How to Decorate a Fake Pumpkin Using a Paper Napkin

How to decorate a fake pumpkin using a colorful pattern paper napkin. 

Yeah!  The first day of Autumn – my favorite time of year. To help celebrate its arrival I decorated one of the many pumpkins I bought at a nearby farm with a few paper napkins that were leftover from the pack I used for one of the foam monograms I made for a wreath that I posted about earlier in the week.

I love pumpkins just the way they are – they are one of my favorite things.  When I was cleaning up after doing the foam monograms I still had a few of the orange and white napkins left and decided to see how the design would look on a pumpkin.  I experimented and finally came up with the following method to give the pumpkin some modern style.


Create a napkin covered pumpkin. It was very easy to do.  Now that I like it so much I should have covered a fake pumpkin so it would last a few years.  Covering a real one will be one season only décor.


How to Decorate a Fake Pumpkin Using a Paper Napkin

supplies needed:

  • Pumpkin
  • Paper napkins – I needed 3 to cover my pumpkin which is about 8″ x 8″ stem included.
  • Pipe cleaners in a color to coordinate with your napkin
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Spray glue
  • Scissors
  • Optional: white paint if your napkin pattern has white in the design. Since the napkin is very thin, the orange color of the pumpkin will fade out the white on the design when applied over the orange color of the pumpkin. By painting the pumpkin white first, the white will stay true white. You could also just buy a white pumpkin.
  1. Paint pumpkin white. I used spray paint, but any white paint will work. Let dry.

spray paint pumpkin

2. Remove the 2-ply backing on the napkins. Cut as shown.


3. Spray the back of the cut napkins with a light coat of spray glue. Let it get tacky – 2 minutes before applying to pumpkin.


4. To apply to pumpkin – Center the horizontal uncut section of the napkin on the center of the pumpkin and wrap around.


5.  Gently one by one bring all the strips up and smooth them out with your fingers.


6. Turn the pumpkin on its side to cover the bottom half. If any of the strips stick to each other – gently separate them. If one rips – it is okay – just line it up and place on pumpkin after all the other strips are smoothed on the pumpkin.


7. Repeat with another napkin until you have the pumpkin covered. If you have a small section that is still uncovered there is no need to cut another napkin as in Step 2. Just cut one strip from the napkin and live it up with the design and attach with glue. Trim excess napkin on bottom of pumpkin and smooth with your fingers.


8. Carefully trim the excess napkin around the stem.


9. Wrap a pipe tightly around stem. Use hot glue to attach. Where one ends – start another until the stem is covered.


Since this is a real pumpkin, I did not seal it to protect the napkin. If using a fake pumpkin – to prolong it for many years – seal it with a water based non-yellowing spray sealer.


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  1. AH – I am totally in love with these and have been searching for something similar everywhere to make my own! I tried Michael’s, but no luck. Any suggestions? I REALLY love these!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jodi – I have been on vacation. Sorry I did not get back to you sooner. Thanks for the feature.

  2. Beth Coburn says:

    Came across your site and LOVE everything you do!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Beth for taking the time to tell me. I truly appreciate it!

  3. Laura @ Finding Home says:

    Love this project and what a great tutorial – thanks for sharing!

  4. the cape on the corner says:

    oh my gosh, that’s amazing. because of the color of the napkin, it looks like you covered that pumpkin in lace!

  5. What a fantastic project! I love the idea of using the pipe cleaner around the stem.


  6. How cool! I love this. I’m thinking of using all fake pumpkins this season just so I can use them year after year. This has definately inspired me!

  7. Judy Clark says:

    Diane – What an ingenious idea! Thanks for the tutorial!


  8. Adorable! It turned out so cute.

  9. Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick says:

    Love this Diane! Such a cute idea!

    1. Thanks Sarah. I had a hard time at first covering the pumpkin since I love them so much in their natural state – but being that the napkin had orange in the design made it a bit easier to do :)

  10. Debbie Blair says:

    I love your cleverness. You always seem to come up with great ideas. You’ve made a follower out of me. Would you mind visiting my blog and let me know what you think of it? I am new a blogging, but I hope someday I can have a great blog like yours.

  11. Christie - Food Done Light says:

    What an inventive idea. Saw it on I heart Nap Time.

  12. Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke says:

    That is SUPER cute!!

  13. Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs says:

    This is cute :-)

  14. Stephanie@cre8tive says:

    Diane, I love the tip on not cutting the middle portion, you are so darn smart. I love this pumpkin, I am going to be on the look out for cool napkins now. Great idea.

    1. Hi Stephanie. Thanks. I have my years of working in display to thank for finding the best and fastest way to decorate things with fabric, paper, paint, etc. I worked with some pretty amazing, clever, and creative people and learned so much from working with them. I found the napkins in the clearance aisle at Michaels. I think they were 33 cents for the pack.

  15. Rose Myrtle says:

    Wow, what a craftastic idea! So cute!

  16. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I love this project. My list from all you do is getting rather long, but I am determined to do them somehow. I have my heart set on the 3 D Gallery Wall, Bathroom Redo, the Banquette & many more. I am so hoping to make this for a friend of mine. I already know I am not good at working with tissue paper, so wish me luck on this one. I need help with a brand name of a spray adhesive that is easy to work with but still inexpensive. Plus a brand of non yellowing spray sealer. Also, I know Dollar Tree does not carry the pipe cleaners… wish they did. I am going to go tomorrow to look for some artificial pumpkins and paper napkins and the rest to make this. Hope I can find everything and actually do it. lol

  17. So fresh and clever, I’m pinning this! I love that you used a real pumpkin because it’s unique, natural (I hate plastic) and next year you will be motivated to make a different one:)

  18. JaneEllen says:

    You have such talent, imagination and mostly patience, it seems. I have a feeling if I attempted that I’d be ripping napkins and glue everywhere, lol. Alot of patience to apply that napkin is not my strong point so I tend to avoid some projects and admire them on the blogs. What can I say.
    Do you find that the more ideas you get they keep multiplying as you make things, an idea begets an idea? It works that way for me. My husband says I’ve worn him out today just watching me make things. I finally called it a night maybe 15 minutes ago
    . I’ve been creating since I got up today between hanging laundry, folding, vacuuming, cleaning kitchen. As I was working I was thinking of alternative ways to do what I’d thought of. I’m having so darned much fun and have never been more creative thanks to you and so many other wonderful bloggers. Thank you, thank you.

  19. Laura@Ms Smartie Pants says:

    Diane, that is about as cute as can be, love the modern twist. I have used napkins for lots of projects thru the years, easy and inexpensive!

  20. Diane | An Extraordinary Day says:

    Diane…that is simply fabulous!!! How did you ever figure out to cut the napkin the way you did. That was genius! But…what takes all! The covered stem. Love. Love. Love it!!!

  21. Oh my word, this is too cute! You’re so creative. You must hear that a million times a day. ;)