I realize we're just past Halloween right now, but I wanted to share this pumpkin project for future reference!
A few weeks ago, I invited some friends over to paint some faux pumpkins. Am I an artist? Hell no. Yet I still attempted to paint a gingham pattern on a pumpkin. The results were not impressive, but the point was to do an activity that didn't involve a screen. That part was a success.
A week later, I had 1 pumpkin leftover. A leopard print fan to the core (hello, have you seen my formal living room?) I thought it would be cute with a leopard print design on it. Based on my fail of the gingham pumpkin, I started searching for a way I could do this in an easier way – similar to how I made my DIY lettered wedding jacket.
I found this tutorial online for decorating a pumpkin with temporary tattoo paper. With that tutorial in mind, I took the leopard print design that I wanted on my pumpkin and printed it on paper to make sure if the size and scale would work. I enlarged the print until I was happy with the size, and then it was ready to print onto the temporary tattoo paper. You can use my final file here, if you need a starting point.
A note about this tattoo paper: make sure you're printing on the correct side of the paper! I messed this up the first time trying to rush through it. Not a huge deal, but it wasted some time and ink.
Once I printed the design on the paper, I simply cut out the pieces of the print and placed them where I wanted them to go. I used the same method you would use on a temporary tattoo on the skin: place the design down on the surface, and then put a wet cloth over it for several seconds until the backing peels off. Once the design is transferred, use a wet fingertip to pat down any edges or bubbles.
Since the material of this pumpkin was a plastic/resin and was already the color I wanted it, I didn't paint the pumpkin before I started applying. If you wanted a different color pumpkin to start with, you could spray paint it and apply the tattoos when the pumpkin is completely dry.
When you're done applying the tattoos, you can spray it with a protective coating (like a clear Krylon acrylic coat), or leave as is. Mine looked fine as-is, and it was only being used indoors, so I left it uncoated.
I think this method would work for so many things, and I may try it next on Christmas ornaments!