Earlier this week, when I shared our fall mantle with you, I promised a tutorial on the gold pumpkins that I used. To be honest, I feel a little silly even calling this a tutorial – I am pretty confident that y’all can figure out how to get the look without my help! Still, I’m not about to go back on my word, so here’s a quick rundown on what I did to turn plain-jane foam pumpkins into these golden beauties!
I know, I know…gold is everywhere. It seems everywhere I look – in stores, online, on Pinterest, etc. gold is going strong as the metallic du jour. Honestly though, I’m not complaining – I have jumped wholeheartedly on that bandwagon. As much as I love stainless and silver, nothing warms up a space quite like a touch of gold. Plus, it goes so well with the colors of the season. From russet, to crimson, to goldenrod, to chocolate – gold sets them off in such perfect harmony.
So for my mantle this fall, I decided the only thing better than pumpkins would be GOLD pumpkins. Well, sort of – I didn’t use real gold (on a budget over here, remember?), but I did use the next best thing – liquid leaf. As for the pumpkins, I got them at Target after Halloween when everything was marked down 70%. You can also buy them at craft stores, Big Lots, Dollar tree. or through the affiliate link above.
Now as an official fangirl of everything golden, I have alot of products in my arsenal that can give something the Midas touch. Someday, I’ll do a big, fat, comparison post of them all so you can see the differences. I love my gold spray paint and my Rub ‘n Buff, but when I want something to really shine, I turn to liquid leaf (similar, in classic gold). Yes, it’s smelly (it’s oil-based). Yes, it’s expensive compared to, say, gold craft paint. But the shine – oh baby…the only thing that compares (other than the real deal, of course) is gold leaf sheets, which make such a mess that I only use them when I absolutely must.
Liquid leaf comes in a bunch of colors, from silver to copper, but for this project I used the color “brass.” It’s gold without being too orange – it has just enough green in it to avoid looking like pyrite. While this product can be used anywhere you would use normal paint, I find it is shiniest and most metallic when used on smooth, non-porous surfaces, like polymer clay or plastic. In this case, I was painting over some dense foam pumpkins that had been sealed, so the surface was perfect for liquid leaf. I just used a craft brush to paint a coat of liquid leaf over the pumpkin – no primer. On most of them, I found I only needed one coat, as the product if very opaque and a little goes a long way. Make sure you shake the paint well though – the metallic flakes in it tend to settle to the bottom, so if you don’t shake it it will come out streaky and transparent. Here’s what my ugly duckling pumpkins pretty much looked like before:
And with one coat of liquid leaf:
I did find that the liquid leaf picked up some warmth from the base color of the pumpkins. So, the pumpkins that started out white were more of a true brass tone, while the orange pumpkins (like the one in the picture above) took on a warmer, golden hue.
After I got everything painted, I could have easily called it a day – they were beautiful just as they were. But if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I have a bit of a hard time leaving well enough alone. So, to add some additional color variation and depth, I went back in with some of Viva’s Inka-Gold in “old silver” and rubbed it into the high points of the pumpkin.
What is Inka-Gold, you might ask? Well, if you’re familiar with Rub ‘n Buff, it’s very similar. Basically, it’s pigment suspended in a soft, waxy base that you can rub onto surfaces to deposit color. Once it has set, you can buff it with a cloth, which shines up the wax and makes the pigment more brilliant. Though I love my liquid leaf, it can be a bit shiny for my tastes. By adding the Inka-gold over the top, it softens down that shininess so it’s more of a satin/glowy finish. Depending on what color you use, it will also change the hue of the paint underneath. Here is a comparison shot so you can see what I mean:
It’s hard to see in the photograph, but the pumpkin on the right is significantly less shiny than the one on the left – it’s still metallic and reflective, but softer. One other big advantage of Inka-Gold over Rub ‘n Buff is that it is water-based, which means you can thin it with water to make it more of a paint consistency, and it cleans up super easily from both your hands and your project with regular soap and water. If you over apply, all it takes to remove it is a damp cloth! Rub n Buff is great, but it is hard to wash off and it is oil-based which means cleaning up with mineral spirits.
Here’s another shot of the completed pumpkin closer up so you can see the color and sheen variation:
And one of them on our mantle, so you can see them in context:
I didn’t seal these, but if you wanted to give them a quick shot of clear gloss I am sure you could . I was a little nervous that the aerosol would melt the styrofoam pumpkins though, so I decided not to risk it.
So, to sum up:
1) Get foam pumpkins
2) Paint foam pumpkins with liquid leaf of choice
3) Optionally, apply Inka-Gold or Rub ‘n Buff to add dimension
4) Do a happy dance – your pumpkins are done!
Let me know if you try it, and feel free as always to leave comments or hit me up on social media – I’m on instagram, twitter, and facebook!
Till next time,