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DIY Projects

6 DIY Pumpkin Decorating Ideas: Upcycling without a Fairy Godmother

Halloween may have left you with more pumpkins than you know what to do with, but the good news is that if they are still intact, they don't need to head to the garbage yet. Instead, upcycle them into Thanksgiving pumpkin decorations to create a festive home as you celebrate the rest of the fall season. Each of these DIY pumpkin decorating ideas uses many items you probably already have on hand or can pull out of storage and put to good use.

1. Metallic pumpkin Thanksgiving centerpieces
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Photo: Better Homes and Gardens
Even if you decorated your pumpkins for Halloween, you can reuse them for Thanksgiving by giving them a fresh coat of metallic spray paint. Work in a well-ventilated area over a tarp or other drop cloth and coat the pumpkins in at least one coat of silver or gold spray paint. For an extra sparkle, you can even use glitter paint. Gold pumpkins look rustic when paired with burlap or luxurious with reds and purples. Silver pumpkins can be paired with any color to create stunning Thanksgiving table decorations.

2. Decoupage leaf white pumpkins
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Photo: Midwest Living
If you only have orange pumpkins, or you already decorated them for Halloween, have no fear. Just paint the pumpkins white and you will have a clean slate to start with for this Thanksgiving decoration idea! Start by gathering some of your favorite fall leaves from your yard, choosing ones that are colored but not entirely dried yet. Set them between paper towels under a pile of books for a day or two to help press them. Then paint decoupage glue (or 3 parts white glue diluted with 1 part water) onto the leaves and stick them artfully to the pumpkins. Seal them in place with another layer of decoupage glue painted over the top. These Thanksgiving decorations look great on a table or sideboard, or you can put them out on your porch for some exterior decorations.

3. Pumpkin planters with succulents
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Photo: Luxe Happens
Bring life to your Thanksgiving decorations with succulents potted in real pumpkins. The pumpkins will only stay fresh for 4-7 days after cutting them open, so make sure to wait until the right time in the month to assemble these planters. When you're ready, cut the tops out of the pumpkins and scoop out the seeds, like you would before carving them. Then line each pumpkin with a plastic bag, fill the bag with potting soil, and trim off any excess bag. Nestle a variety of succulents in each pumpkin pot and tuck Spanish moss around them to give a more finished look. When the pumpkins reach the end of their life, you can transfer the succulent arrangements to other pots and keep them indoors through the winter.

4. Corn husk striped pumpkins
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Photo: Midwest Living
If you've made tamales recently, you probably have everything on hand to put together these rustic pumpkin decorations. If not, you might need to head to an ethnic grocery store to pick up a package of dried corn husks before getting started. Cut the corn husks into strips and dampen them slightly to help them mold to the shape of the pumpkin as you work. Hot glue one end of each strip to the top of the pumpkin, pointing out in different directions. Then flip the pumpkin over and work around it, pulling each husk to the bottom of the pumpkin and gluing it in place there as well. Trim any excess, and remember that the bottom doesn't need to look especially neat because it won't be visible when you display these Thanksgiving decorations.

5. Mini pumpkin place cards
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Photo: Midwest Living
Big pumpkins aren't the only ones that can be upcycled into Thanksgiving decorations. Gather up all your miniature pumpkins and put them to use as place cards to add to your Thanksgiving table decor. Don't worry if your mini pumpkins are different colors; it adds to the individuality and rustic feel. Write each guest's name on a leaf (real or cut from paper), punch a hole in it, and tie it to the pumpkin stem with raffia, twine, or ribbon.

6. Canning jar band pumpkin
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Photo: Pinterest user Patience West
Canning jar lids and bands are actually only supposed to be used once. After that, they can warp and not seal properly. Rather than tossing your bands, upcycle them into a super cute pumpkin decoration. This is one you can even put into your self-storage unit and use again next year. Just spray paint 20 bands orange on all sides, allow them to dry, and stack them so they all face the same way. Tie them tightly together in one place with string or yarn and fan them out to make a pumpkin shape. Finish the DIY Thanksgiving decoration with cinnamon sticks to make a fragrant stem.

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