Starlight Pumpkin Art Lesson

Round up your kids and create these beautiful starlight pumpkins after your trip to the pumpkin patch. Kids learn how to mix paint, add highlights and practice their cutting & pasting skills.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?

Round up your kids and create these beautiful starlight pumpkins after your trip to the pumpkin patch. Kids learn how to mix paint, add highlights and practice their cutting & pasting skills.

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What do you think?

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  • Janis

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

  • Elizabeth - Dream Painters

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

  • Tammy

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

  • Christie

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

  • Ruthanne

    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

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

      • Ruthanne

        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.

  • Mrs.C

    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

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

      • Mrs.C

        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! 🙂

  • Chriss

    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

      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!

  • Deedee

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

  • Lynna

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

  • Marla

    Love it! Was the paint regular tempera?

  • Natalie

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

  • shannon kelly

    what kind of paint did you use? beautiful project!

  • Pamela

    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?

  • Lori

    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!!!

  • Kathy DeFranco

    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!

  • gina

    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!

  • Meghan

    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 🙂

  • Krissy @ B-Inspired Mama

    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!

  • Jessica Syrene

    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

  • Margaret Mary Monahan

    Absolutely gorgeous! Hard to believe these are kinders!

  • Karin Frazer

    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.

  • Terri Dufresne

    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.

  • Pam

    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 🙂

  • Laura Lea

    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!

  • Natalie

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

  • Brooke Saffle

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

  • Annie

    Tank you for all you do.

  • Annie

    Thank you for all you do

  • julie

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

  • Anne Duschka

    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!!

  • Josie wilkinson

    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 !

  • Rockabye Butterfly

    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

  • Alexis

    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

  • Janice Wiggins

    My Kindergartner’s’ did a great job with the drawing and painting portion. I have 30 minute blocks, so they did the drawing in one block, painted the pumpkins in the next, and leaves in the third block. As for the cutting and gluing, this portion was difficult for them to complete in 1 block. I tried breaking it into 2 blocks and many students still had difficulty completing the project. I have 27 students in most classes. Some classes I have an aid and even with a second set of hands It was a challenge to help all students finish. We did the pastel stars and moon in the final block. The students loved smearing the chalk to make the moon glow. If I were to do this lesson again, I would start with black paper and eliminate the cutting.

  • Gina

    Just wondering-Did you have students paint and cut in the same class period?

    • Patty Palmer

      No. I don’t think I mentioned this is the directions. I usually wait until a painting is dry before they attempt to cut it out. Far easier this way. Before making the background (or after) have the kids cut the pumpkins out.

  • Cindy Moore

    This is a wonderful project. I did them with 1st through 3rd grade and they all loved it. It covers so many art elements like line, shape, form, color, and we even discussed value as we mixed the colors on the paper. That “Wow it turned orange (or green)!” teaches secondary colors the best way. Thank you for all these great art lessons.

  • Cheryl Williams

    I did this with my second grade class and they were beautiful!!!! Sadly, a less artistic colleague attempted same and they were not so pretty…:( They main problem seemed to be with the lines on the pumpkins. Hers tended to curve inward too soon…..

    But as for me, I am getting so much from your site -lots of compliments! Thanks!

  • Maddie

    I run an “Aspiring Artist” program at the Library where I work…totally taking this and adapting it for some older kids (7-11)! I like to find projects for them that are challenging yet rewarding! Can’t wait to see how this goes! Thanks so much!

  • Mylène

    Thank you so much for this wonderful and fun project! I do it every fall in Grade 2. They always look amazing!

  • Laura Lea

    My go to every year! My favorite lesson! Thanks Patty!

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