Introduction: How to Carve a Pumpkin Owl

About: Hello my name is Jennifer Douglas and I have been a textile artist for the last 25 years since graduating from West Surrey College of Art and Design. I specialise in making and teaching silkpainting and batik …

Happy Halloween!

I've always loved the job of carving the pumpkin for Halloween and it's made more special for me by using a homegrown one. I enjoy tending to them throughout the Summer and carrying those endless buckets of water in the hope of producing something worthy, but maybe small can be even more beautiful..........

I'd like to show you how to create this cute owl using basic cutting tools and a very manageable sized pumpkin!


Step 1: What You Will Need

A pumpkin, choose a shape which will make a good owl body. ( This is my crop for the year! )

An owl sketch on paper

A kitchen knife, for cutting the lid open.

An apple core cutter, for making the center of the eyes.

A small scalpel craft knife.

Step 2: Preparing Your Pumpkin

Using a stout kitchen knife cut the lid of your pumpkin, keeping the knife at a 45 degree angle, to allow the lid to sit back in position well.

Remove all seeds and dry, save and grow more pumpkins with next year!

Remove all flesh with a spoon for those lovely pumpkin soups and pumpkin pies.

Now your ready to draw your design on to the pumpkin

Step 3: Applying Your Design

I'm using an owl template that I use for my silkpainting designs and thought it would be fun to see it translated on a pumpkin.

You could try tracing it onto the pumpkin, but I prefer to sketch free hand using the drawing just as a guide.

I used a pencil to lightly sketch the owl first and when happy with the shape and size of the design, used a biro to make the lines clearer to carve from.

Step 4: Cutting the Eyes

Firstly, I used an apple core cutter and made 2 holes all the way through the pumpkin, which just happened to be the perfect size for the centers of the eyes.

Then I used the small scalpel knife to cut into the skin of the pumpkin, removing the orange layer but not going all the way through.

Step 5: Carving the Feathers

Once the eyes were done, it's on with the tummy feathers.

Still using the small scalpel I began by carefully cutting out the scale like curves in the middle section.

Light pressure with the knife gave a good initial curve which I carved deeper into, revealing the different tones.

I then worked the larger feathers on the wings, cutting each feather in half lengthways to reveal the 2 shades again.

I later decided more light might be needed so carved narrow slits right through the skin in the feathery wing areas.

Step 6: Carving Complete!

I finished the carving with some small feet, and forehead details and then ta dah.....

The Pumpkin Owl was complete!

Step 7: Happy Halloween 2015!

I think the Pumpkin Owl looks cute on his perch in the crabapple tree, but looks quite magical all lit up in the dark too.

Have fun carving your pumpkin!

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