Introduction: Pumpkin Carving; Tips and Tricks!
Carving Pumpkins has been a long standing and much enjoyed holiday tradition! With this instructable, we hope to open up some new ideas and possibilities that maybe haven't been fully explored.
This Instructable will cover four sections
1. Materials and Prep.
2. Basic Carving
3. Using Some Power Tools!
4. Pumpkin Chipping.
Step 1: Materials and Prep
So you are feeling a bit of Halloween Spirit? Or maybe have a competition for décor or just want a nice fall piece of art to display on your porch? Well you will need a few things first!
Depending on the project and what you have in mind to carve depends on the type of pumpkin you get. For the ones we are carving, we chose large, round pumpkins to provide a deep surface perfecting for carving.
Unless you have a sturdy table that you don't mind getting pumpkin guts all over, this is a must!, We recommend getting enough to put down at least two layers over the table to soak up any starch and juice that comes from your pumpkins.
-Sharpies / Pens
These will be invaluable in putting your designs onto the pumpkins.
-The most important and basic tools you will need are a good knife (preferably serrated) and a spoon, usually the larger the better. These will come in handy throughout the process
-Other optional tools that we used (and need for the latter parts of this instructable) include:
- A power drill
- Toothpicks (for cleaning and small details)
- An art knife set.
-There are lots of other tools to use as well
- One example was the wood burning iron, if we had burned designs into a pumpkin it would have provided an awesome daytime appearance to go with its nighttime show.
Now that you have everything you need, make sure the pumpkins are ready to go, set up a table, and clean off any dirt or grime that may hinder your carvings later. For the largest pumpkin we had, it was covered in dirt and we actually ended up rinsing it off in the tub first.
Step 2: Basic Carving!
The first thing you want to do is to core your pumpkin.
--The easiest and most traditional way to do this is to take a sharpie and mark a ring of some sort around the stem at the top, it doesn't happen to be a perfect circle, and in fact, the more points you have on the design, the better it will hold in the pumpkin instead of falling inside with time.
--Take a knife and cut out on the circle you drew. Note: if you angle the knife towards the stem of the pumpkin and make more of a cone it will hold better in the pumpkin.
--Remove the newly cut stem
--Now for the fun part! Take the spoon and core out the pumpkin to remove all of the seeds and pulp from inside. The more you remove, the better since now that the seeds and strings are exposed to air they will decay over time causing your pumpkin to rot faster.
--The pulp and seeds will also need to be removed from the cut top, so take your knife, and cut about a quarter inch from the start of the seeds and pulp and remove it.
Once the pumpkin is cored and prepped, it is time to carve!
The most basic style of carving is with a design and removing negative space. We have the three templates that we used in this instructable provided here if you would like to make the ones made here.
(Note: a grayscale template is the easiest to use and will make carving easier)
With the Mocking Jay design, we took the template and traced it out with the knife while it is taped to the face of the pumpkin. Then we took a knife and cut away the whitespace leaving the bird and the arrow in the middle.
This can be done with many different designs and styles allowing for many options and most pumpkins are carved this way.
Take the marker and draw a design or face on the pumpkin and carve away! Remember, if you make a shape that is free standing (example: the middle of a donut) it will fall and needs structure to keep in place. Toothpicks are a great means of support and don't drastically interfere with the shadows cast from the pumpkin at night. Just take a toothpick and pin the free standing pieces to the sides of the main pumpkin to hold them in place.
Step 3: Using Some Power Tools!
For this section, we showcased the use of a drill in a little unconventional carving.
-Using the Hogwarts sketch, we printed and attached it to the side of our pumpkin.
-We then traced the outline of the castle with a knife to provide an outline on the pumpkin.
-Then we scored the surface of the castle and cut it away until we had just a white outline of the pumpkin remaining.
-Once the outline was visible, we took the power drill and used the largest bit we had and needed to smooth the surface to create an even layer. We held the drill parallel to the surface of the pumpkin and used the bit to carve a smooth surface.
-With the surface smooth, We looked again at the printed sketch of Hogwarts. By taking smaller bits, we drilled out the windows, bridges, and other small spaces that wouldn't have been accessible without drill bits. We found that some of the bits were too small to actually drill all the way through the pumpkin, to solve this, we took our spoon and carved more of the inside away to make the wall of the pumpkin thin enough to carve.
-Again using drill bits, we added a starry sky to improve the display.
Step 4: Pumpkin Chipping.
Pumpkin Chipping is the process of chipping away the outer rind of the pumpkin to expose the "meat" underneath, providing a material that semi permits light to shine through depending on thickness.
To showcase this style, we took the Death Star template since the shape of this pumpkin would make a great model for the planet destroyer.
This design was meant to be a 360 degree carving, so we scored the entire face of the pumpkin except for the top and bottoms to allows for a base, then we chipped away all of the orange rind to reveal the white underneath.
Once we had gotten a fairly smooth surface, we decided to model the pumpkin, taking the dark lines of the Death Star and cutting them deeper so that more light would shine through in those areas. This is especially noticeable in the laser beam where we carved a circle in the middle so thin that it let a lot of light shine, then we carved the six grooves around the edges to be angled to provide the cone effect that the disc has.
And there is the finished product! A glowing pumpkin death star of your very own!
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