Everyone knows how to carve a pumpkin. It is a simple matter to take a sharp knife and cut a few triangles and a wide toothy grin, but some people spend hours creating unique pieces of art. There are many different techniques. Here are some neat ideas to inspire you!
No matter what kind of Jack O'Lantern you decide is right for you. the first step is selecting a good pumpkin. The shape of the pumpkin should match the shape of the design you have in mind. Or, you can pick your pumpkin first and decide on a design that will suit it later.
For a basic jack-o'-lantern, you'll need:
- A large boning knife
- A small paring knife
- A large spoon or ice cream scoop
- A bowl
- A dry-erase marker or grease pencil
- An apron
- A damp cloth or paper towel
Pumpkin carving tips:
Some people prefer to cut a lid from the bottom rather than the top, since this can make it easier to replace and light candles.We have a video demonstrating this on our Facebook page.
If carving your lid in the top of your Jack O'Lantern the circle should be about two-thirds the diameter of the pumpkin. It's a good idea to include a small notch in the circle to help you align the lid correctly when you replace it. Cut along the line using the boning knife. Point the knife inward (toward the center of the pumpkin) at about a 45-degree angle. This will keep the lid from falling down into the pumpkin.
Scrape the inside of the pumpkin clean with the spoon or ice cream scoop. The more of the pumpkin you scrape away, the more light will shine through the surface. Make sure you scrape the bottom until it is flat so your light source won't fall over inside the pumpkin.
Sanitize your pumpkin with bleach to make it last longer.
You can use a keyhole saw instead of a paring knife to cut out the details in your pumpkin. A keyhole saw is sharp and maneuverable and by using a sawing motion, you can cut with it quickly and accurately. You can buy keyhole saws at craft supply stores and hardware stores. They're often included in pumpkin carving kits as well.
You can even use spices to make a scented Jack O'Lanterns!
Hold your knife at a slight inward angle as you cut out your design rather than cutting straight through the pumpkin. This will leave a thin rim of visible pumpkin flesh around each hole. When you light your jack-o'-lantern, this will create an orange glow around your design. You can use different cutting angles to create patterns of light and shadow on your pumpkin's surface.
You can use leftover pieces of pumpkin to make ears, eyes, or a nose by attaching these pieces using toothpicks, glue, or carving notches for them to fit into.
Share a picture of your Jack O'Lantern on our Facebook page!