How To Make Chinoiserie Pumpkins DIY Decoupage

September 5, 2020

blue white pumpkins gold stem

My love of chinoiserie began earlier this year. Maybe it was the extra time spent on Instagram due to quarantine. Maybe it was my friend Carol from BlueSky At Home's DIY chinoiserie lamp that totally inspired me. Maybe it was the chinoiserie estate sale and antique store finds I picked up this summer. Either way, I'm in love. And that is that. So it should be no surprise that I tackled a chinoiserie project for myself - DIY chinoiserie pumpkins for fall decor! Stick around and I'll share the secrets I learned from making my own decoupage chinoiserie pumpkins!

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 orange ceramic pumpkins gold stems

I started off with five orange, ceramic pumpkins I got for $1 each a few years ago at Target.

orange painted ceramic pumpkins gold stem

While I wasn't thrilled with the bright orange color, I did love the adorable gold stems. So the first step was to paint them white and create a neutral base to work with. (You can also find fairly inexpensive faux pumpkins that are already white and skip this step.)

white painted ceramic pumpkin

You can see that the gold paint rubbed off on a few of the stems. Unfortunately, it happened when I covered the stems with painter's tape to protect them from the white paint. When I tried to readjust the tape I saw that it was actually pulling off the gold paint. So in the end I did NOT use painter's tape. 

I did, however, use a gold paint pen I had on hand to fill in the orange spots and the stems looked good as new! You will see that in the "after" shots below.  

white painted ceramic pumpkins gold stems

And here they are, painted with a base coat of white paint, ready to be transformed!

Caspari chinoiserie cocktail napkins

The most important supply for this DIY project (beside the pumpkins, of course) is most definitely the cocktail napkins. Yes, cocktail napkins. That's what you'll be using to create that chinoiserie look for your pumpkins. 

I ordered some chinoiserie paper cocktail napkins from Amazon. They were recommended by my friend Carol from Bluesky at Home. She used them on her DIY chinoiserie lamp and the results were out of this world. Enough said. But seriously, you can use whatever napkins you want. It just depends on the look you're going for.

Mod Podge decoupage medium Gloss jar

You'll also need some Mod Podge. I used Mod Podge Gloss, but I think Mod Podge Matte would work just as well, depending on your preference.

red paint brush Decorator's White Benjamin Moore paint

I used a flat-edged paint brush I already had on hand, similar to this Mod Podge paint brush. And the paint I used was left over from an old home improvement project -- Benjamin Moore's Decorator's White. You can use whatever white paint you have on hand.

Mod Podge Gloss scissors wax paper white pumpkin chinoiserie cocktail napkins

You'll also need scissors to cut the napkins, and wax paper to set your wet pumpkins on to dry. So are you ready? Let's go!

How To Make Chinoiserie Pumpkins


white painted ceramic pumpkins gold stems

1. If necessary, paint your pumpkins white in order to create a neutral base to work on.

 three layers chinoiserie cocktail napkin

2. Your paper napkin will most likely have three layers to it -- you only need two. Here you can see the first of the bottom two layers pulled back.

 layered napkin

And here you can see both the first and second bottom layers pulled back. Many tutorials I've read say you should remove both underlying white layers before beginning. I take issue with that advice. If you actually pull back both white layers, you are left with one seriously thin layer to work with. 

No one seems to mention that you have to have an incredibly light hand while doing this or risk ripping the whole thing apart. It is merely tissue paper, after all. So my sincere advice: only remove one white layer -- the outermost layer.   

 cut napkin strips

3. Once the outer white layer has been removed, cut your napkin into strips -- whatever length works for your pumpkins. It will depend on the shape and size of the pumpkins you're working with. I had small pumpkins, so I cut small strips. (You can also cut the napkin into other shapes -- whatever works for your underlying base object and pattern on your napkin, whether it be for a pumpkin project or any other project.)       

decoupage chinoiserie pumpkin in process

4. I placed my strips on a paper plate, one at a time, and brushed them with Mod Podge on their underside. Then I brushed Mod Podge onto the pumpkin itself before placing and securing the strip to the pumpkin, working my way all the way around the pumpkin. 

Before starting with another strip, I made sure to paint some Mod Podge along the new paper "seams" I had just created as a way to add a bit more security to the strip's placement. 


DIY Decoupage Chinoiserie Pumpkin Tips

  • I didn't worry about decoupaging the entire bottom of the pumpkins because I knew the bottoms were never going to see the light of day. Since the bottoms were totally flat, I knew I wouldn't be displaying them in any other position than upright. However, if your pumpkins are the type you might place in a pile in a basket or similar container, I think you should be sure to fully cover the bottom of your pumpkins with napkin strips.  
  • You are basically working with wet tissue paper! If you manhandle it too much It. Will. Rip. But never fear -- you can always just grab another piece of napkin and start again. There's basically no wrong way to do this. If something rips, just take a deep breath and make it a do-over!
  • In the past I've used foam brushes for my decoupage projects, but I really loved using the flat-edged paintbrush for this project. The paint brush was much easier to control and I think it applies the Mod Podge more consistently. I also think it was easier on the napkin, helping me to avoid ripping it.
  • Some people go over the whole thing with Mod Podge after the fact. I didn't feel that was necessary here. It's up to you. There's actually a spray for that:  Mod Podge Ultra Gloss Spray On Glue And Sealer. I was unable to find a spray like this in any other finish than gloss.  
pumpkin patch decor

Once they were finished I couldn't wait to get to decorating!

romantic chinoiserie pumpkins silver cake stand pumpkin patch pillow

I think when they're placed all together like this they create a strong visual effect. The gold stems and silver cake stand add a glam vibe to this vignette.

eight pumpkins tarnished cake stand

But I also like how they look when mixed in with other types of pumpkins. (Believe it or not, the three ceramic pumpkins are from Dollar Tree. I found a similar blue ceramic pumpkin and white ceramic pumpkin on Amazon.) Mixing textures like this also creates great visual effect.

DIY chinoiserie pumpkins gold stem

More glam.

mix and match faux pumpkins decor

baby blue white chinoiserie decoupage pumpkins

living room fireplace mantel fall decor pumpkins

cathedral arch farmhouse wood bead garland faux blue pumpkins mantel decor

I finally decided to leave them here, on the living room mantel, flanked by -- you guessed it --- more pumpkins! The two large blue faux pumpkins were from Wal-Mart last year. I found a similar white faux pumpkin on Amazon.

fall autumn mantel decor pumpkins farmhouse bead garland

The wood bead garland lends a real farmhouse feel to the mantel vignette.

cathedral arch farmhouse wood bead garland faux blue pumpkins mantel decor

Overall I was thrilled with how my DIY chinoiserie pumpkins turned out. So much so that I know I'll be using them as fall decor for years to come. I even have two other DIY chinoiserie decoupage projects planned, so stay tuned for those!

Well, that's it until next time, friends! 
I hope you enjoyed reading about 
How To Make Chinoiserie 
Pumpkins DIY Decoupage
and that I've inspired you in some way.
Don't Forget To Pin It!

blue white pumpkins gold stem

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Leave a Comment!


Awesome idea !
Thank you for sharing the tutorial. They look amazing too !
Enjoy your weekend.

Junkchiccottage said...

These are so pretty. Thanks for the idea and directions. Have a great day. xoxo Kris

The Crowned Goat said...

Pinning these right now, Kathleen, they're amazing. My Mom collects a lot of blue and white pieces too so I'm going to forward this post to her. She's gonna be bananas! Hugs, CoCo

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I'm inspired to give this a try and have pinned to one of my Pinterest boards. So happy to have discovered your blog...thank you for the inspiration.

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