"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fall Decorating Money Saving Ideas

Since last Halloween, my daughter Mary, has been asking if we could have a party this year. After researching ideas, I thought it would be more fun to have a "Fall Harvest Moon Party." Instead of decorating with spooky items, I prefer more of a country feel with pumpkins, haystacks, garlands made of leaves, and anything earthy.

It's so much fun to make my own decorations, but supplies can add up. Here's one way I saved a good $30 using palm-sized, Dollar Store pumpkins.

After checking out both AC Moore and Michaels, I found that the Fall decorations are pretty expensive. I'm sure once it gets closer to Halloween, there will be major sales, but I'm a Mom who likes to plan and make things ahead.

The pumpkins at Michaels had the earthy feel I was going for, but at $7.00-$8.00 each, I needed to rethink my game-plan. Why not try the Dollar Store? Sure enough, I found the pumpkins (above) and decided to do a wee bit of experimenting.

After priming the pumpkins with 3 coats of Gesso (darn little buggers!), I then painted them using different shades of orange, yellow, brown, and cream.

Next, I applied antiquing gel for an aged appearance. Although I usually prefer a neutral sheen to my pieces, I gave these pumpkins a high gloss finish.

Still experimenting, I popped out the plastic stems and inserted real twigs. They fit nice and snug without needing glue. As a finishing touch, I attached Fall leaves taken from a Dollar Store garland, near the base of the stem.

Seven pumpkins cost me less than $10, saving me at least $30 I would have otherwise spent at Michaels. Now that I know how easy they are to touch-up, I may need to get some more! The beauty about decorating for the Harvest is that it lasts all season.

Just thought I'd pass on this idea. There are ways to fight the economy and still look good!


  1. Jill these are adorable. Aged to perfection I say!

  2. Wow these turned out awesome my friend!!

  3. What a wonderful solution and a fantastic outcome! Great!

  4. One of the biggest reasons I love you is that you are a smarty pants!

  5. wow, i love how these turned out. and you are right, michaels is a bit high.
    i wonder if i can do the same thing . . .
    hope you are back soon with more fall decorating and crafting goodness
    ♥ maureen

  6. Hi there, I found you on pinterest searching for "painting dollar store pumpkins". Although there were many on how to paint a pumpkin to look like something else, yours was the first to make them look more real! Thank you!! I like my pumpkins to look like, well, pumpkins! I also like to keep costs waaay down! Just wondering about the "gesso"? I was hoping to use a plastic primer and craft paint. Do you think that would accomplish the same thing?
    Thank you!