Squirrels: my arch enemies. In the past, they’d eat the beautiful pumpkins my family selected at the pumpkin patch – mangling them before we’d even had a chance to enjoy them in our planters or carve them.
But as soon as I figured out how to make fake pumpkins look real, that all changed.
Squirrels do not like faux pumpkins. Therefore, I love fake pumpkins. The problem is that they sort of look like plastic blobs when you get them fresh from the craft store: bright orange, super shiny, not realistic.
But with just a little bit of paint, it’s so easy to make fake pumpkins look real! And, you can even put these painted faux pumpkins outside!
Before we begin, let’s have a quick look at what a fake pumpkin from the craft store looks like. It’s like a bright orange ball with some grooves in it. Not very realistic at all.
The good news is that it doesn’t take many supplies or very long to get fake pumpkins looking more realistic.
Supplies Needed to Make Fake Pumpkins Look Real
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- Artist’s paintbrush
- Brown acrylic paint
- Green acrylic paint
- White or cream acrylic paint
- Paper towel
- Spray sealer
How to Make Faux Pumpkins Look Real
Making fake pumpkins look real is definitely more of an art than a science. It will be helpful to read through these instructions before painting, and to watch the video in this post to show you more of the technique.
First, use a thin paintbrush to add brown acrylic paint to some of the faux pumpkin’s grooves.
Let the paint sit for a few minutes (but not long enough to fully dry), and then use a paper towel or sponge (or both) to smudge the paint. It’s good if it smears outside of the grooves, too.
Once you’ve finished smearing a section, move to another section of the pumpkin and repeat the line painting/paint smearing process.
Once you’ve finished that part and the paint has dried, dot some more brown paint on spots that still look too “fresh.” Pumpkins are dirty, people! Give these fake pumpkins what they want – fake dirt! Smear this paint just as you did the painted lines – using a paper towel or sponge.
Finally, dot some green and cream acrylic paint around the top and bottom sides of the pumpkin. Remember, pumpkins are not solid orange. They have a lot of color variation, so this step helps make fake pumpkins look even more realistic!
Let the paint sit for a couple of minutes and smear it around and blend it in, just as you did with the brown paint.
With that, your fake pumpkins look real! At least much more realistic than all of the other faux pumpkins at the craft store.
If you used good quality acrylic paint, your pumpkin paint should stay on with no issues. If you’re concerned about longevity of use outside, you could definitely spray the fake pumpkins with a spray sealer. A matte finish would be best.
How to Keep Fake Pumpkins From Blowing Away
If you’re using the realistic faux pumpkins outside, I have a great trick for you to keep the pumpkins from blowing away and in place!
Cut a small slit in the bottom of each pumpkin and stick a wood shim into the slit. Then stick the shim and pumpkin into the dirt. It works like a charm! The fake pumpkins stay in place and don’t blow away – even when it’s really windy!
Another option is to cut a small section out of the bottom of the faux pumpkin and add a handful of rocks inside the pumpkin. Press the cut out piece back into place, and secure with tape, if necessary. This is a great way to keep fake pumpkins from blowing away on porches or other flat surfaces.
So what do you think? Will you be outsmarting the squirrels this year?