Introduction: Attack of Gourdzilla: Dino-Pumpkin
Using DNA derived from a pumpkin bug trapped in prehistoric amber, I was able to wrest Gourdzilla from the stone clutches of extinction. Of course this begs the eternal question facing all of us engaged in scientific pursuit: Just because we can, does that mean we should?
I'll leave such questions to the philosophers. Let me just point out that there is no evidence whatsoever that the pets that have suddenly gone missing in my neighborhood are in any way connected to the Gourdzilla Project, and nobody really liked that obnoxious pomeranian down the street anyway.
Step 1: Find an Inspiring Mutant
While strolling though the pumpkin patch, this freakish monstrosity just screamed "carve me into a dinosaur!"
Visit a rural farm with free-range pumpkins that refuse to grow into perfect little fascist spheres... you're bound to find the occasional treasure.
Once you've found the head, you'll need to shop for the rest of the body: a huge "pear" for a torso, a plump belly, assorted ovals to slice in half for thighs, a slim & tall one for the neck, and progressively smaller pumpkins for a tapered tail. The rest (arms & legs & feet and such) will be made out of either additional pumpkins, or out of the pile of remnants you'll be manufacturing.
Step 2: Build the Skeleton
Your Gourdzilla needs a skeleton if it's going to strike fear in the hearts of small children.
A welded steel skeleton would be less obtrusive (you'd want to rust-proof), but I used 1/2-inch plywood, which has many advantages: it's easily filled with holes to help with mounting, and, if you happen to be me, you have some in your garage already so it's free. Your goal is to construct a "pumpkin rack," upon which you will hang your pumpkin bits (ironically, using wire hangers).
Cut the Body with a jigsaw first, then the hips, then the legs, then the shoulders and arms. Note: I ended up chopping off the "nose" of the skeleton to better fit my dino-head: your mileage will vary.
Be sure to get the slots pointed in the right directions, so that gravity will hold your skeleton together.
Unless you're crafting to impressive tolerances, your skeleton will be a bit wobbly when assembled. A few well-placed screws will remove the wobble and improve portability.
Place Pipe insulation (foam tube with a split down one side: get some at your local hardware store or rip it off of your pipes) along the "pumpkin-bearing" top edge. This will keep the plywood from cutting into the pumpkin.
Step 3: Carve the Head
I do "relief" carving rather than cutting out shapes, but a dinosaur-shaped creature will still "read" as a dinosaur-shaped creature, even if it has equilateral-triangle-eyeballs.
Figure out where your critter's eyes are, and start there. Symmetry is not crucial When you're making a snarling beast, misaligned or bulging eyes are perfectly fine. Besides, these are funny-looking pumpkins; it's really difficult to make them symmetrical.
Deep "wrinkle" effects are achieved by making a deep "V" cut (halfway through the thickness), then curving the sides of the cut to a more gradual contour.
Don't neglect the gums when carving 3-D relief teeth. Again, symmetry is not important: your beast may have lost a tooth here and there (perhaps during pomeranian consumption).
(For more pumpkin-relief-carving tips, see my other pumpkin-structables:
Step 4: Body Building
My Gourdzilla is part orange, part green... leaving some of the pumpkin's skin on here and there adds to durability, longevity and color.
Drill small holes here and there in the plywood skeleton, and bend a bit of wire hangar into a hole. Curve the other end up into a smooth 4-inch curve, which will serve as a "hook" upon which you can impale your dino-parts.
Cut notches in your pumpkin parts to help them to exploit gravity, resting against the plywood or against each other. Then wire them in as needed.
The "belly" pumpkin received intersecting 1/2" slots, allowing it to slide down onto the plywood frame. Slots were short at first, gradually lengthened them with a paring knife until the entire pumpkin settled into place.
I also left an inch or two of wire sticking out, so I could bend the exposed tip of the cut wire back on itself and plug it back into the pumpkin to reduce the risk of being stabbed. Mainly because if the wound were indeed grievous enough to warrant medical attention, it would be really hard to explain to the doctor what happened.
Step 5: Raarrrr!
Unleash Gourdzilla into your community.
Best not to supervise too closely: that way you can still have plausible deniability when law enforcement shows up with their incessant questions about where Fido went.
For more fun with pumpkins, see my other pumpkin-structables: