Halloween pumpkin carving is one of the best parts of celebrating Halloween. Here are some pumpkin carving tips to remember to help make sure you have the best pumpkin carving experience! Don’t forget to take a look at, our fantastically frightful collection of Halloween cards and Halloween party invitations, too! You could throw a pumpkin carving party!
Things To Remember When Selecting Pumpkins For Carving:
- Select an unbruised pumpkin. A bigger surface is preferable especially if you plan to use a pumpkin stencil.
- Pumpkins that are flat on the bottom work best as they are less likely to roll while carving.
- Look for pumpkins with a sturdy stem, this is the sign of a healthy pumpkin. Avoid lifting the pumpkin by the stem, this can damage the pumpkin and make it age faster.
- Inspect the bottom of the pumpkin. Sometimes the bottom of the pumpkin is thin and can get punctured. If the bottom looks damaged, put it back!
- Avoid pumpkins that feel soft, have a lot of discoloration or make a sloshing noise when picked up. These are signs of pumpkins past their prime.
Tools You Will Need For Pumpkin Carvings:
- For best results use special pumpkin saws, drills, pokers, scrapers, knives, and exact-o knives along with pins or thumb tacks, and tape. Mini hand saws of differing length and teeth spacing determine how well they work for tight areas. Closer teeth and smaller length provide high detail.
- The width of a drill determines the size of the hole it makes. Your drill’s length should be able to fully penetrate the pumpkin.
- Scrapers are used to make the inside wall of the pumpkin smooth. This is where the reflected light will be coming from.
- Pokers are used to transfer patterns onto the pumpkin as well as to make very small holes.
Preparations To Be Done For Carving Pumpkins:
- Cut off the lid of the pumpkin, angling the edge of the saw or knife. This is the only time you will be making a cone-shaped wedge. You don’t want the lid falling in. If you intend to have a candle, be sure there is plenty of ventilation for the candle to breath, and consider not putting on the lid (which will scorch). Optionally, cut out the bottom or back (unless you’re casting a projection) of the pumpkin to preserve the top.
- After gutting the pumpkin of all it’s gunk and seeds and strings, scrape it with a scraper to make sure it’s really clean inside. Consider gutting the pumpkin in the kitchen sink for easy clean-up. Newspaper tends to just get soggy and messy.
- Don’t forget to save your pumpkin seeds for toasting!
- The wall for the front of the pumpkin should be no more than one inch thick. Anything more makes carving difficult. Don’t make it too thin, or then thin areas will dry out and get wrinkled.
- For longer life, soak the cleaned pumpkin a couple of hours in a bleach water solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 gallon of water.
- Dry thoroughly, then rub inside and out, including all cut edges, with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly to prevent shriveling. If the pumpkin begins to shrivel, repeat the process. The soaking time will depend upon how dried out the pumpkin has become.
- It is important to scrape the back of the pumpkin to make a smooth surface so that no odd shadows are cast.
How To Carve Pumpkin – Techniques:
- Hold the pumpkin firmly in your lap. Drill all holes first. Using an exact-o knife, remove any areas of skin where you which to preserve the pumpkin meat. Scrape well behind any areas where you want just mostly pumpkin skin.
- Saw slowly and gently. Remember your saw is not a knife, so don’t cut with it. Too much force can cause you to damage the pumpkin
- It is better to make lots of little cuts than one big cut. If you hand gets tired, put the pumpkin down and take a break. A detailed pattern may take at least 4 hours to complete.
- Hold the saw like a pencil. Push it in and out of the pumpkin flesh. The saw will cut its way through in its own. Don’t force it.
- Your saw should always be perpendicular to the surface of the pumpkin, and it should always be on a line to the center of the pumpkin.
- Remove pieces of pumpkin parts with your fingers, not with the saw. Be sure the piece is completely free. If it won’t come out, cut it into smaller subsections.
- Start at the center of the design and work outwards, each time you remove a piece of the design, the pumpkin gets weaker.
- Leave large pieces in until the end, so that your pumpkin’s facial surface doesn’t get weak while you’re sawing other areas.
- Up close the pumpkin may not look as good or as smooth as you want. Wait until your pumpkin is lit and in the dark to make the final corrections.