Skip the carving this Halloween and make your own distressed pumpkins with this unique painting technique.

By Hannah Bruneman
October 23, 2018

Carved pumpkins aren't for everyone. Some people want to avoid the mess, while others prefer no-carve pumpkins that complement their elegant fall decor. If you'd rather keep the carving knife in the drawer this year, consider this cool crackle paint technique. Three layers—a base coat, crackle medium, and a top coat—form the pumpkin's DIY finish, and the result is a distressed texture perfect for farmhouse fall displays.

  • Working time 1 hr
  • Start to finish 4 hrs
  • Difficulty Easy
  • Involves Painting

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

Step 1

Paint Base Color

Before you apply the crackle medium, paint the pumpkin with your base color and let dry. This color will show through the cracks in the finished project. We went with a shimmery gold. You could also skip this step if you want to showcase the pumpkin's natural color.

Step 2

Apply Crackle Medium

Once dry, apply a layer of clear crackle medium over the entire pumpkin. We used a crackle medium designed to be paired with chalk paint. When painted over, this medium creates a distressed, crackle effect. Let dry thoroughly.

Step 3

Paint Top Coat

Apply your second paint color over the crackle medium using even strokes. Apply paint using the fewest brushstrokes possible to cover the pumpkin. Brushing too much will affect the medium's ability to crackle. Let dry completely before handling. 

Editor's Tip: Follow the manufacturer's directions for the brand of paint and medium used. Do not apply the top coat in humid conditions.


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