Starlight Pumpkin Art Lesson

These beautiful, glowing pumpkins have a lot going on: drawing from observations and sequence, primary color mixing, adding highlights, cutting and pasting skills and composition. I have a very strong group of Kinders this year and they did exceptionally well following this multi-step project.  Here’s what we did….

Using a black oil pastel and a white sheet of 12″ x 18″ sulphite (76 lb drawing) paper, children looked at a pumpkin and observed the shape, segments and lines of a pumpkin. They started by drawing an oval in the middle of the paper and then adding big belly lines on both sides of the oval. They drew a stem and shaped it so it just didn’t look like a rectangle. They did very well! Finally, a few leaves were scattered along the perimeter of the paper with the understanding that they would be cut out later along with the pumpkin.

Using a tray of 3 colors: red, yellow and blue, the children painted the center of their pumpkin yellow. Without cleaning their brush, they scooped up some red paint and applied the paint over the yellow. They mixed the paint together to create orange. They repeated the steps until the pumpkin was filled with various shades of orange, red and yellow. They cleaned their brush and painted a leaf yellow, then applied the same technique by dipping paintbrush in the blue paint and mixing on top of the yellow leaf to create a green leaf. They did not paint their stems, but if you have time, the children can mix all the paints together to create brown. I didn’t have time for this step.

The next class, the children added highlights to their pumpkins. Using a white chalk pastel, they added small crescent shaped lines along one side of the pumpkin. Oh, how they loved this step! Use brown and green chalk to finish coloring any left-over leaves and stems.

Using the same white chalk, place a black piece of paper on the tables. Show how to create stars and a glowing moon. We used our fingers to make the moon smudgy and soft. Glue pumpkin to black background paper.

Cut out leaves and glue beside and over the pumpkin. Use a green chalk pastel to create vines.

There are always a few little ones who don’t quite follow the steps exactly…but who cares, right? There are many standards in this lesson that they can be rewarded for!

I love these beautiful pumpkin collages. Have you done a pumpkin art project yet this year?

48 comments

  1. Janis says:

    That’s a fun idea! I love Fall art projects.

  2. Beautiful – I love how the finished pumpkins are all completely different :) Second from the top right is just gorgeous!!

  3. Tammy says:

    I can totally see trying this out with my first graders. (We don’t have an art teacher.) Thanks!

  4. Christie says:

    I love having little ones mix their colors right on the paper. These are terrific!!

  5. Laura says:

    Simply Gorgeous!!

  6. Ruthanne says:

    Oh my gosh!! I saw this post this morning and immediately changed my art plan for the day. I teach kids with emotional disorders who hate trying new things. They loved these and they came out SO beautiful!!!
    Thank you!

    • Patty says:

      So good to hear! I wonder what it was they they liked about it so much….was it the mixing?

      • Ruthanne says:

        Patty: I’m not sure what it was they liked but they all loved it. I think part of it was breaking down how to draw the pumpkin using an oval and then the bubbles on the side. Once they saw that it wasn’t hard to do, they were all in! We used the same idea of mixing the paint right on the paper to make farm landscapes this week. Those turned out very cute also. :) Thanks for all the great ideas. My students have a hard time in the regular ed art class for several reasons so it’s nice to have real art lessons to do with them in the classroom.

  7. Mrs.C says:

    I LOVE these! Saw the post on Thursday after school and couldn’t wait to try it out with 1st grade! Thanks for a great post! :)

    • Patty says:

      How did they turn out? Did you have any yellow or blue pumpkins like I did? Ha!

      • Mrs.C says:

        I did the lesson on Friday and again today on Wednesday with my first grades. After I saw that you got some blues and greens I only gave them red and yellow paint so they would only get oranges! :) I am going to have them cut their pumpkins out in the next class and glue them to black paper and use gold for their vines and accents instead of white. I don’t know how I am going to have them do the leaves. I may give them painted paper scraps to cut them from… my Friday class will do that step this week. I will post the results with a link to your lesson and let you know when it is up! Thanks again for the great idea! The kids had the best time drawing and painting them! Everyone has commented how cute they are so far! I tell them I can’t take the credit, that it was your idea and I am just building on it! :)

  8. Chriss says:

    Thank you! My daughter (nearly 5 years old) and I did this project today with great success. She had great fun blending the paint colours, though she was a little less than impressed with all the cutting. Ah, kids. :)

    In fact, thank you for all the wonderful post you’ve done. We’ve done several and have pinned many more for future projects.

    • Patty says:

      Yes, cutting takes work! I remember sitting in my oldest son’s kinder back-to-school night session and the teacher said that cutting was a skill they would be working on. I couldn’t believe that cutting would be so important. Now, I understand!

  9. Deedee says:

    I LOVE these! So beautiful! thank you or another piece of inspiration!!!

  10. Lynna says:

    My kindergarteners are going to make these week after next. I cannot wait to do more wonderful deepspakesparkle art!

  11. Marla says:

    Love it! Was the paint regular tempera?

  12. Natalie says:

    thank you! We will be making these in art class this week :) Will post pics and link back to you.

  13. shannon kelly says:

    what kind of paint did you use? beautiful project!

  14. Pamela says:

    I absolutely love these and can’t wait to do this project with my first graders! Do you water down your tempera paint at all, or do you use it straight out of the bottle?

  15. Lori says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing lesson! I can’t wait to do it on Monday. It is the perfect follow up to the lesson we did last week on mixing colours. So excited!!!

  16. Kathy DeFranco says:

    Hi Patty,
    I made the Starlight Pumpkins with my grade 1/2 class yesterday. I told them we were doing magic art and they loved it!!! When the blue leaves turn green (instantly) when you put the yellow on top they were so excited. They were so focussed and supported one another in the most amazing way. We are so fortunate to have a laminator at my school and the lamination added to the finishing glow.
    Thanks so much for sharing!

  17. gina says:

    I love this website! I feel like I am actually teaching artist techniques: mixing colors, looking at a real object and trying to draw it, noticing highlights in objects. Thanks, for all the projects!

  18. Meghan says:

    I can’t wait to try these with my Kinders :) Thank you so much for all of the wonderful ideas! This is my go-to website for art lessons! They always turn out so beautiful :)

  19. I love these! Even the colorful one. ;)

    I’d love it if you’d stop over to B-Inspired Mama and enter this project into the Perfectly Pumpkin Contest!

  20. Jessica Syrene says:

    Patty,
    Just searched for art projects on google to teach my class, this project looks amazing and oddly familiar, then I looked at your bio and realized that it’s because I had seen them at Brandon School! You’ll be happy to know that your project will be going international as I will be teaching it this week at my school in London!
    Cheers,
    Jessie

  21. Margaret Mary Monahan says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Hard to believe these are kinders!

  22. Karin Frazer says:

    Hi Patty — I am SO happy I found your blog. At my daughters’ school, parents are required to take turns volunteering on Wednesday afternoons. Parents run the class and “share our passions” with the kids in an interactive educational fashion. Not too hard … except I am really not a teacher! Today, I went to the grade 1/2 split class of my youngest daughter and we did this starlight pumpkin art project as a class. It was great! They loved it. And their work was fabulous! I am so impressed with the kids, with myself, and with your blog! Thank you SO much.

  23. I have taught middle school core subjects for 9 years, this is my first year teaching K through 12 art along with 3 middle school core classes. I am so blessed by your help via Deep Space Sparkle. My 1 – 2 class did a modified Starlight Pumpkin painting (I don’t) have many supplies. I went really well and we had so much fun. Thank you many times over.

  24. Pam says:

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I did this with my kindergarten class as my first big art “project” and they look wonderful! The students are so very proud of themselves, they were positively beaming as I held them up for the class to see.

    Your site is wonderful, thank you again for all the fantastic ideas :)

  25. Laura Lea says:

    I am amazed at what you get kids to do! I’m so inspired! Thank you! I just moved down to Kindergarten and can’t wait to try this lesson with them. I wish I’d seen it weeks earlier, but it’s not too late to do a pumpkin, maybe for thanksgiving!

  26. [...] again a great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. The lesson fit perfectly with our IC unit on cycles. This lesson also motivated all of the kids! [...]

  27. [...] love Halloween art but I don’t love that it looks outdated November 1st. When I saw these starlit pumpkins on the blog Deep Space Sparkle, I knew I had found the perfect art activity for the short lived [...]

  28. Natalie says:

    My boys loved this craft! We did it on Halloween day but it continues to be displayed!!!

  29. Brooke Saffle says:

    I am a first grade teacher and made these with my class this past fall, they turned out great! Very vibrant!

  30. Annie says:

    Tank you for all you do.

  31. Annie says:

    Thank you for all you do

  32. julie says:

    Patty, these are beautiful! I needed some exciting new lessons and knew I could count on your site! thank you!!!

  33. Anne Duschka says:

    You are so awesome to share these great ideas. As a former teacher – now substitute, I really appreciate your ideas and detailed plans!! Thank you!!

  34. [...] Fun Friday:  Today we had a long-awaited art day with friends.  Actually, that happened this afternoon, so this morning it was business as usual, sort of.  We started out by making M & M blondies to go with the pumpkin spice M & M cupcakes I made last night to share with our friends.  Then we did our Circle Time evaluation in which the girls attempted all of the week’s memory work (no review) from memory. The girls also reviewed the CC Timeline song.  We also did our usual reading aloud.  Lulu did Beast Academy while Louise and I played an addition card game.  Then both girls and I attempted to play a multiplication game in which we were supposed to build the entire multiplication table with cards, but alas, things fell apart then because a certain cute three year old wanted a bit of attention.  We changed gears then and had lunch.  After lunch I knew I needed a bit of down time before the other children (& mamas!) arrived, so we watched an episode of Wild Kratts. After a bit of prep work for our art activity, the other two families arrived.  The next few hours were full of art, books, eating, talking, and play time.  It was lovely!  The children (excepting the two babies in attendance) made starlight pumpkins. [...]

  35. [...] Next week they are going to cut out the pumpkins and leaves and glue them to a black paper and draw stars. Night time pumpkins. Got the idea from Deep Space Sparkle. [...]

  36. Josie wilkinson says:

    Thanks so much for this. I teach adults with learning disabilities in uk. Each class has to be planned to meet a really wide range of needs. Thus is so inherently simple in terms of task and at the same time the more able ones will be able to take it further ; exploring the colour mixing further, real observational drawing etc.perfect, thank you !

  37. Thank you so much for sharing this art lesson Patty! My girl had fun with this and learned a lot from it! I blogged about it and referenced you, check it out here: http://www.rockabyebutterfly.com/2013/10/pumpkin-in-night-art-lesson.html

  38. [...] Starlight Pumpkins (Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd grade) [...]

  39. Alexis says:

    Hey there! I love this project and just did it was my kids! I have featured you on my blog! :)

    http://laugh-eat-learn.blogspot.com/2013/10/fall-favorites.html

    - Alexis

  40. [...] spent the rest of the week making Halloween crafts.  We made the pumpkin collage paintings that are on the Deep Space Sparkle Blog.  The yellow pumpkin at the bottom of this collage belongs to Monkey.  I did the cutting for him, [...]

  41. […] We did this great pumpkin craft from Deep Space Sparkle. […]

  42. […] in this fabulous pumpkin painting activity from In Lieu of Preschool 8. Here is a beautiful night time pumpkins art lesson from Deep Space Sparkle 9.  Make a pumpkin themed centerpiece from Living Locurto […]

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About Patty

Welcome to DSS. I'm an art teacher to 400 elementary kids in Goleta, California. This is where you will find a library of art lessons, handy PDF lesson plans and resources to make teaching art to kids a whole lot easier.
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