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Dollar Tree DIY Pumpkins for a Neutral Fall Mantel

My “theme” this year for fall decorating is simple and cheap. Actually, I wouldn’t even call it a theme. I’m one of those lazy fall decorators that puts up a few pumpkins and calls it good until the Halloween decor comes out. But, I’ve got a crazy simple and cheap project for you to spiff up the mantel for fall. These dollar tree DIY pumpkins are so easy and all you need is paint!

The Dollar Tree is my go-to this year for cheap fall decor. Everything is a dollar. That’s it. Nothing more. So I don’t feel guilty about adding a few new things this year. Like this $3 DIY fall wreath and my fall front porch decor. Easy and cheap. The perfect DIY project for a neutral fall mantel.

And today I’m joining several other talented bloggers for some amazing fall mantel inspiration! Be sure to check them out at the end! Thanks to Carrie from Lovely, Etc for hosting!

DIY Pumpkins for a Neutral Fall Mantel

I found five styrofoam pumpkins at the Dollar Tree for a grand total of five bucks. They’re perfectly lovely and neutral now, but before the makeover, they were not quite so lovely. They needed to take it down a notch in the “in your face” department. But, don’t overlook the potential of something, especially when it’s a buck!

So I grabbed some white spray paint from the garage and gave them a light coat or two. I didn’t worry about covering them completely. However – learn from me! Don’t just use paint. Get primer. The light dusting of paint I put on wasn’t good enough.

My paint didn’t want to adhere afterward. These are styrofoam pumpkins and they are almost waxy feeling on the outside. If I had used a primer, my DIY project would’ve been much easier.

An image collage showing the before and after or orange craft pumpkins painted white with a rustic finish.


  • Spray your pumpkins with spray primer, not just white paint
  • Let dry completely
  • Lay down an old towel on a flat surface and paint them any color you want
  • I had several samples of Fusion Mineral Paint in varying neutral colors. I used Lamp White, Champlain, and Pebble, but you can use any paint you want.
  • Since I made the mistake of not using primer, my paint didn’t adhere well. I added in some bonding cream that I had from another paint brand (Old Barn Milk Paint) and it seemed to help. I have no idea if these two products are supposed to go together, so if you’re painting an heirloom, please don’t use this example. But it worked for this. You can see below what happened when I painted the first coat. It didn’t work so great.
  • Add two coats of paint. Let dry, and done!
  • Collage showing craft pumpkins in the process of being pained white.
Rustic fall decor on a fireplace mantle including pumpkins, a wreath, and flowers in a glass vase.

For the rest of the mantel decor, I used what I already had. An old piece of wood to set the pumpkins on, my green bottles and faux flowers from Hobby Lobby, a faux plant, and this super easy and cheap DIY fall wreath!

The framed song is our wedding song that a super talented friend made for me. She wrote all of that by hand!! It’s one of my most favorite items in my house!

A wreath with pale orange flowers hangs over the mirror of a fireplace mantle with white pumpkins.
Three painted white craft pumpkins on a fireplace mantle with a black framed mirror.
Painted white pumpkins in a wooden crate

And that’s it for my super simple neutral mantel. Nothing fancy and nothing that took tons of time. It would’ve been even better if I’d painted them correctly the first time with primer, but in the end, it worked.

I had two pumpkins leftover so I added them to my vintage tulip crate with some Target dollar spot pumpkins from last year and some random spindles. I threw in my DIY Bead Garland as well.

And I had an old pillow that had a hole in it, so I cut the fabric in two, stuffed each side with old pillow stuffing, and tied it with twine.

Simple, easy, and cheap – that sums up my fall decor this year! It didn’t take much money or time for these dollar tree DIY pumpkins and I’ve got some great neutral decor. If I decide neutral isn’t my thing next year, I’ll just repaint them.

Check out my other cheap fall decor ideas for this year!

DIY Fall Wreath

Cheap and Easy Dollar Tree Front Porch Decor

Create and Find Logo with author\'s name
Pinterest graphic with text that reads \"Dollar Store Fall Mantle\" and a collage of fall decor on a fireplace mantel.

Thanks to Carrie from Lovely, Etc for hosting this Fall mantel blog hop!

Collage showing fireplaces in four different living rooms.

Neutral Fall Mantel Decor from Thrifty and Chic

Wood Fireplace Mantel Decor from My Creative Days

Neutral Fall Mantel Decor from All Things with Purpose

Simple Fall Mantel: Decorating Around the TV from Lovely Etc.

Collage showing 4 different fireplaces decorated for fall.

A Mantel All Dressed Up for Fall from A Fresh Squeezed Life

Fall Mantel from A Brick Home

Classic Fall Traditions Mantel Decor from Houseful of Handmade

A Neutral Fall Mantel from Newly Woodwards

White pumpkins on a fall mantle with a wreath and foliage in a vase.

Quick and Easy Fall Mantel Decor from Happily Ever After, Etc.

Dollar Tree Pumpkins for a Neutral Fall Mantel from Create and Find

Upcycled Fall Mantel Decor with Flowers, Books, and Pumpkins from Twelve on Main


Thursday 4th of October 2018

Hey, Melissa! I just got some dollar tree pumpkins for another project, and inadvertently discovered (when pulling off that “stem”) that this year’s newer, brighter, shiny color is a tight “skin” cover of sorts! It peels off easily, but in small enough pieces to make it pretty time-consuming! If you’re really needing a white base, though, it might be worth doing it! Just wanted to share the discovery!


Thursday 4th of October 2018

What??? That is so great to know! I'm so glad you told me - I'm going to grab a few more now! Thanks so much for the tip. I wish I would've figured it out.

Marly @ A Brick Home

Thursday 27th of September 2018

Love it, Melissa! I'm all about the dollar store finds too!


Thursday 27th of September 2018

Thanks friend! Dollar tree for the win on this one!


Wednesday 26th of September 2018

They definitely turned out super cute... much less "in your face". Of course, $1 is definitely my kind of price tag so I was on board from the beginning.


Thursday 27th of September 2018

Thanks Betsy - Cheap is definitely my friend right now!

Alicia @ Thrifty and Chic

Tuesday 25th of September 2018

Your pumpkins turned out perfect! They are a great addition to your fall mantel! Love everything about it :)


Tuesday 25th of September 2018

Thanks Alicia! They were pretty "in your face orange" to start with - I'm happy with how they turned out too!


Tuesday 25th of September 2018

Very cute! I love the pumpkins -and the vases at the end! Cheap is good for me!


Tuesday 25th of September 2018

Thanks Kim - I'm a sucker for easy and cheap decor lately!