Want to make your own black terracotta pumpkin, just like the ones at Pottery Barn, but for a fraction of the cost? This easy DIY tutorial will show you how to do it in just a few simple steps.
Looking for a fun and easy DIY project to get you in the fall spirit?
It’s super easy to do and only requires a few basic supplies.
And most importantly it won’t break the bank!
I’m forever eyeing gorgeous home decor pieces I love but are way out of my price range.
I’m looking at you, Pottery Barn!
So what’s a mom to do?
Well, I can whine about it or I can try to figure out how to recreate the look for less.
Can you guess which one I did?
And just wait until you see this amazing Pottery Barn dupe!
We actually tried not one but three different methods when we were making this dupe.
- Pottery Barn Terracotta Jack O' Lanterns
- How to Make Black Terracotta Jack O' Lanterns
- What Supplies Do You Need to Make Black Terracotta Pumpkins
- Should You Paint Your Pumpkin First?
- How to Make a Rustic Concrete Pumpkin
- How to Apply Concrete to Pumpkin
- How Long Does the Concrete Need to Dry?
- Do You Need to Sand the Terracotta Pumpkin?
- How to Paint a Black Terracotta Pumpkin
- How to Get a Terracotta Finish
- How to Style Black Terracotta Pumpkins
- Shopping Links and Resources:
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Pottery Barn Terracotta Jack O’ Lanterns
I’m sure by now you’ve seen these terracotta pumpkins from Pottery Barn.
Aren’t they awesome?
Pottery Barn came out with these jack-o-lanterns at the end of last summer for the fall season and they promptly sold out.
Since the pumpkins were no longer available people started making dupes and before long they went viral on social media.
The autumn Pottery Barn catalog showed up on my doorstep a couple of months ago and I immediately fell in love with the new black terracotta jack o’ lanterns.
The rustic concrete look is just so fun and totally my style.
Both Anne and I decorate our homes with lots of neutrals and some black accents mixed in so we knew we wanted to try to make these black pumpkins.
How to Make Black Terracotta Jack O’ Lanterns
A quick Google search will bring up tons of articles about how to make the Pottery Barn terracotta pumpkins.
Most of those tutorials recommend using paint and baking soda.
The baking soda provides some texture to create the look of terracotta.
Anne tried the baking soda and paint method to upcycle an old plastic pumpkin she didn’t really like anymore.
However, the new version of black pumpkins looks a bit more concrete than last year’s terracotta pumpkin so we wanted to try something different.
Wait until you see how these pumpkins look!
What Supplies Do You Need to Make Black Terracotta Pumpkins
The first thing you’ll need is a pumpkin of course.
And not just any pumpkin will do.
If you want to recreate the look of the Pottery Barn version you’re going to want to find a jack o’ lantern.
Neither of us had old jack-o’-lanterns so we went to a few stores to find some cheap options we could makeover.
We found these bright orange clay pumpkins at Walmart and knew they’d be perfect.
They were $20 each which is far less expensive than the Pottery Barn pumpkins even with the supplies we needed to transform them.
We found plastic-lighted pumpkins even cheaper at Lowes Home Improvement after we bought the ceramic ones from Walmart.
Depending on how you want to use your jack o’lanterns will determine what kind of pumpkin you will be transforming.
Don’t attempt to use a candle in a plastic pumpkin but if you makeover the ceramic clay version we used you’ll be just fine.
Here is a list of the supplies we used to make our black terracotta pumpkins:
- tall clay jack o’ lantern
- short clay jack o’ lantern
- stacked clay jack-o’lantern
- black spray paint
- ready mix concrete patch
- baking soda
- black craft paint
- white craft paint
- brown craft paint
- chip paint brush
- sponge paint brush
- wire brush, grout brush, or scrub brush
- sandpaper or sanding block
Should You Paint Your Pumpkin First?
You’ll want to prepare your pumpkin by giving it a coat of paint because the clay material is slick and you want your concrete to adhere to the surface.
I used Rustoleum spray paint and primer in matte farmhouse black.
Doing this step outside is best to avoid any over-spray in your house.
I also painted the pumpkin black first so that the bright orange color wouldn’t show through the finished project.
I didn’t bother painting the inside of the jack-o’ lanterns since the Pottery Barn versions were orange on the inside.
If you don’t like this look you can just turn the pumpkin over once the outside is dry and give it a coat of paint underneath.
And here they are all painted!
Don’t they look cute?
Actually, they’re very similar to the metal pumpkins from Pottery Barn.
How to Make a Rustic Concrete Pumpkin
Since we knew that the paint and baking soda method wasn’t going to look rustic enough to recreate the look of the Pottery Barn black pumpkins, I tried something different.
Have you seen crafters who use concrete to upcycle old vases and lamps to give them amazing texture?
They look incredible and the casual aesthetic is just my style.
So, we thought why not try concrete on the pumpkins to give them the rustic texture they need?
This ready-mixed concrete patch is super easy to use and less messy than making concrete with mix and water.
We’ll save that type of concrete for outdoor projects.
And it was way too hot to work outside on this craft so even though it’s more expensive it was worth it.
Just pop the cover off the container and you’re ready to go.
How to Apply Concrete to Pumpkin
I used a small putty knife to apply the concrete mix to the pumpkin.
It was easy to spread from the top to the bottom of the jack-o’lantern.
Setting the pumpkin on something to lift it from the surface of where you’re working helps you apply the concrete to the bottom.
I used a few plastic cups to raise the pumpkin off the table.
When I got the the top of the pumpkin I used my fingers to spread the concrete mix onto the stem.
Honestly, using my hands was the easiest way to apply the concrete, and looked more rustic.
You can see the lines from the putty knife in the pumpkin here and the cement was too thick in some spots.
So I spread the concrete out a bit more with my hands to even it out.
For the next jack o’lantern I put a blob of the concrete mix on with the trowel and then spread it out with my hands.
That method worked best but of course, I don’t have photos to show you.
How Long Does the Concrete Need to Dry?
The drying time on the container of ready-mix concrete patch says 24 hours.
However, I found that it took a little longer.
Since there were still some areas that were thicker those weren’t quite dry after the 24 hours.
I think that since it was “patch” and not actual concrete it has a different consistency.
We also tried another method after the concrete which we’ll share with you later in this post.
Do You Need to Sand the Terracotta Pumpkin?
Once the pumpkin was dry, I tried several different ways to smooth out the big excess chunks of concrete.
I also wanted to rough up the smooth sections of the pumpkin.
First, I brushed the surface with a grout-cleaning brush which knocked off any extra cement on the surface of the pumpkin.
Next, I grabbed a sanding block to get the smoother parts of the concrete a bit more roughed up.
But the sanding block didn’t work well because it was a fine grit so I used a 60-grit piece of sandpaper that did the job.
Finally, I used a softer scrub brush to gently remove any of the dust and loose concrete.
How to Paint a Black Terracotta Pumpkin
The Pottery Barn black terracotta pumpkins aren’t a true black they lean more toward a dark gray finish.
To get that look I mixed black with a little bit of white paint together then added just a tiny bit of brown craft paint.
Just play around with the paints until you get a color you love.
Once I had the paint color mixed I applied it to the concrete pumpkin with a sponge brush.
I found it easiest to dab the paint on so that it went into the crevices of the cement pumpkin.
How to Get a Terracotta Finish
Before the paint completely dries on your pumpkin sprinkle some baking soda on the surface.
Then rub it in with your hands.
Once the pumpkin is dry take a chip paint brush and gently brush any excess baking soda off the surface.
The baking soda will give a weathered terracotta look to the jack o’lantern.
It also adds more depth and dimension to the painted pumpkin.
Anne and I really loved how the concrete mix transformed my two pumpkins but we weren’t sure we had enough concrete for Anne to start on her stacked pumpkin.
So back to Lowes, we went but when we got there they were out of ready-mixed concrete. ugh!
We decided to go with plan B and bought pre-mixed stucco repair which we were hoping would work.
To our surprise, we actually liked the stucco better than the cement!
The texture appears bumpier using the pre-mixed stucco and it was super easy to apply with our hands.
You can see all that gorgeous texture in the above photo before Anne painted her pumpkin.
And here are all three jack o’lanterns after they were finished.
Can you see the difference?
The stacked pumpkin is the stucco and the two single jack-o’lanterns are the cement.
They do look a bit different but honestly they all look fantastic.
I’m thrilled with how our DIY black terracotta pumpkins turned out.
Whether you decide to use pre-mixed concrete or stucco all the steps are exactly the same.
How to Style Black Terracotta Pumpkins
These black terracotta pumpkins are a neutral color so looked great wherever I styled them.
I love how this guy looks sitting on my stone fireplace hearth next to a faux fig tree in a wicker basket.
All the textures are perfect together.
Adding some fall stems for a bit more of an autumn seasonal look would be amazing too.
I moved the tree and basket out of the way and placed two more of the DIY Pottery Barn pumpkin dupes next to the first one.
Don’t they look so cute grouped together?
Since these pumpkins are made of clay they’re safe to place a candle inside.
The bottoms of these jack o’lanterns have a hole so it’s easy to set a candle underneath it.
Remember I didn’t paint the inside of the pumpkins because the Pottery Barn version had an orange color inside of them.
When the candle was lit the orange color really glowed.
I also tried the trio on my console table and really like the contrast of the black pumpkins against the natural wood.
What do you think? Where do you like these pumpkins best?
Shopping Links and Resources:
Click on any image to shop items from this post
Sources: short pumpkin | tall pumpkin | double stacked pumpkins | chip paint brush | black spray paint | sanding blocks | white craft paint | brown craft paint | black craft paint | ready mixed concrete patch | sponge paint brushes | grout brush | scrub brush
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