I recently found out about the Chinoiserie Pumpkin craze and was inspired to jump in and give it a try. If you are a lover of all things blue and white, you might want to do your own little DIY Chinoiserie Pumpkin. I’ll show you the steps I took to create mine.
I have not painted in years, so this was a bit of an ambitious project for me to take on. But, I was truly inspired by the chinoiserie pumpkins created by Thomas Ard, a southern artist known as TomTom who loves the art of living! Head over to his tomtomandco instagram feed to see my inspiration and all his fabulous lifestyle posts and art. I loved all the little detailing he added to his pumpkins. Giving you something new and interesting to see at every angle. Learning from the best you know.
I only have one regret about this little artistic endeavor and that was that I did not think to try it on a craft pumpkin instead of a real one. At least I could use it year after year. Oh well, regrets be gone, I’m going to enjoy it in the moment.
Since my newly created chinoiserie pumpkin is such a treasure, I decided to display it with my other treasured pumpkins. One hand blown from STARworks and gifted to me by a dear friend. The STARworks Pumpkin Patch is a much anticipated yearly event and their hand blow pumpkins go fast. My other treasured pumpkin is a beautifully glazed tureen which I have had for years.
My darling grandchildren joined in the fun with some pumpkin painting of their own that I will share at the end. They were quite intrigued by what I was doing as I was sketching out my pumpkin and intently studying my inspiration.
My halloween decorating was simplified this year by a few purchases I made at our local Fall Festival from the ladies at Southern Sparrow. I’ve done the tons of pumpkins and mums a plenty, so I am enjoying the simplicity of these hand crafted decorations and I love supporting crafters and makers who have small businesses.
A trio of burlap sack pumpkins rest by the fire place.
Some mini burlap sack pumpkins join my antique chicks on display in the kitchen. Along with a zig zag pumpkin flag that I had intended for the mail box. I forgot that we had to replace the mailbox and there was no way to attach a flag. I decided to just hung it in the bay window in the kitchen where I catches the light.
Pattern and color combine for a modern rendition of a pumpkin on this little flag.
In the den I have my French Laundry Halloween pillow with a band of orange on the edge and Halloween phrases in a mix of fonts. There is just something I love about topography. If you are local you can find great French Laundry products on display and for sale at the 1502 Fabrics in High Point NC.
DIY Instructions Chinoiserie Pumpkin
I actually prepared two pumpkin to paint but one was enough of an undertaking for this beginner. You can see the steps below for creating your own pumpkin.
Set 1 – Primer
Used a chandelier box I had hanging around to prop up my pumpkins for spraying with a white primer. I used two coats of primer that I put on two different days. That was only because I started in the evening and did not want to stay up to add the second coat. I imagine you could do it in one day after a few hours of drying. Just follow the instructions on the label.
Step 2 – Sketching
Then I just began sketching the design using my inspiration as a guide. I had a little difficulty with the intricate pattern at the top but I just erased gently and drew a new line or drew a second line. most stray lines will not show up after you add paint.
Step 3 – Paint First Color
I went through my box of acrylic paints and found a lighter and darker shade of blue that I already had on hand. I began by layering the lighter shade first. I just traced my lines with paint, playing with the thickness of paint and the width of brush I used. Since I have not painted in years it was a lot of trial and error. Here is what it looked like after the first layer of color.
Step 4 – Paint Second Color
Next I layered on the darker shade of paint overlapping the existing color just a little. Here again I had to play with the thickness of brush but did not thin paint much. After adding the second color it lacked a little dimension which I was not exactly sure how to cure. I decided to swirl together some of the two colors I had and add a little white to others to go back in and add a little shading. You can kinda see where I did that particularly on the circle surrounding the pagoda.
Thanks go out to my husband who is good to come up with solutions for me. I mentioned that it would be nice and helpful if I had one of those things that you put a cake on to spin it around while you decorated it. It only took him a few seconds to think up a solution. We had a T.V swivel shelf that came out of a cabinet we were not using as an entertainment piece. It worked like a dream. That is the black piece that you see below. I then could easily turn and pivot it. (Obviously not required but was very helpful.)
Step 5 – Finishing Touches On the Chinoiserie Pumpkin
How you leave the stem is a matter of choice. I loved how TomTom used the shiny gold on the handle but I never got out to try and find any. My guess is that you would have to use old fashioned model paint to get that shinny gold. I contemplated painting the stem the darker navy color but was afraid that it would then dominate the visual. In the end I just left it white. I think for the pictures it lets the art work shine.
If you would like your pumpkin to be super shiny you could spray a coat of clear lacquer on it. At this point, as you see it, I have not added lacquer. if you are going to put it outside on a porch or semi-enclosed area I do recommend that you lacquer it since acrylic paint is water based. This might also extend the life of your pumpkin.
Original Kid Art Pumpkins
As promised here are the results of my highly creative grandchildren ages 5 and 10. They are fearless about their own creativity. No patterns, no inspiration example to guide them, just welled up and spilling over creativity. I could learn a little from them. The 5 year old created a feast of abstract art and the 10 year old delivered this delightful ombre effect. They often amaze me.
It’s funny how trying something new in the beginning is a little stressful but in the end is extremely rewarding. I’ll admit that when I started layering paint I had a few heart palpitations. Then I reminded myself that there is a learning curve, that this was just the beginning, and what I learned tonight would make the next attempt even better. I began to relax and just go with it.
No, mine does not look remotely close to the beauty and perfection of a professional artist’s rendition, but it is something that I have created with my very own squiggly hands.
Maybe my little attempt will inspire you to step out and express your creativity.
Go for it! Get messy! Be creative! Have fun! – Marianne