I have to confess; I have been a little obsessed with blue and white chinoiserie lately. It is also pumpkin season, so what could be better this week than making chinoiserie pumpkins? (Maybe getting started on painting my kitchen cabinets but let’s not go there!)
In The story of my grandmother’s upholstery, I spoke about grandmillennial style and how much I love it (fringe, trim, chinoiserie, drapery, skirts on furniture, slipcovers, and wallpaper, remember?)
What is chinoiserie?
According to Google, it is the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the 18th century.
In other words, like china, but not china. Also, not to be confused with the original blue and white ceramics from Delft in The Netherlands. When I was little, my mother had an obsession with original “delft,” as it was called. She had an extensive collection!
I digress. You are here to read about the DIY chinoiserie pumpkins I made.
What you will need
Faux pumpkins with the stems removed. You need to twist and turn a bit to get them out.
White acrylic paint if your pumpkins are not already pure white.
Paper napkins with a blue and white pattern
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How to make your chinoiserie pumpkins
If your pumpkins are not perfectly white, paint them with white acrylic paint. Any other color will show through your decoupaged napkins.
Pull the layers of your paper napkins apart. You only want to use the top printed layer. The second and third white layers will add unnecessary bulk.
I cut out some of the patterns for the smaller pumpkins to avoid too much overlapping and big bulges of paper. Some people would say not to mind that, but it bothers me.
Let me just add, decoupage has never been a favorite of mine! As the paper gets wet with Mod Podge and shrivels up, my OCD takes over wants to get everything smoothed out.
This time I prepared myself mentally for the process!
Paint Mod Podge all over one side of your pumpkin before laying down your napkin.
Lightly shape the paper around the curves of the pumpkin with your palms. Laying it flat, just touching the highest parts, will cause it to tear as you work it into the lower areas.
Paint more Mod Podge over your napkin layer and use your brush to push it into all the grooves.
Wait for one side to dry before starting the other side. If your fingers get sticky from touching wet Mod Podge, you will rip holes in your wet paper and ruin your beautiful pattern.
I was surprised to find out that the pumpkins with more curves were easier to decoupage! I honestly thought the smoother ones would be easier.
Once the whole surface of your pumpkin is covered and dry, paint at least one more thick layer of Mod Podge over everything.
Glam up your pumpkin stems
To give your pumpkins a glamorous look, you can gold leaf the stems.
In all honesty, I have gold leafed a few things in my life, but these stems gave me a run for my money. It just did not want to stick to the plastic stems!
I am going to say these stems are covered in gold leaf because they are, but most of what you see is gold acrylic painted I used to touch up in between and over the gold leaf.
Despite the stems not fully cooperating, I am super happy with the outcome!
Aren’t they just the cutest pumpkins you have ever seen??
The pattern might be a bit too fine to match the first chinoiserie decor I recently bought perfectly, but I’m still happy with the look.
I decoupaged four pumpkins in total, and I must admit, it was fun! Not as frustrating as I remember this craft to be at all! I might just do it again when it’s time for Christmas projects.
Blue has never really been my color, but I must admit that it is rapidly growing on me. Am I finally
grown up mature? Who knows…
Want to see another DIY chinoiserie project? Have a look at this amazing lamp makeover.
If you are still reading, I appreciate you! And if you are royally sick of the word chinoiserie by now, I totally get it! I won’t mention it again soon, I promise.