost all can be attached using a hot glue gun if you pumpkin is for indoor use or use craft glue if your pumpkin is going to be in a variety of different temperatures. Pins can also be used to attach craft supplies.
If you are painting your gourd like a person, clown, scarecrow, baby-doll, witch or other creatures with a face you can make wigs out of doll hair, curling ribbon, fake fur, straw, bendable this wire, Styrofoam peanuts, ripped strips of rags, cotton cobwebs, ribbon, lace...the list can go on and on! Adding a straw hat to a scarecrow or a red bandana to a pirate or cowboy painted pumpkin can really bring it to life also.
Gourds can take on any theme, character or style you wish. Painting a pumpkin white, adding small wooden wheels, touches of gold spray paint and glitter or jewels can transform a painted pumpkin to look like Cinderella's fancy pumpkin coach taking her to the ball!
Pumpkins can have a folk art decorative look, country or classic scene. Paint or decoupage fabric patchwork squares onto your pumpkin and add stitches with black paint, hot glue plastic leaves and vines to the stem for interest.
For a whimsical center piece turn your pumpkin or gourd into a watermelon, sunflower or other seasonal symbols for a cute centerpiece or unique party hostess gift!