My Halloween style is very black and white. There's just something so elegant about etchings of tombstones and skulls, am I right? This old school image transfer technique gives the pumpkin an imperfect, antiqued look that is just the thing to dress up your mantle or centerpiece. 

Step 1

Print Out Images

First things first, find a good collection of Halloween-themed imagery, and print it out. I think black and white imagery works best with this technique. And while any printer works, a laser print will work best. 

In recent years, “royalty-free images” have become pretty abundant on the internet. These are images that you can use without having to worry about paying fees. My favorite site to peruse for royalty-free imagery is

Pro Tip

If any of your imagery has words, you’ll need to reflect the image before printing it out. If the word reads backwards on paper, it will read correctly when transferred. 

Step 2

Cut Out Your Images

When cutting, get as close to the black lines as possible.

Step 3


Using your foam brush, cover the printed surface with decoupage glue. Then, place the image face/glue side down on your pumpkin. 

Be aware that if you have two pieces of paper overlapping only the bottom image will show up. 

Step 4

Allow to Dry for One Hour

Step 5

Apply Water

Use a damp sponge or spray bottle full of water to soak a small area of paper. 

Step 6

Gentle, Gentle

GENTLY begin to rub away the paper with your finger. You’ll notice the black image has transferred to the pumpkin. This may take a few moments so be sure to keep the area damp. 

Repeat on small areas until as much white has been removed as possible. 

Pro Tip

Keep the pumpkin clean by:

  • working in small areas
  • changing out the water in which you’re dipping your sponge
  • wiping off excess paper pulp

This is key to the best-looking finished product. If you aren’t sure how you did, check your pumpkin an hour or two after you finish. If you are still seeing a lot of excess white, repeat steps 5 & 6. 

Step 7

Seal It

If you plan on keeping your decoupaged foam pumpkin for next year, you may want to spray it with a clear acrylic seal to protect the transferred images.