How to Make Easy Pumpkin Art

If you have a tradition of picking out a pumpkin each October from a pumpkin patch and carving it into a jack o’ lantern, then this book and art project duo is for you and your family! Check out this MUST HAVE book for your fall or Halloween celebrations…


Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht got my attention immediately with its sparkly cover. The illustrations are incredibly engaging with gorgeous implied textures and vibrant colors for the pumpkins. I have a feeling this won’t be our only art project inspired by this beauty. It feels magical as you read through the pages, building up to that moment when you light the candle transforming your pumpkin into a glowing jack o’ lantern!


  • 12″ x 18″ purple paper made into a large symmetrical pumpkin (see photo below)
  • Scraps of yellow paper cut into 2 eyes, 1 nose & a mouth for the pumpkin
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Red & yellow tempera paint
  • Paper plate
  • Sponge roller or regular kitchen sponge
  • 12″ x 18″ background paper (I used plain yellow and my daughter used peach with splatter paint of white & turquoise tempera watered down)

Once you have all of these prepped, this project comes together so FAST. Don’t let the painting scare you. Just have newspaper or a large mat to protect whatever surface you’re working on and the mess is minimal. Trust me, we made this art on my Pier 1 kitchen table 🙂


  1. Glue eyes, nose and mouth to pumpkin.
  2. Squirt a little bit of red paint and a lot of yellow paint onto the paper plate. (Refer to video at the bottom of this post)
  3. Use the roller to paint over the whole pumpkin, mixing the yellow and red as you go to make orange. LESS IS MORE to make cool textures! This part should only take a minute or two.
  4. Set aside to dry.
  5. Once dry, use a yellow crayon to color over the dried paint for the eyes, nose and mouth.
  6. Glue pumpkin to background.
I had the pumpkin made ahead of time for my 4 year old. But if you want to practice cutting, this is simple enough to do together! If working with a group, I’d just have this precut for Pre-K kiddos.
*We used liquid white glue instead of glue sticks to make sure the shapes stay in place during the painting over them.
It definitely makes a difference with what type of yellow paint you use for mixing here on the purple background. Crayola liquid temperas always serve us well. Lesser quality tempera paints won’t pop as much against the purple because they are more watery. It will look a little dark when you finish, but it lightens as it dries, plus going over with the yellow crayon makes it pop too.
LOVE the textures you get with this!

Happy pumpkin picking!


We turned the leftover plate palettes into pumpkins by spreading the yellow and red all around and adding a stem, leaf and face. My two year old got involved in the fun on this one!

If you enjoyed this book and/or story time art, please tag us on Instagram: @picturebooksandpeonies or #picturebooksandpeonies or leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

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  1. Fabulous Website and ideas. As an Aunt I like to do art projects when I see my grand nieces and nephews. I am a retired art teacher with a large extended family. Happy to see such creativity. I’ll share your site.

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