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Last week, I mentioned buying pumpkins for carving and this past weekend, my friends and I carved those beautiful gourds

The following is (almost) a step-by-step photo essay on how we carved our pumpkins over the weekend. It also has a few nifty pumpkin carving ideas to try yourself!

The tools

My fiance and I are amateur pumpkin carvers. Our tools consisted of 1 large knife, 2 scoops (kitchen spoons), 2 pens (it shows 2 charcoal pencils, but we found pens worked better), an Exacto knife, a paring knife and a tiny screwdriver (something you’d work on electronics with).

My friend, however, is a pumpkin carving enthusiast. His tools are a bit more professional. He owns several of the store-bought pumpkin carving kits, but he also uses a large-handled Exacto-knife and small motorized saw that cuts through pumpkin with ease.

pumpkin carving tools

pumpkin carving tools 2The canvas

Before cutting, I visited some website for inspiration. I always like making a game plan before rushing in, knives blazing.

PumpkinThink of your pumpkin as a canvas. Ignore the fact that it grew in a field for weeks, is round and orange.

What I’ve done here is sketched out, with a pen, on my pumpkin where exactly I’ll be cutting. I darken in the areas that will be cut out completely, such as the mouth, the nose and the eyebrows. I then lightly shade only the

areas that I’ll be shaving off. These areas, parts of the eyes and teeth, will be shaved down to allow some light through from the candle.

pumpkin design

After I have my basic design, I cut into the pumpkin’s noggin. One tip here is to carve a “key” into your top. A key is basically a notch that shows you how to put the top back onto your pumpkin once it’s carved.

 

 Scoop it

Scoop out all of the stringy guts and pumpkin seeds. You can later separate the two and roast the seeds in an oven. Here’s some great pumpkin seed recipes.

To save some time, you only really need to scoop the carving surface. If the back of your pumpkin has a few strings left, that’s no big deal.

Carving time

For this part of the process, I used a couple of different tools. I used the small screwdriver to put holes around the areas I would be carving out completely. I basically traced my lines. I did this because my small pairing knife had a hard time carving through the pumpkin without some assistance.

Once all of the large parts were carved, I moved into the detail. The detail is what took me the most time, but it was worth it.

 

Detailing

It’s tough to see in this picture, but I’ve scored the pumpkin with my razor. This makes it easier to then shave the pumpkin’s skin. After scoring, I took my exacto knife and gently shaved off the teeth, then the eyes. This took forever.

pumpkin carving 2Now, there are other ways you can do this. My friend had a wonderful little plastic tool that made the process much easier. You can also buy some cheap disposable razors to do the same thing. The pumpkin doesn’t get razor burn, so don’t bother with shaving cream.

 

 

The final product

We finished our pumpkins in about two hours. Mine is eating a smaller pumpkin and my fiance’s has a tongue and seems to be throwing up. If you’re wondering how she installed a tongue, she just took some leftover pumpkin and attached it with a screw, simple as that.

Please, if you have any pictures of your jack o’lanterns, send them to us! Visit our Facebook page and upload them to our timeline!

carved pumpkins

 

More tips:

  1. Think about how you’re carving your pumpkin when choosing one in the field. Some pumpkins have flat surfaces that are good for certain types of carving. Other pumpkins have particularly deep ridges that can make carving difficult.
  2. Lay garbage bags or a cheap plastic table cloth (the kind from dollar stores) under your pumpkins when carving. It makes for very easy clean up.
  3. Sketch your design on paper before drawing it on your pumpkin.
  4. Use knives with serrated edges– they work better.

 

 

Will is Farm and Dairy's newest writer. He's recently moved to Lisbon, Ohio where he lives in a church turned community theater. He enjoys writing (of course), theater and hiking.
Will Flannigan
View all posts by Will Flannigan

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