Gilded Gourds

We’ve had these monogram carved pumpkins for over five years and set them out every year as part of our Fall and Halloween decor. They’re foam craft pumpkins from Michaels that I drew each initial onto and my husband carved using a Dremel tool. Due to all the thin lines of detail in the design, he did not cut all the way through the foam and instead shaved away the plastic coating so that there was a layer of the foam remaining to keep the design together while still allowing an LED tea light to glow through.

After five years of sitting out in the sun, the pumpkins were a little weathered and faded. There were some holes in the foam too. Honestly, we thought we had thrown them out after last year when we couldn’t find them in our Halloween bins. I was relieved when my husband happened upon them in the garage…I didn’t want to buy four new pumpkins and I figured all they needed was a little freshening up and they’d be as good as gold…literally.

I taped off the carved section with the initials, concerned that the spray paint may damage the exposed foam (regular spray paint will disintegrate foam and I wasn’t sure how these craft pumpkins would react).

Then, two coats of Valspar Brilliant Metal Gold spray paint later, I had some gorgeous and brand-new-shiny pumpkins! I did not prime or base coat the pumpkins beforehand, just wiped off dust and dirt.

Of course, something had to be done with the taped off areas. I took some leftover dark gray paint and hand-painted a simple shape, one slightly different for each pumpkin.

I added a white outline, patched the holes in the foam, and painted a slight white wash onto each letter to get rid of any orange. I thought about hand painting a different pattern onto the gold as well. ¬†For instance, a floral or paisley onto mine, herringbone onto my husband’s, and some sort of modern geometric onto each son’s pumpkin. My five year-old asked for “race car” checkerboard. Maybe I’ll do it in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Or maybe next year. I’m kind of enjoying them simply the way they are.

And since they’re not Halloween specific, they’ll work nicely throughout the Fall season and into Thanksgiving. Sometimes all that glitters IS gold, when it comes to a simple DIY and a can of spray paint.

Now I’m off to find some reasonably priced LED lights to illuminate the pumpkins when I set them up on our mantel.


  1. […] with some help from their neighborhood friends, did their thing. I repainted some old foam/craft pumpkins we had carved years ago, doodled on a gold spray-painted mini pumpkin…and put a few […]