Fun Halloween Pumpkin Carving & Decorating
By: Elizabeth Porter
Halloween is right around the corner. To celebrate, my family made a visit to a local pumpkin patch and we had a lot of fun decorating those pumpkins this weekend. Pumpkins can also be carved and illuminated for night time fun. I looked on the internet and found some easy, fun, pumpkin carving templates and wanted to share a few of my favorites.
To get started with your pumpkin carving project, first print out your favorite design template. Below are a few we found that you may like. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Now that you have selected your favorite design, let’s get started.
Attaching the printed template to the pumpkin:
Once you have removed the top from the pumpkin as shown, prepare your pumpkin as you would for basic carving. Print the design template you have chosen, grab some tape and place the template on the pumpkin.
Be sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch border for the tape to go on. Attach the template to the face of the pumpkin with tape. Top first, then the bottom and lastly the sides.
Transferring the design onto the pumpkin:
Once you have the template taped to the pumpkin, you can use a nail to lightly tap through your printed pattern onto the outside of the pumpkin. Press the pointed tip into and through the design lines on the pumpkin carving template spaced about a 1/8 to a 1/4 of an inch apart. Complex and thin designs might require the dots to be a little closer together. The nail should be pushed in just enough to go through the paper and the outer skin of the pumpkin, not all the way through the pumpkin. For small areas like windows or square shapes on your design, try using a flat head screwdriver instead of just a nail.
After you finish transferring the template pattern on your pumpkin, remove the tape and the paper. Using a carving saw, push the tip of the saw-blade into a template hole and saw through the design lines with short back-and-forth motions. Take your time and follow the dots carefully. Always align the saw blade to make the cuts straight into the pumpkin. When making sharp corners, remove the saw and re-insert it at the new angle. To make removal of the pieces easier you can cut them into smaller sections while still in the pumpkin. Then carefully push out all of the cut pieces with your finger or an un-sharpened pencil.
Once you’ve removed all of the cut pieces from your pumpkin, carefully trim the inside edges of any excess flesh. We like to carve the excess off at about a 45 degree angle. This allows more light to come through, showing your design best. Coat the inside and exposed edges with petroleum jelly or a spray-on preserver like PumpkinFresh.com to help your pumpkin last as long as possible.
Congratulations! Your pumpkin is complete! You can now use candles to illuminate your creation and enjoy each night. We like to put a votive candle in a small glass and place it in the pumpkin. The votive will burn out on its own and is safer than a typical candle. Another idea is to wrap clear Christmas lights around a jar and plug it into an electrical outlet. Be sure to unplug before you go to bed or put on a timer to shut off automatically.
Here are some carved, illuminated pumpkins we found at www.MarthaStewart.com.
If you have young children in the family and they want to personalize their own pumpkins without carving, decorating pumpkins is a fun way to get them involved. With just a few craft supplies, the youngsters can have fun decorating their pumpkins safely.
The hunt for the perfect pumpkin is half the fun! Not only did my nieces have a great time at the local pumpkin patch, they had a lot of fun decorating once we got home.
We used basic supplies like gift wrapping curling ribbon, adhesive stickers and a hot glue gun and spent an afternoon together creating some fun-looking pumpkins.
Here are a few of their finished pumpkins. Happy Halloween!
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