It's all fun and games when you carve the first pumpkin, but once you get to the 2nd or 3rd one, it's not so fun anymore! After "we" (I mean, *I* did basically all of it) carved pumpkins with the kids last year, I did not feel like carving one for myself! Instead of carving, I added a vinyl decal to it, and voila: easy and cute pumpkin that lasted longer than the carved ones!
I wasn't sure how the vinyl would hold up in the sun and then the cold temps, but it lasted all season incredibly well! Make your fall porch decor a little more fun by adding a vinyl decal. Want a cute design or saying that's just too complicated to carve? Put a decal on!
I am making and selling a variety of vinyl decals for pumpkins in my Etsy shop. Don't see what you want? Send me a message!
There are a couple tricks to make sure that the decal adheres well to the pumpkin. Below is a video with instructions and also written step by step instructions if you'd rather read.
How To Apply a Vinyl Decal to a Pumpkin
1. Bring the pumpkin inside and allow it to reach room temperature. If it's too cold, the vinyl will not adhere nicely.
2. Wipe off the pumpkin with either water or rubbing alcohol, making sure to clean the grooves as well. Allow it to dry completely.
3. Find the flattest spot for the decal. Do not peel off the backing yet. If your pumpkin is pretty curved, you may need to make a couple of cuts to allow it to curve to the pumpkin and lay flat as you are applying it. Be sure not to cut through the vinyl lettering itself; only the cut clear part.
4. Peel the backing off of the back of the decal. What is left is the decal (backwards) on the sticky transfer tape. Peel at a 45 degree angle, holding the backing close to the decal. As you peel, make sure the design is completely stuck to the transfer tape. If any parts are coming up, put the backing down and go over that section with your credit card or scraper tool. Once it's fully removed, you can discard the backing.
5. Place the decal on the pumpkin with only the center of the design touching the pumpkin. Using your finger, press the vinyl down along the center of the design only. Once you have it on the pumpkin, you may see another spot that could benefit from a small cut to help it lay flat as it will curve over the pumpkin. You can make further cuts here before you begin burnishing the vinyl onto the pumpkin.
6. Using your credit card or scraper tool, you can begin burnishing the design onto the pumpkin, starting from the middle and working your way out to one side. Make sure you press the vinyl into all of the grooves of the pumpkin and focus on any thin pieces.
As you are doing this, you may see another spot that needs a small cut to help it lay flat. Once one side is adhered, you can then work from the middle out to the other side of the design. During this step, it doesn't matter if the whole transfer tape (the clear part) is flat against the pumpkin; you just want the vinyl to be flat. If the transfer tape between the letters is bubbled, it will not affect the outcome.
7. Begin peeling the transfer tape off of the vinyl, at a 45 degree angle, keeping the tape close to the surface of the pumpkin. If any of the vinyl starts to lift with the transfer tape, place it back on the pumpkin and burnish it again with your tool. If the transfer tape rips as you peel, that's fine. You just don't want the vinyl to rip as it will damage the end result.
Work slowly and carefully on this step to be sure the vinyl has adhered to the pumpkin.
And here is the finished product!
I use permanent vinyl so it holds up well outdoors in the elements. If you recycle your pumpkins at the end of the season, by giving them to a local farmer to be used as food for their animals, or by putting them in your own compost, either remove or cut out the part with the vinyl on it.
This vinyl also works well on faux pumpkins (like these) and then you can reuse from year to year!