gilded mini-pumpkins diy


gilded mini-pumpkins centerpiece diy from {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

I’ve always been drawn to tiny things. Pumpkins are no exception. I love the itty bitty jack-be-little pumpkins. I make a mean pumpkin dessert out of them! The boys have been asking for them again this year. I’ll have to share the recipe when I bake up my next batch.

We found these gorgeous white mini pumpkins at Trader Joe’s. When I spied them, I knew I would have to do something fun! I took my time and picked out my favorites. My absolute favorite of the bunch had a curly stem on it. I don’t know why, but I just fell in love with it. I guess we all need a little curly stem now and then.

5-little-pumpkins - gilded mini pumpkins diy from {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

So I dug through my newly organized “art closet”.  I found all sorts of great gilding implements!  My first grab was a gold sharpie, then I found my 18 kt gold leaf pen and some old Martha Stewart gold paint.  I wanted to find out which I preferred, so I decided to test different pumpkins each with a different design & a different gilding method.

Gilded Mini Pumpkins DIY - supply list from {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

I first tried my hand at a herringbone pumpkin.  It turned out a little wonky, but definitely worthy of sitting in my table-top arrangement.  I used the regular gold Sharpie pen, but I have to say that the regular Sharpie ended up being my least favorite tool in this experiment.  Which I find crazy because I’m a complete Sharpie hoarder – that must stem from my days as a teacher!  I have probably somewhere along the lines of 200 sharpies in all different colors here.  I swear I collect them like some people collect stamps or coins!

Before you start with your pumpkin, I learned the hard way – you MUST wash your pumpkin and dry him thoroughly before starting any of these projects.  The pumpkins have a natural film of sorts on them that seems to completely reject ink and paint!  So please, don’t skip this step or you will end up starting over like I did!

The first thing I did was use the Sharpie to follow the natural lines of the pumpkin.  As you can see, I really wasn’t very precise.

Herringbone Gilded Mini-Pumpkin - step 1  |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

The next part was fun.  I drew chevron lines around the pumpkin.  I found as I went through it that the deeper I made the angles, the nicer it looked.  I just matched up the angles at the natural pumpkin lines.  This step was a bit therapeutic and fun.  Again, I wasn’t very precise.  I love that it turned out looking like spiderwebs!  You could actually stop at this point if you’d like a golden spiderweb pumpkin.  This would be cute with a little plastic spider on it.

Herringbone Gilded Mini-Pumpkin - step 2 ~ it also makes a great spiderweb pumpkin!  |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

Step #3 for your golden herringbone pumpkin is to fill in alternating chevrons around your pumpkin.  This started out pretty easy, but the Sharpie pen didn’t seem to “stick” to the pumpkin very well.  This is most likely because I forgot to wash this pumpkin at the beginning!  What I found was that I went around once, then went back after it was dry and did it one more time.  The Sharpie stuck better to itself, so it filled in a bit more.  The finishing touch was to color in the stem with the Sharpie.  However, this didn’t fill in as nicely as I would have liked.  I also found the golden Sharpie to be a bit dull.  But still – he turned out kind of cute.

Herringbone Gilded Mini-Pumpkin - step 3  |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

Next I decided to try the Sharpie brand oil based paint pen in gold.  At this point, I decided to keep with the gold theme & ditch the idea of using multi-metal finishes.  I tried my hand at a free-form chevron.  It’s not perfect, and it absolutely reminds me of Charlie Brown’s shirt – which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Charlie Brown Chevron Pumpkin in Gold DIY |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

I started out trying to make the chevrons go from one pumpkin line to the next, but then decided at the end that they needed to be closer together, so I did a couple half-way between, too.  Super simple.  I did like the Sharpie paint marker better than the regular marker.  It had much better coverage and was definitely brighter and shinier.

Charlie Brown Gilded Chevron Pumpkin |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

Now onto my FAVORITE pumpkin.  Dear 18 karat gold leafing pen, where have you been all of my life?  How did I not meet you until now?  This pen is definitely a bit steeper in price, but oh-so-worth-it.  Just gorgeous!

using an 18 karat gold leafing pen on your tiny pumpkin |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

I used the gorgeous leafing pen and just made super easy random dots around the pumpkin.  I then used the pen to paint the stem – my favorite part.  The leafing pen is divine!  Seriously gorgeous.  I love the shimmer and shine.  One word of caution – don’t use too much.  After having such issues with the Sharpie not covering, I started by applying a large amount of the paint pen – it runs!  Don’t do it.  It doesn’t need it.  Luckily it wipes off easily with a damp cloth while the paint is still fresh and wet.  I think it turned out amazingly!  I love it so much.  Just look at this gorgeously gilded stem?  It makes my heart {swoon}.

Gold polk-a-dot mini pumpkin with gold leafing pen  |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

I wanted to try another pumpkin with the amazing gold leafing pen.  I am a big fan of old boards, pallets and knot holes.  I thought I might try a pumpkin that looks like it has some “grain” to it.  I started each pattern with an oblong blog that I filled in.  Then I outlined the blob a little ways out, several times.  Then I filled in every other concentric line.

gold faux bois gold pumpkin |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

It doesn’t exactly look like wood, but it turned out interesting and so shiny from the gold pen!  It’s definitely different than the other pumpkins, and it turned out to add a little visual movement to the centerpiece.

gold leafing pen fake wood pumpkin |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

Lastly I tried out the Martha Stewart gold paint.  I started out with the sparkle gold and promptly dropped it on the ground in the dirt.  Blech!  I don’t think Martha would approve.

drop your pumpkin in the dirt |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

Dropping it gave me a minute to really look at the paint and realize it was not what I had envisioned for this pumpkin.  So I washed it off and started over with a different, more opaque paint.

So I started painting around the top of the pumpkin.

gold painted mini-pumpkin |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

Then I let it dry in the sun – yes, it’s still a wicked 93 degrees here in October!  Goodness, I’m ready for fall.  I flipped it over and painted the bottom, let it dry, then flipped it back over & added another coat to the top, blending the two sections together nicely.

bottom of the gold painted pumpkin |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

Now, here is where I absolutely should have stopped.  But I didn’t.  It’s akin to messing with your hair to make it better, but really it just gets worse and worse!  I thought the golden finish of the pumpkin wasn’t quite as bright and sparkly as I had in mind.  So I decided to spray sparkle glitter spray paint on it.  Hmmmm….this is what happened:

gold sparkle mini pumpkin |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog

So it wasn’t awful, but I do think I liked it better before the final coat of sparkles.

Altogether this was a fun project.  I think it would make a great project when we have a houseful of kiddos and mamas.  Setting out a folding table covered in newspaper with all of the pens, paints and pumpkins would make an entertaining afternoon.  Enjoy! ♥

Gilded Mini Pumpkins Centerpiece for Halloween and Fall |  {Jules} bits of whimsy blog



tiny succulent gardens


tiny succulent gardens in vintage milk glassI absolutely love vintage milk glass.  When it’s tiny, it’s even better!  I decided to combine my love of vintage milk glass, succulents and itty bitty tiny things to create these sweet mini succulent gardens.

tiny vintage glass containers

I started by putting together a nice little collection of vintage glassware.  I included a few white milk glass toothpick holders along with a tiny vintage children’s play cup.  I thought a lovely little white milk glass creamer/sugar set would work nicely for this project.  I also found several bubble glass candle holders and the most gorgeous antique pink pressed glass toothpick holder.  I just fell in love with all of them!


We made a trip to our local nursery and found a great selection if itty bitty 2″ succulents.  Now that I am trying my hand at propagating them, I will just pull from my own little succulent nursery next time!

a great little list of ingredients to create your tiny succulent garden

I found that it’s easiest to collect all of my “ingredients” – just like when baking.  I made sure I had some larger rocks, some smaller pebbles, chose my container & the succulents I wanted to plant.  I had a little pitcher of water and then realized later that I had forgotten my little paintbrush.

larger rocks help with proper succulent drainage

I decided to use the sweet tiny milk glass child’s cup glazed in a wonderful salmon/pink color.  I started by adding a few larger rocks in the bottom of the cup.  I was lucky enough to have some in the yard.  We just finished putting in a pond and waterfall in our backyard & these rocks are the transition between the pond and the patio.  I think it’s called “road base”.  This helps with drainage.  Succulents definitely need great drainage, so they don’t rot.

tiny pebbles help with succulent drainageI topped the larger rocks with tiny pebbles.  These happened to be in our kids’ play area.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed pebbles.  Adding them under the play structure was the best idea!  I snag them all the time for projects and gardening.

planting a tiny succulent gardenFor my first succulent, I chose the largest one I was going to plant.  I used the cactus mix that was in the little 2″ pot that it came in.  However, if I end up figuring out how to propagate my own, I will make sure I have a little bag of succulent mix on hand for when the mood strikes.  There’s nothing worse than having a brilliant idea and then having to stop everything so you can run to the store to pick up a supply!

you can cut your succulent to propogate itI had several succulents that were taller.  I wanted to be sure to include a tall succulent in each little garden to help balance it.  I took one of the stalks of succulent & carefully cut it down at the base.  I ended up snapping the one next to the one I was cutting!  Luckily I only broke one, so I used that one for the little garden.

strip leaves off of succulent before plantingSucculents work a bit like cut flowers – you really don’t want to plant the leaves under the ground, they will rot.  Just like keeping leaves out of the water when you put cut flowers in a vase.  So I very carefully stripped off the bottom leaves.  Succulent stems can be quite fragile, so be careful when you snap them off.  Don’t throw them away!  You can start new plants from each of the leaves.  Hooray!

water your succulentsI finished planting my little garden with another little flowery-looking plant along with a few strings of pearls (my absolute favorite).  I had cut my strings of pearls a couple of weeks ago & put them in my window to sprout roots in a little jar of water.  But I heard that’s not necessary.  you can just cut off the end, remove a few of the pearls & stick it directly in the ground.  Voila – new strings of pearls!  I chose the use a nice long piece (in comparison to the size of the tiny cup) because I wanted it to drape on the table a bit.  But if you prefer them to not hang to the table, you can definitely cut them shorter.

water your succulent garden

My dirt was CRAZY dry.  My poor plants – I neglect them.  So what I do is fill the little planters until the water is almost to the top.  I let them sit for a few minutes to be sure everything soaks in well.  With my larger succulent gardens I do this only once or twice a month.  I’m assuming with my little itty bitty cutie gardens I’ll need to water them more often.  I water them when the dirt feels dry to the touch.

how to water your tiny succulent gardenAfter they’ve soaked for awhile, I hold the succulents very very carefully with my fingers and dump all of the excess water out of the container.  I’m sure there’s a more scientific way to water succulents, but this method seems to work for me.

use a paintbrush to clean succulentsWhen you’re all done planting there’s always dirt and little rocks and just general stuff everywhere.  I first blow off my little succulent garden and container, but to remove everything from all of the lovely little nooks and crannies I use a soft paint brush.  I just stole this one out of the boys’ watercolors.  Nothing fancy needed although a softer brush works better for me than a stiff one.  I just take my time and get in all of the little places to remove the bits of dirt and mud.

a sweet little tiny miniature succulent garden in a vintage milk glass toothpick holderEach garden is different and turns out SO CUTE!  I love to play with different colors and textures in each little garden to make it interesting.  I made this one just for me.  It sits on my window sill above my kitchen sink and smiles at me with her pretty little pink petals.  So sweet!  I just love them.  I think I need to fill up all of my little vintage containers with tiny succulent gardens and randomly put them on friends’ doorsteps this fall.  I think that would be fun!  What do you think?  Would you like to open your door to find a tiny succulent garden on your doorstep?