Carving pumpkins isn't really very difficult, but it is pretty messy. And you have to have the right tools. As you can see from the picture below, my laptop and my coffee are both critical to the process
- Line your work surface with newspaper to make clean-up a snap (or fold, whatever).
- Have plenty of paper towels to wipe your hands and/or the pumpkin.
- You will need a heavy, sharp knife to cut the top off your pumpkin; something with which to scoop out the pumpkin guts (I love the serrated plastic spoon above that my friend gave me, but a ladle works too); a smaller knife, or special battery-operated cutting tool to carve your design (I don't know where I got mine, but it's like a mini-jigsaw and it is AMAZING!)
- When you cut the top (lid) off your pumpkin, be sure to cut in on an angle so you can lay the lid back on afterwards.
- I always use two bowls for the debris, so I can separate out the seeds for roasting as I go.
to be scooped
I always used to carve my pumpkins free-hand. The result wasn't always pretty, but usually pretty scary. Then I tried drawing a design first, before going all mad with the blade. But for the last couple of years I am all about templates. There are lots of online sources for free, printable templates. Here are a few you might want to check out:
Disney Character Templates, from Disney
Spoonful - courtesy of Disney (these are non-Disney patterns)
Better Homes and Gardens
Once you have selected your template (think about the size and shape of your pumpkin and what will fit best), print it out and get ready to carve. You could use the template as a guide and draw the design freehand onto your pumpkin, but it is much easier (in my opinion) to tape your template on, and then use a sharp point to mark your pattern onto the pumpkin's surface, right through the paper. Many pumpkin carving kits come with a little punch for this purpose, but I used a cocktail pick.
When you have transferred your pattern onto the pumpkin, remove the template and get carving. Depending on the complexity of your pattern, your little pokes may be hard to follow. Be sure to keep the template close by for comparison.
|You can see how complex the pattern can look without context.|
Refer to the template if you need a reminder.