Tis the season for all things spooky, creative incognitos, and pumpkin carving!
Ever since I was a little girl, I'd look forward to the month of October for all of the reasons every kid does! But one of the small things that would always catch my eye, were the gorgeously glowing Jack-o-Lanterns. Growing up, I never tried carving a pumpkin of my own. And now at 23 years old and always seeking all kinds of creative outlets, I've decided to give pumpkin carving a shot. And I am so glad I did, having discovered a lovely Halloween passtime!
Not to toot my own horn, but I think I did a pretty awesome job creating my first Jack-O-Lantern! I found the craft to be incredibly relaxing, therapeutic, and inspiring. The kinds of influences I love to embrace!
I documented my pumpkin carving experience through a step by step procedure, hoping to give off some crafty inspiration! Check it out and maybe you'll want to bring some pumpkins to life too!
Hope this guide will help you create a spooooky Jack-O-Lantern!
*Click on the pictures for a better view!
As I mentioned before, I have never gone anywhere near pumpkin carving. So I decided I was going to need some fancy carving tools. Stopping by Walgreens, I came across this Pumpkin Carving kit including all the tools you'll need to help you create your pumpkin. It also brings a handy book providing steps, tips, and cute Halloween stencils you can use on your pumpkin design. ALL OF THIS FOR JUST 5 BUCKS!! I recommend this kit to everyone!! It helped me TONS!
You can find more pumpkin kits at supermarkets, arts and crafts stores, or your local pharmacies.
medium-large pumpkin (as unbruised as possible)
newspaper or wax paper to work on
garbage bag nearby
2 small saws *
small drill *
pounce wheel *
large steak knife
candle or battery powered light/glowstick (optional)
* included in kit
You start off by removing the top of your pumpkin. Instead of just diving in a butchering your orange friend away, I suggest starting off by perforating your pumpkin, creating a guideline on where to cut. Kind of like connect the dots. I used the small drill to do this.
I traced out a zig-zag design, but you can do a regular circle too if that's easier for you.
Once you're done outlining, go ahead a begin carefully cutting into your pumpkin all along your dotted lines with your knife. If your knife keeps getting stuck, or the top won't come off, try using one of the small saws to help you cut the outlines out better.
Once you're done cutting along the dots, your pumpkin top should come off, revealing this crazy looking mess containing lots of pulp and pumpkin seeds!! Make sure to take a whiff of that autumn pumpkin scent!!
Grab your knife again, and slice off the pulp and seeds hanging off your pumpkin top. Leave a nice clean smooth pulp free surface under your pumpkin top. Dispose of all the pumpkin stuff into your handy garbage bag nearby. You will be needing that bag for the next few minutes of working with more pulp and seeds!
So if you look inside your pumpkin, you'll see a web of sticky pumpkin insides. You now have to remove all of the pulp and seeds inside. This is not as easy as it sounds, the pulp is very stubborn and sticks to the walls of your pumpkin, stringing along all over the place. I suggest you grab your gloves for this, it can get very messy!!
I started off by removing as much pulp as I can with my hands first, then went in with my scraper and scraped pulp and seed off sticking to the inside the pumpkin. Keep scraping along until the inside of your pumpkin is nice and clean!
You will be scooping out alot of pulp so make sure to keep that garbage bag handy!
There! Nice and clean!
This took a while but I managed to create an awesomely clean pumpkin,
which will make my carving much easier!
Once you've hollowed out your pumpkin, pick out a cute spooky stencil and cut it out in a circle fashion with your scissors. I used the stencils that came with the kit but you can find some stencils online or make your own! Tape your picture cutout onto your pumpkin like so. It's ok if your paper doesn't perfectly flatten onto your pumpkin, as long as you get most of it on there.
Grab your pounce wheel and begin outlining your design with it. Puncturing tiny holes through the paper and onto the pumpkin. Creating a punched out outline in which you will use as a guide when you begin carving.
Once you've outlined your design, remove the stencil and check out your punched holes you've made on your pumpkin.
I decided to go back in and re-puncture the tiny holes using my drill. I did this so I can see the dots and the outline more clearly, making it easier to carve.
Once I was done re-outlining, I began carving along the lines using my small saw.
I still have my gloves on, pumpkin juice gets everywhere!!
Be intricate, delicate, and careful when carving into your pumpkin!
Gaining better control of your saw as your carve along.
The stencils the kit provided, guide you onto what sections to carve out first.
Highlighting the sections in black.
It is always good to begin carving from the middle onto the outer. Beginning with small details first.
After intricately, delicately, and carefully carving away, I was done with my design!
Clean up and smooth out any pulp, ridges, bumps, or flaws
interfering with your design using your saws or scraper.
My two Caspers trying to be spooky, ended up looking cutesy!
Decided to turn it up a notch and give life to my cute Caspers. After all, it IS a Jack-o-Lantern!
I used a small lit up candle, lighting it before I placed it inside. If you do use a candle to bring your pumpkin to life, I don't suggest leaving it on for long. Just for a while :) You can also try a glowstick or battery powered light.
My Caspers went from cool to ghoul!
The picture seriously doesn't do the beautiful orange glow any justice. Your pumpkin will truly look phenomenal and even a little eerie, emitting a naturally alluring illumination!
When I removed the pumpkin top, the candlelight shot through the room, creating spooky spiky shadows through the zig zag design. LOVED!!
Wether its emitting a ghoulish glow or a simple stance, I am very proud of my Casper pumpkin!
I am SO inspired to create more Jack-O-Lanterns using all kinds of cute Halloween designs. It was such a relaxing and uplifting experience that I'd love to become better at. Once I make a new one, I'll make sure to share it with you guys!
Give this great passtime a try! It's an easy, affordable, and wonderful activity to share with loved ones!
If you do give pumpkin carving a try, I'd absolutely LOVE to see your beautiful creations! So feel free to share them with me! I'd happily showcase them on my blog! :)
Hope this guide helped you out!