PUMPKIN CARVING WITH STENCILS
You can carve some truly
beautiful and artistic pumpkins freehand, but if you want to create really detailed
carvings you'll want to use a stencil. And all you'll need is a couple of extra tools to cut out the patterns.
is step by step photo-tutorial on how to carve your pumpkins from a stencil. The pattern
we choose is an example of a very simple design, but you can do just about anything. Use
your imagination and they'll come to life!
Click here for instructions
on making your own pumpkin carving stencils.
A Carving Saw
is essential for carving fine, detailed areas, but can be used for the entire
A Transfer Tool is used to transfer your
designs onto the face of the pumpkin.
Carving Stencils can be
drawn either freehand onto paper or use your computer to make your pattern.
Prepare the pumpkin as you
would for basic carving, i.e. cut out the top hole and gut the pumpkin out. Select the
paper stencil you want to use and trim the excess paper from it with scissors. Be sure to
leave at least a 1/2 inch border for the tape to go on. Attach the stencil to the face of the pumpkin with
tape. Top first, then the bottom and lastly the sides. You may have to crease the stencil
to tape the corners, if so, try to make the creases where the pattern will be distorted
Using the Transfer Tool,
press the pointed tip into and through the design lines on the paper stencil spaced about
a 1/8 of an inch apart. Complex and thin designs might require the dots to be a little
closer together. The tip of the
Transfer Tool should be pushed in just enough to go through the paper and
the outer skin of the pumpkin, not all the way through the pumpkin.
It's important that you take
your time when transferring the pattern from the stencil. Remember, you're making guide
lines for sawing. Before removing the stencil, look it over carefully to make sure that
all the lines have been transferred clearly. Once the paper stencil is removed you'll see
the outline of the stencils pattern marked on the face of the pumpkin via little dots.
Once you remove the stencil be sure to save it in case you need to refer to it
Using the Carving Saw,
push the tip of the saw-blade into a pattern hole and saw through the design lines with
short back-and-forth motions. Basically, you're playing "connect the dots". It's important to remember that these are
"saws", not knives. The saw is not used in the same way as a knife. You never
cut with it, you saw with it.
Take your time and follow the pattern edges carefully. Always align the saw blade to
make the cuts straight into the pumpkin. When making sharp corners, remove the saw and
re-insert it at the new angle. To
make removal of the pieces easier you can cut them into smaller section while still in the
pumpkin. Then carefully push out all of the cut pieces
with your finger or an un-sharpened pencil.
Once you've removed all of the
cut pieces, carefully trim the inside edges of the pumpkin of any excess flesh with the
Carving Saw or a small knife. We like to carve the excess off at about a 45 degree angle.
This allows more light to come through, showing your design to it's fullest. Remove any cut pieces that have fallen inside the
pumpkin from your carving. Coat the edges with petroleum jelly. (See our pumpkin
Your finished pumpkin should
look like the one on the right. The silhouette, in this case a cat, should be clearly
visible. When picking a design to use, make sure that it will be clear when finished. We
tried a tombstone with hands clawing up, it looked cool but you couldn't tell what the
hands were until you looked at it for a while. Adding a lit candle to it made it a bit
easier to figure out.