Why don’t your Halloween pumpkins turn out like the neighbors? You both used the same intricate pattern. Yours turned out looking like a kindergarten art project, while hers is drawing crowds. There are tips and tricks for using Halloween pumpkin carving patterns. If you do it right, they make you look like a pumpkin Michelangelo. Carving a jack-o-lantern should be fun. Knowing a few tricks for using the carving patterns can make it less of a chore.
Pick your pumpkin well.
Look for a pumpkin with a less rounded face. This will help when you map out the design on the pumpkin. Make sure the pumpkin is large enough for the design you wish to use. These two things can save you a lot of time and frustration.
Use the right knife.
Many people make the mistake of trying to carve their pumpkin with a large knife. It’s best to use a small flexible serrated blade especially made for carving the intricate designs of a pumpkin carving pattern. The only time a large knife should be used is when cutting the top circle for scooping out the pumpkin.
Scoop, then carve.
This tip is for pumpkin carving beginners. Use a large knife to cut a 6-10 inch circle at the top of the pumpkin around the stem. Remove the circle, using the stem as a handle. Scoop and scrape the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin and it’s cap. Save the seeds for roasting.
Tape it on first.
Once your pumpkin has been scooped and scraped, it’s time to begin. Start by taping the paper pumpkin carving pattern smoothly and securely to the front of the pumpkin. This makes a huge difference in your end product. Be sure it’s positioned correctly.
Make pin holes.
With a large needle, make pin holes through the paper and into the pumpkin. The pinholes should follow the black drawing lines of the pumpkin carving pattern. The pinholes should be about a half inch apart. Remove the paper and set it down beside your future Halloween jack-o-lantern for reference.
Color in the area to be cut out.
Use a dark, washable (in case of mistakes) marker to color in the areas of the pumpkin that will be cut out when you’re finished. This step can save you a lot of frustration. It’s so easy to cut on the wrong line and end up cutting out what should have been left in.
Cut the colored area out slowly.
Cut from dot to dot along the border of the area you filled in with marker. Cut very slowly and carefully. Art is never a race. Sawing gently back and forth and keeping the blade at a slight angle will yield the best results.
Seal it with acrylic spray.
Here’s a tip most people don’t think about. Ever wonder why your neighbors pumpkin lasts longer than yours? Smart pumpkin carvers know to spray the outside of their finished jack-o-lantern with spray craft acrylic. This will keep it from rotting prematurely and ruining your carving pattern design.
Use battery operated tea lights, not candles.
You’ve sprayed your pumpkin with acrylic spray. It can be flammable. Electric tea lights are a hassle free way of lighting your pumpkin. Just switch them on and place them in the pumpkin. No burning pumpkin. No worry about them falling over. No fire hazard.
Portions of this article were also published on a now closed Yahoo property.