We all miss Harambe the Gorilla.
What better way to commemorate him than by putting his likeness on a pumpkin for a Halloween jack-o-lantern? This instructable will show you how to do just that! And this method can work for more than just apes. Feel free to come up with your own creative character or portrait and make it glow through your own gourd.
Step 1: Collect Your Supplies
Here are a few of the items you'll want to have on-hand for this project.
- A Pumpkin
- Dremel Rotary Tool
- Carving/Engraving Bit
- Thumbtacks or Toothpicks
- Drop cloth or Tarp
- Safety Glasses (yes, really)
- OPTIONAL: towels, stiff bristled brushes, permanent markers, apron
Step 2: Posterize Your Image
You can turn any photograph into a jack-o-lantern.
Use Photoshop (or photo editing software of your choice) to "Posterize" your high-resolution image. If you don't have one, there are online tools you can also use.
For my pumpkin, I've chosen a public domain image of our stoic hero, but you could even use a personal photograph. Be sure to choose a picture with extreme shadows and highlights for best results, and limit the number of poster layers to 2 or 3.
Print it as big as your pumpkin (full page usually works).
It is VERY USEFUL to print two copies.
Step 3: Prepare Your Pumpkin
You have to hollow your pumpkin before you carve your pumpkin.
Pretty standard jack-o-lantern cut and dump, but with a twist.
- Cut away the bottom of the pumpkin, not the top.
This helps in two ways: First, it distracts less from your image. Second, it makes the addition of a light later even easier.
- Cut a notch in the jack-o-lantern bottom.
Unfortunately, my pumpkin had a bit of rot, but you can see in the image how this was done. This will make lining up the two separate pieces of you pumpkin easier when adding/removing your light.
- Use a big spoon, or your own hands to pull out the "guts" of your melon.
I just throw it all away, but I know some folks like to roast the seeds for a seasonal snack.
Step 4: Find Your Light
What's a jack-o-lantern without light?
Sure, you can use a little battery-powered bulb, or a traditional candle, but I like the consistency and power of an actual electric bulb.
I have an old lamp bulb fixture I save and use every year for this project. If you don't have one of your own, you could easily disassemble a phony jack-o-lantern like the one pictured, and use the light for your own project. It doesn't take a lot of wattage-- I've used a 40W bulb for Harambe.
Step 5: Transfer Your Image
Time to put the face on the pumpkin.
I didn't have thumbtacks handy, so I substituted toothpicks for this step. A thumbtack/needle/push-pin works way better than a toothpick.
First, I pin the page to the pumpkin in a few select places to hold it in place. This will help us transfer the design without too much distortion due to paper wrinkling.
Next, you're going to "outline" around all important areas with a series of small dots. This would be any place your posterized layers meet. Outline where black meets grey, where grey meets white, where white meets black, etc, by poking directly through one of your printouts.
Step 6: Cut Your Whites
The white areas of your image are where you'll want the light to shine through.
Begin the cutting part of your jack-o-lantern by using a knife to completely remove any and all white areas, like you would a traditional jack-o-lantern. I cut directly through the print-out (this is why duplicates is recommended).
Be very selective with this step. You do not want so many white areas to interconnect that the black and gray areas fall out of your design.
Step 7: Outline Your Blacks
The black parts of your design print-out are the parts of your jack-o-lantern that will remain uncarved.
You'll finally get to use the Dremel for this step! PUT ON YOUR SAFETY GLASSES.
Use the Dremel's engraving bit to outline around each black area from the printout. It is important to keep track of which areas these are, because you'll need to work around them the rest of the time.
I elect to take the optional step of redrawing these sections with an orange-colored permanent marker. This helps me keep track of them while I work, and also blends into the pumpkin skin enough to not show up when complete.
Step 8: Carve Your Greys
This is the most time-consuming step of the entire process.
Using the Dremel (and wearing your safety glasses), you'll carve out all the grey areas from your print-out. The deeper your carve with the bit, the more light will show through in the end. The more shallow you carve, the less light will show.
This will create a mess. The Dremel bit will throw bits of pumpkin pulp all over your work area, which is why you'll need eye protection and a drop cloth. I also recommend an apron, a hat, and any other coverage you may require. I do this in my garage. I once did this indoors, and realized the error of my ways as I was scraping dried pumpkin bits off my ceiling.
A brush and/or rag can be useful during this step, to help clear wet pulp out from your design.
Step 9: Finish Your Pumpkin
Fine-tune your design until it looks exactly how you like it.
These jack-o-lanterns will look really odd in the light. Don't lose faith.
Keep carving, cutting, and perfecting yours. I keep the light on inside the pumpkin, and the second print-out by my side, and meticulously carve out the pumpkin flesh. If it needs to be lighter, keep carving with the Dremel. If it needs to be darker, uhh... you can't make it darker, so plan and perform carefully.
Step 10: Enjoy Your Halloween With Harambe
Harambe doesn't get to celebrate this Halloween.
So, let's celebrate with him in jack-o-lantern form.
Have fun, and have a safe and happy Halloween!