If you’re tired of seeing the same old scary faces on every jack-o-lantern and want to make your own work of art this Halloween, you may be ready for advanced pumpkin carving! There are so many new options you can try this year that will give you original ways of pumpkin sculpting. Check out these tips for advanced pumpkin carving techniques that will allow you to make a statement with your decorations this year.
Here are some unique pumpkin carving techniques to get you started:
- Prep Your Pumpkin. Think about how large and intricate your design will be and pick a pumpkin that will be able to accommodate your creativity. Next, prep your pumpkin as you would for a traditional jack-o-lantern to give it the longest possible lifespan. Cut a hole around the stem, scoop out the seeds (follow this recipe for baked pumpkin seeds), and scrape out the insides as cleanly as possible.
- Pick Your Picture. The sky is the limit when it comes to designing your pumpkin. Once you’ve found an image or motif that you want to use, print your pumpkin sculpting patterns onto paper that will fit your pumpkin. Black and white pictures with a lot of contrast work best because you will be able to follow the outlines and shadows that make up your desired pattern. Affix your print-out to the surface of your pumpkin and use a thumbtack to create small puncture marks along the outline of your picture. This will create a guide for you to follow once you begin carving. Another option is to freehand a design instead of using a stencil.
- Pare and Peel. While you can always carve through and remove blocks of your pumpkin so that the inner candlelight will shine directly through, try these pumpkin sculpting techniques to detail your creation with varying shades of darker and lighter orange. Slowly peel away the skin of your pumpkin to expose the flesh and allow a dimmer glow of candlelight to emit. A good tool to use for this task is a sharpened ribbon tool, often used with clay and available at your local craft store. Some important safety tips to remember are to always cut away, not towards, yourself and always supervise children. Scrape carefully because while you can always take away more later, you can’t put back anything you remove. The thinner the wall of your pumpkin, the brighter the light will shine through and the lighter orange it will appear. Alternative between peeling and carving, or try your hand at sculpting the surface of your pumpkin into a 3D masterpiece!
Now step back and admire your work! Practice makes perfect when you’re learning advanced pumpkin carving so be patient and enjoy honing a new skill!