On the hunt for an easy, low-cost fall craft? I have an inexpensive fall decorating idea you can do in no time with knock-out results.
I made pumpkin planters for my front door décor that came out so glam I used them as vases INSIDE my home. Now the poor mums inside the vases have subsequently died, but that’s neither here nor there. This was the kind of DIY you think is so easy that you don’t need to write a tutorial on, but I added an extra step you’ve got to try.
Sophisticated décor on the cheap? Yes please!
A few pointers on DIY room decor for fall
I’ve never been a huge fall decorator, but for whatever reason, the pumpkin bug bit me this year and I wanted all.the.pumpkins. But I don’t have all.the.cash. So I tried to come up with how to use Dollar Tree pumpkins in as many places as I can.
In most decorating it’s better to buy one big thing than a lot of small things. Large décor pieces make a greater visual impact than a bunch of tiny things. So, save your pennies to invest in larger items whenever you can instead of buying little things here and there.
Now in the case of pumpkins, I love a lot of little ones and some BIG ones. I picked up several small ones at Target, Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree. I left the Target ones as is. They are incredibly pretty. But those plastic and foam pumpkins left much to be desired. I found large glass pumpkins to be a bit out of my price range to get as many as I wanted.
An accidental DIY glam vase
And I have to be upfront. I’m more of a problem solver than a traditional crafter. I accidentally came up with this cheap pumpkin hack but let’s pretend like I’m genius. Mmm-kay?
The plan was to paint the pumpkins with craft paint and spray paint, but I HATE the way you can see the lines underneath Styrofoam pumpkins even after painting. That defeats the whole idea of making a cute craft to me. The point of painting is to make it look good without letting the world know you painted it. So, I had the genius idea of filling the lines with spackle, sanding and then painting.
And I did just that EXCEPT the results were MUCH better than I anticipated. Instead of just covering the lines, the painted spackle looked AMAZING. Like really good.
This made me set my affections on any cheap pumpkin I could get my hands-on including Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
How to make a glam planter from cheap plastic pumpkins
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you click on a link and make a purchase I earn a small commission to help me run this site at no cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
Supplies for your glam painted vase
- Plastic pumpkin (the ones kids use to trick or treat) and/or styrofoam ones
- All-purpose wall spackle (NOT the super lightweight kind, the traditional kind that requires sanding. This is very important)
- Metallic spray paint (I like this one, but umm I bought it in the store)
- Low grit sandpaper or sanding block.
- Wire Cutters or heavy-duty scissors
Directions for Making over your Dollar Tree Styrofoam and Plastic Pumpkins
This is one of the easiest fall crafts EVAH!
Remove the handle from your pumpkin
Use your wire cutters to snip the handle off the plastic pumpkin. Cut from the inside
Fill in the Jack-o-lantern face
I don’t do Halloween, so I wanted to get rid of the jack-o-lantern face. Apply a thin layer of spackle to fill the mouth and eyes. I used a small index card to apply it and smooth it out. Note: it’s best to do two thin layers versus one thick layer. The thick layer will crack. Experience is a good teacher!
Cover the plastic pumpkin with spackle
Using gloved hands, apply a THIN layer of spackle to your pumpkin. Use smooth even strokes. You don’t need a lot. Use just enough to cover the pumpkin. The more you glop on, the longer dry time and the potential for cracking. Allow the spackle to dry.
GENTLY sand the pumpkin.
And I mean gently. You just want to smooth it out a bit. Be careful not to remove too much of that spackle. Remember paint does not hide texture so whatever texture you see is what will show up even after you paint it. Imperfections are a good thing for this type of project, you just don’t want lots of mounds and gouges in your finished project. The pumpkin on the left is sanded. The one on the right is unsanded.
Paint your piece
Apply a thin layer of spray paint to your pumpkin. Let it dry and repeat. I had to flip mine over to ensure I got the top and the bottom. I like to use these paint sprayer guards whenever I spray paint. They force the paint in one direction for more even coats and less paint overspray. (translate more paint on your project not wasted in the air.) Allow the paint to fully dry.
Fill and style your fab fall vase
Because these are plastic, add water to your new vase and fill with a beautiful fall floral arrangement or NOT. I used faux here, but I plan to use real flowers for my Thanksgiving centerpiece.
A word about using these vases outdoors
Now, after the fact, I realized this DIY plastic pumpkin planter should NOT be used outside as the spackle is water soluble. The new lightweight stuff could work, BUT it doesn’t sand very well and you’d have to be pretty much perfect in applying it. Perfection is not my forte.
If you wanted to use the planters for your outdoor fall décor, I would fill in the eyes and mouth with the lightweight stuff I told you not to use originally, smooth it out as best you can, then just spray paint the entire pumpkin and turn the face towards the back of something. It still looks fantastic, just not a chic.
This is such a simple autumn craft to make. I mixed the plastic and Styrofoam pumpkins together with a few other painted Dollar Tree pumpkins along with store-bought décor. This is one of my favorite things to do with DIY room décor. Read more tips here on how to decorate for fall on a budget.
And because this is fall décor for the entire season, you can wait until after Halloween is over to load up on clearance plastic jack-o-lanterns to use for your Thanksgiving tablescape.
You have got to try this. It’s a fast, super easy way to add fall to your home.
Want more decorating help? Download your free guide: Free Ways to Decorate Your Home: How to Design When you Don’t Even Have a Dime.