Dollar Store Pumpkins with White Wax and Rub N Buff

Soften the bright colors of cheap dollar store pumpkins using white wax and give stems a quick coat of rub n buff to transform pumpkins from garish to gorgeous in minutes!

Are you itching for fall?

I'm ready! I'm so over this heat and humidity and ready for cooler days. This is my first Fall craft of the year, and it was so fast it hardly felt like I did anything. I'm not ready to jump into full-on fall decor mode, but will be easing into it over the next month. However, if you're ready, you can find all my Fall crafts and DIYs and decor ideas here.

This post may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. As an Amazon affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases. My full disclosure policy can be found here.

When I spotted these cute cement pumpkins at my local Dollar Tree, I grabbed them because I knew if I didn't, they'd be gone soon. In fact, I got the last ones! The garish colors of these pumpkins had me thinking of ways to transform them and I remembered the dollar store fall wreath I made last year. I used white wax to soften the color of the bright and shiny orange mini pumpkins I used in the wreath and I knew it would work for these brightly colored pumpkins too. Keep reading for the supplies list.

How to soften bright colors with white wax

White wax to lighten is a technique that has been around for a long time. You might have heard of cerusing wax, or liming wax. I used liming wax to tone down the wood tones of this thrifted frame. This is the liming wax I used.

I love working with wax because it's easy and quick, and it's very forgiving. I used dark wax to give a Restoration Hardware look to this thrifted vase and in just minutes I had a completely new look!

While I use wax as a topcoat for many of my chalk paint furniture pieces (you can read all about top coat options for chalk painted furniture here), it's also a great way to quickly darken or lighten items as well. Dark wax gives more of an antiqued look, while white wax softens and gives more of a cottage look (think white-washed). Both are classic looks that will stand the test of time!

Let's take a look at those bright colored pumpkins that I found.

Now they're not bad, in fact I only needed to touch up the stem on the white pumpkin. However, aside from last Fall, I really don't decorate with the typical fall colors of orange and green. Especially this shade. I just don't care for it. Now, if you really don't like using wax or just don't want to buy it, you can get a similar look and feel by white washing those brightly colored pumpkins with paint, like I did in this post.

Supplies Used

  • dollar store pumpkins
  • white wax (I used Miss Mustard Seed white wax, which is no longer available on Amazon but this one has great reviews)
  • lint free cloths
  • Rub n Buff (I used this shade)
  • foam brush

Tone down pumpkins with white wax

I use old white t-shirts when I'm applying wax because they are lint free. To tone down the bright colors of the pumpkins, you simply rub on the white wax with a cloth, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it with a clean cloth. Buffing removes any excess wax and also adds a very light sheen. The first time I buffed the pumpkins, it removed too much wax and I ended up adding another coat of wax and then only buffing very lightly to get this soft, white-washed look.

These pumpkins I found at the dollar store have a leaf design carved into the side. The wax gets down into any grooves and crevices, which helps to soften the overall look and help the designs to stand out more.

Here's a before and after so you can really see the difference the white wax made to these pumpkins.

Isn't that amazing? I like the softer, toned-down colors so much better! You can add as many coats of the white wax to get the look you want. When Mr DIY built me this little cottage side table, I used this white wash paint to tone down the colors in the quilted stencil I painted on the top. You can see how it softened the look.

Spiff up the stems

The wax only takes a few minutes to dry and then you can handle the pumpkins. I added a little bit of Rub n Buff to the stems with a foam brush. The orange and green pumpkins already had gold stems, but they were very shiny. The little bit of Rub n Buff toned them down and added a little bit of dimension.

I threw together this little fall vignette to show you some decorating ideas for these white waxed pumpkins because it's way too hot to venture into the attic!

Now that I'm looking at these pictures, I see a few spots that need a little more white wax (see the yellowish spots on the green pumpkin above). I was eager to finish this project and I may have inadvertently removed some of the wax by picking up the pumpkins before they were fully dry! They do dry really quickly, and the wax will fully cure over a week or so and then the white wax will be permanent.

I hope your DIY wheels are spinning and you're excited to try using white wax on your pumpkins, your furniture and your decor! If you're not already a subscriber, fill out the form below, I'd love to have you as a DIY Insider! I've got so many upcoming projects to share, including my ironstone collection, DIY grain sacks, a bolster pillow makeover, a footstool makeover and of course more Fall decor and DIYs!

Pin it to Remember

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


share this post


  1. You are a breadth of fresh air. So cool and so down to earth and married to a pastor!!! Your ideas are great. I would have never thought to do what you did and it makes such a difference to the pumpkins without spending hardly anything when you have the wax and rub and buff on hand. Maryland has been very hot and steamy. The last couple of weeks have been heaven and excited for fall as well!!!

    1. Thank you so much! We usually don't cool down until late October! Fingers crossed it's earlier this year!

  2. Those look great! Thanks for giving me more ideas for pumpkins. :)


Post a Comment

Your comments are like sunshine and chocolate! Thanks for taking the time to leave a nice one ;) I read all comments and love to respond if you leave your name and email! Otherwise, please look for my response under the post where you left it!