This year I decided to carve me a pumpkin and found out that it is not really hard to do if you just take your time. Sure there are many Pumpkin Carving Kits out there that you can use but they are not a necessity if you have some useful things laying around the house or workshop. If you are like me you have all sorts of stuff laying around that you can use. But with any project you need to have a plan and a direction to go in. Use the tools that you have available to you like the computer that you are using right now to look at this page. You can find lots of good ideas just from the things that you look at online. You could do a scary cat, a sad dog or anything that your imagination could think of as long as it can be reduced to a simple 2 color design. My inspiration came from games that I play online.
When you have your idea you will want to sketch it out on paper so you can get a feel what it is going to look like. I would suggest a sketch first that you can scan into the computer because if you want symmetry you are not going to get the exact same design on the second half just with a pencil. Some of you might but most wont, that is just the way brains and hands work. Also with a sketch you can fiddle with it till you like what you see, then scan it into a computer or take a picture of it so that you can work with it in your favorite photo or paint program. Once in there you just mirror what you have and line them up. Once you know you have it the way that you want just make a simple line drawing of it and print it out.
You may be wondering what size you need to make the image that you are going to work with. That part is easy, you just measure the face of the pumpkin to see how big you will need to make it. To find the face of the pumpkin first wash it off, from the store they can be quite dirty, and just hold it and look at it. The pumpkin itself will let you know what side of it to use. If you don’t know what that means just keep looking at it and your brain will start to put the image you have come up with on the correct part of the pumpkin. The correct part of the pumpkin is the side that will give it the best display of what you have come up with. If you are still lost then you just need to let someone else carve if for you.
Once you have the image printed to the correct size you need to get everything else together to make your masterpiece of spookiness. Make sure you put down some oversized paper or newspaper so that you don’t make a mess. If you can work next to a sink all the better as you will have someplace else to put your scoopings then just on the table. You will also need cutting tools such as a knife and possible as pumpkin saw, basically a very short saw blade for cutting and carving. Myself I used a saw that cam with my set of X-Acto Blade Kit. Mine also came with gouges that I used to make circles with. You are also going to need something to punch your design onto the pumpkin and some tape and scissors. You should also have a marking pen that will easily clean off the surface of the pumpkin for making lines and guides.
Now to clean the pumpkin out. You do this by first cutting a hole in the top that is going to be big enough for you to reach in and easily scoop out all of the guts and seeds. You also want to make sure that the opening is beg enough for you to be able to add a light easily later after your work is done. To cut the hole first make out the top opening with straight lines and maybe even a key slot so that you know where the top fits back properly. You don’t want a pumpkin with a light and no top, that just wouldn’t be Halloween or a proper Jack-O-Lantern that way. So just make it what ever design that you want and then take a heavy knife or cutting tool and cut open the top. One you have done that just pull it straight up and you will see some of the guts and seeds still attached to it. Take and scrape those off but save the seeds as they are good roasted. Now just start scooping out the inside till it is smooth and clean of all of the stringy stuff you are going to find inside.
Once it is all cleaned out put the top back on and then tape your design to the face of the pumpkin. Here is where the scissors come in handy as you will need to make cuts in the paper so that the design will fit better on the pumpkin. Once you have it all tapped down and in place you will need to transfer the design with the punch. It can be an ice pick or a tooth pick or any sharp pointed object just as long as it will puncture the paper and the pumpkin. Take your time and make sure that you have enough holes that you can easily follow the patter when the paper is removed.
After you have removed the paper once again take your marking pen and start connecting the dots. Make sure that you have your design next to you so that you can make sense of the lines on the pumpkin especially if you have transferred a complicated patter. It is important to point out that you can indeed make some rather delicate and intricate designs as the skin of a pumpkin is quite resilient and thick while you are carving it. So don’t be afraid to get creative with your design.
Once you have the design all marked and filled in you start carving. Again take your time, where are you going to go that would make you want to rush this. This should be something fun to do and not feel like a chore and the pumpkin takes days after the first cut to not be able to be worked with. You just want to make sure that you do it well so that when you do light your pumpkin up that it will shine with all its glory for all to see.
Once you have it all cut and carved take some time to just wipe it down to get rid of any marking lines and any stray pumpkin juice and parts. Once cleaned up make sure that the inside is flat enough for your light and then light it up and enjoy your work.
Hope you all have a very happy and spooky fun Halloween.