The Pumpkin King




Introduction: The Pumpkin King

Hello everyone! I've been on instructables for a long time and I browsed projects for a while before I made an account, but this is my first instructable project! This project was made for the pumpkin carving contest, with inspiration from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. Who better to make into a Jack O' Lantern than Jack, the Pumpkin King?

This project can be done with only a pumpkin and household items, and you get a neat projected word at the end, which you can change to suit your fancy!

Since the process itself is pretty simple, I won't take any more time with an introduction. I hope you enjoy this instructable and gain some inspiration from it for your own pumpkins!

If you like the project, please vote for it in the pumpkin carving contest!

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Step 1: What You Need:

  • A pumpkin (real or foam works)
  • A few sharp knives. Serrated works better; make sure one is thin for fine details
  • A heavy duty spoon (for scraping the inside)
  • Dry erase markers
  • Newspaper/plastic tarp (for covering table)
  • Bowl (for guts)
  • Tea lights and matches/lighter

Step 2: Prepping the Pumpkin

If you've ever carved a pumpkin before, skip this step.

  1. Lay out the newspaper on the table or surface on which you're carving the pumpkin. Using a big serrated knife, cut a hole out around the stem of the pumpkin. This can be circular, rectangular, jagged, or any other pattern you want it to be as long as you can take the top off afterwards.
  2. Take your heavy duty spoon or an ice cream scoop and scrape off the inner walls of the pumpkin. Make sure to clear off all the stringy goop because it can cover up the letters later and your projection won't work as well.
  3. Save the pumpkin seeds in a bowl so you can bake them afterwards.

Step 3: Carving the Front

  1. This pumpkin is great because you don't need to be an artist to do it. I just looked at a picture of Jack Skellington's face that I found at Looking at the photo I used a dry erase marker to draw an outline on my pumpkin.
  2. Dry erase markers work really well because you can erase and redraw as many times as you want until you think it looks perfect. However you need to be careful because you can smudge the lines when you are carving, so be careful not to touch your lines while carving.
  3. Once the lines are drawn to your liking cut out the spaces inside them. The nostrils need a smaller knife, as do some of the lines on the mouth. I found that the mouth looks better if it looks a little bit open. To cut the lines that radiate from the mouth I just made vertical slices away from the mouth on the top and bottom. I didn't try to cut wedges out, but feel free to experiment with what you think looks good.

Step 4: Carving the Back

  1. Again, this can be done freeform, or you could print out the letters and trace them by poking holes through the paper taped to the pumpkin.
  2. The most important part of this step is that the word MUSTbe backwards (see image above). This means that to spell the word "KING" the "K" must be on the right, and must be facing backwards, then the "I" to the left (which is symmetrical) and so on. If you do this correctly, the letters will be readable when projected.
  3. Write the letters on in dry erase marker (I did this about 3 times before I liked the placement). Then cut them out using a small serrated knife for accuracy. To make them project better, cut with the knife angled radially in toward the center of the pumpkin, where you want the light to be placed.
  4. Take time with this. After you are done cutting, you can test it with a tea light and hold a piece of paper up to see how it looks, then make adjustments until you are happy with the results. You can also adjust the position of the tea light until the most light projects through all of the letters.

Step 5: Strategically Place the Pumpkin

For the most effect, place the pumpkin in a dark space with a light-colored wall behind it. Adjust it until it looks perfect, and then enjoy your hard work with some baked pumpkin seeds.

Thanks for taking the time to read this! I hope you vote for my project, and if the project quality wasn't enough to gain your vote, there's a food bonus below to convince you!

Bonus: For reading all the way to the end of a pumpkin carving instructable I'll let you in on a secret. If you use the recipe for spiced nuts found on the back of an allspice container on your pumpkin seeds, replace the egg white with butter, and bake at 300 degrees for around 45 minutes- 1 hour (or until lightly browned), you've got some really good sweet pumpkin seeds. Mix the seeds with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of allspice, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 4 tablespoons of butter (half a stick) before baking. Adjust the amounts based on the number of pumpkin seeds you have. (More sugar is always better)

Pumpkin Carving Contest 2016

Participated in the
Pumpkin Carving Contest 2016

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    4 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago


    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Nice. You could project all kinds of things. You could even make a Jack o lantern that projects the face of a Jack o lantern behind it.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Yeah, you could also make some pretty complex text/pictures on a computer and reverse them before printing to make some neat designs.