Ditch the neighborhood carving contest. This year, make your pumpkins stand out by topping them with shiny metal leaf.

By Hannah Bruneman

Carving a pumpkin is a lot of work, between the tracing, cleanup, and required upper-body strength. And all that work for a pumpkin that is going to rot in a few days! This year, extend the life of your pumpkin by decorating it with gold leaf. This easy no-carve pumpkin technique will leave your pumpkins dripping in gold. The look will last way past Halloween and fit right in with your other fall decor. Save your carving skills for the turkey, and follow our easy gold-leafing instructions below.

Related: Want More No-Carve Pumpkins? Try These Easy Painted Pumpkins

  • Working time 1 hr
  • Start to finish 2 hrs
  • Difficulty Easy
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What you need

Tools
Materials
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How to do it

Step 1

Apply Adhesive

Before you begin, wipe away any dirt or smudges from your pumpkin. Dip the tip of a 1-inch flat paintbrush in metal leaf adhesive and brush onto the top of your pumpkin, working from the stem across the top and slightly down each segment of the pumpkin. Drag the brush down the side a little so the adhesive has a ragged, uneven edge. Allow adhesive to dry thoroughly. It will be tacky when dry.

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Step 2

Position Gold Leaf

Carefully lay a piece of gold metal leaf on top of the pumpkin. Work very gently with the gold leaf as it breaks easily, and make sure your hands are clean of any adhesive to prevent it from sticking to your fingers. You may need to layer sheets of gold leaf to cover the entire area in which the adhesive was applied. 

Step 3

Brush and Burnish

Use a soft, dry brush to press the gold leaf into the adhesive and burnish it. The gold leaf will flake off wherever there is not adhesive. You can also use the palm of your hand to burnish the gold leaf. If you accidentally make a hole in the gold leaf while brushing, simply repeat step two by layering on a small piece of gold leaf.

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