Inspired by traditional decorative arts, these elaborate blue-and-white patterns are surprisingly easy to recreate.

By Jessica Bennett
September 10, 2020
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This year, trade grinning orange jack-o'-lanterns for pumpkin decor that nods to the past. Showcasing elaborate designs inspired by traditional decorative arts, chinoiserie pumpkins are the latest fall trend that puts a new twist on tradition. Whether painted or outfitted with patterned fabric, these beautiful blue-and-white pumpkins add an unexpected accent to your fall front porch or mantel display.

Carson Downing

Derived from the French word for Chinese, the term chinoiserie (pronounced 'sheen-wah-zuh-ree') refers to the western European interpretation of traditional Chinese motifs and techniques. Popularized in the 17th century, the style encompassed furniture, wallcoverings, fabrics, and pottery. Porcelain and ceramic designs often featured intricate blue-and-white patterns depicting natural elements, pagodas, and scenes of leisure. Now, the classic Chinese-inspired style has made its way into pumpkin decorating, too.

Faux pumpkins decorated in chinoiserie designs are now widely available on sites like Etsy, or you can create your own using paint or decoupaged fabric. For both methods, it's best to start with a white base to reflect the traditional colors of chinoiserie pottery. You can use real pumpkins from your local pumpkin patch, or choose faux ones for a fall decoration you can use for years to come.

How to Paint a Chinoiserie Pumpkin

If you're feeling creative and want to hop on the DIY train, follow these steps to create a custom design.

  1. To begin, select a white pumpkin ($5, Michaels) or paint your pumpkin with a chalk-finish paint (spray paint and acrylic paint will work, too).
  2. Using a small round paintbrush, apply cobalt blue paint in curving flowery designs.
  3. Not confident in your freehand paint skills? Cut foam into leaf and flower shapes, then dip them into the blue paint to use as stamps.

How to Decoupage a Chinoiserie Pumpkin

Patterned fabric offers a shortcut to creating beautiful chinoiserie pumpkins.

  1. Purchase chinoiserie-inspired fabric from a crafts store, then cut out designs in various shapes from the fabric.
  2. Apply decoupage medium ($6, Michaels) to the back of the pieces and adhere them to the pumpkin's surface, arranging them in a pleasing pattern.
  3. Lightly coat the pumpkin with another layer of decoupage medium to seal the chinoiserie design.

This simple pumpkin decorating idea reimagines classic designs in a fresh way. Fall decor has never looked so sophisticated!

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