DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Pumpkin Carving Patterns
© by Leanne Guenther
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Step by Step Instructions:
- Prepare your pumpkin by:
- Cut a hole in the top for the lid. Make sure you angle the saw inwards so your lid sits on top of the pumpkin and doesn’t just fall through.
- Scoop out the seeds and strings with a spoon.
- Scrape some of the flesh from the inside so your
pumpkin is about an inch thick all the way around (or at least wherever you’ll be carving). You
can poke a straight pin through it to estimate the thickness.
- Print out the pattern.
- Trim off excess paper.
- Tape or use pins to affix the pattern to the pumpkin.
- If your pumpkin is quite lumpy, dip the paper in water or vegetable oil (the oil will make printer ink run less, but makes the project quite slippery).
- Smooth the pattern onto the pumpkin, affix with pins or masking tape and let the paper dry.
- You can also make small cuts in the paper where it bunches so it lies flat on the pumpkin. Add pins or tape to hold.
Poke holes through the pattern with a
nail, push pin or pumpkin poker. Make the holes about 1/8th inch apart (or even closer for more complicated patterns). This step
can take quite awhile so be patient. Just place the pumpkin in your lap and work away at it.
- Remove the paper from the pumpkin.
- Optional: Rub flour or chalk dust all over the part where you poked the holes so you can see them better.
- Push a nail through the pumpkin skin where you want to start carving.
- Turn and push until it’s all the way into the pumpkin, then remove.
- Repeat anywhere you're going to need to start carving (eyes, nose, etc).
- You want to do all the pushing before you start carving because it take some pressure (once you start carving, the
pumpkin becomes weaker and applying pressure may cause it to break).
- Using your nail hole as a starting point, cut the design with your serrated knife or saw.
- start somewhere in the center of the
design to keep from putting too much pressure on areas already carved.
- Use a sawing motion to cut out your design, using very light pressure… take your time and allow the sawing to do the work rather than applying
pressure and forcing it.
- When making curves, just slightly turn the saw. When making sharp corners, remove the saw and re-insert it at an angle.
- To remove pieces, push them out from the inside. For larger pieces, you may want to cut them into smaller bits and remove them in sections.
Once your pumpkin is all set, use a pumpkin light
(safer than a candle) or a candle in a candleholder designed for pumpkins to light it up.
- Light the candle and place it on a piece of aluminum foil inside the pumpkin. Put the lid on. Let it sit a minute.
- Remove the lid and there should be a smoke mark on it.
- Cut a vent in the lid where the smoke mark shows.
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Printable version of these instructions