In this instructable, I'm going to show you how to carve a pumpkin with the face of the Silence.
The Silence are an alien race from Doctor Who.
What makes them really interesting is that you simply forget seeing them as soon as you look away from them. This allows them to manipulate human beings without being discovered. I think they're rather scary and went along with my Doctor Who themed Halloween (I dressed as a Weeping Angel).
I could tell you more, but, you know, spoilers.
Step 1: Choose Wisely
You are going to begin by choosing a pumpkin. It's important to find a pumpkin that will suit the design you want to carve into it. For example, the Silence are characters who are tall and thin, so try and find a pumpkin that is tall and thin as well.
Your ideal pumpkin should be:
Ungouged (even the smallest dent will invite mold and rot)
Firm (soft spots mean rot has already taken hold)
Has a large workable surface
Ideally, you'd have the time to carve this the day before Halloween. However, if you won't have the time, feel free to carve it a few days before and then give it a good spray with some food safe bleach, as described in step 6.
Step 2: Tools and Gizmos
Now that you have your pumpkin, you'll need some tools. This year, I bought a standard, drug store carving kit, and was pleased with the results.
For this project you'll need:
1 pumpkin scraping spoon
1 medium tooth carving saw
1 fine tooth carving saw
1 serrated steak knife
1 lino cutting tool with a u-shaped blade
1 pumpkin kit pumpkin pusher
1 tool to break the skin of the pumpkin
Candle and lighter
You can get the lino cutting tool at any art store. I like it for carving into the surface, rather than cutting through the pumpkin.
You can also use power tools. In the past I've used dremel tools to carve pumpkins and it's worked out great. Always be cautious with power tools and wear appropriate safety equipment.
Step 3: Cleaning
It's time to clean up the pumpkin and prepare your work surface.
If you're like me and got your pumpkin off a farm, you'll need to give it a bath before carving. Bathe and dry it before setting it on your work surface.
Take the newspaper and cover the entire area you'll be working on. Have a large bowl at the ready for disposing of pumpkin bits.
Step 4: The Bits
The typical instruction for carving a pumpkin is to cut a circle in the top. This is folly. Instead, create a semi-circle in the top with an attached, irregular polygon.
This will make it much easier to clean out the pumpkin and to light the candle inside of it.
Remove all of the pumpkin guts and put them into the large bowl. If you like, clean and bake the pumpkin seeds.
Step 5: The Refrence
Choose your reference picture and print it off. Then, using a sharpie, highlight the areas that you want to carve.
Remember, you need to carve the lightest portions of the picture but also leave enough pumpkin that the design doesn't collapse in on itself.
Draw your design on your pumpkin. If you make a mistake, remove the marker with the rubbing alcohol and Q-tips. For example, the first time I drew it on, I made the head much too large and needed to start again.
Make the design smaller than you think you'll need.
Step 6: Carve!
Carve the pumpkin, targeting the smallest, most delicate area's first. Use the tool with the circular blade to break the skin of the pumpkin before carving, this makes it much easier to insert the saw.
I find that it's essential to take out the delicate bits before the larger areas to preserve structural integrity. In essence, removing the largest bits first weakens the pumpkin and you're more likely to rip the flesh.
Be careful and go slowly.
Remove large areas in pieces rather than one big piece.
When you're done, use your rubbing alcohol and Q-tips to clean up any remaining marker.
If you need to keep this pumpkin for a few days, make a food safe bleach mixture (500ml water and 2.5 ml bleach ) and using a spray bottle, coat all the expose sections of the pumpkin. So, the inside, outside, lid and cut areas. This will keep mold from forming but will not prevent rot. Spray your pumpkin everyday and you should be able to keep it for 5 - 9 days, depending on humidity.
Step 7: Light and Enjoy!
Light up your pumpkin using a candle. I like the ones in jars because they're less likely to spill wax everywhere.
I've used a small, LED light in the past and it works just as well.
Voila! Enjoy your pumpkin and your imminently forgetful trick-or-treaters.