From the Archives: Planning to carve pumpkins this year for the Holiday season? Here is an easy step by step pictorial for carving patterns right at home with simple tools. So easy that even a kid can do it. Also check out the links at the end of the post where you can download free patterns from the net for carving designs you like.
We have been busy with so much work last few months that we have had no rest! Hence when we actually got some time off one weekend, we thought of doing something which would be a complete stress buster for us. Something new, something we have never done before, which involves some activity but which also does not make us “stress” over it all over again! With the Halloween spirit all around us (shops brimming with Halloween costumes,skeletons decorating houses,plastic spiders crawling all over the place), we couldn’t help but wonder if we should try Pumpkin Carving after all.
If you are thinking of Carving a pumpkin too – definitely send in your creation to me. See details here.
Jack O’Lantern is nothing but a Pumpkin that has been carved. The story associated with this practice of celebrating Halloween sounds interesting. Sources in the Internet tells me that:
The story of the Jack o’Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree. When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down. In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again. When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the Earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as “Jack of the Lantern.”
We got ourselves a 10 pounder and set about carving the same with the template supplied along with a pumpkin carving kit. If you have never carved a pumpkin before, you are running out of excuses not to,anymore – this following step by step pictures will show you how simple it is to get started Lets start shall we? First lets select a template to work on. We chose a cheeky smiling template for our pumpkin. Tear it out from the book ( or if you have downloaded from net, simply take a print out and set it aside)
The very first step would be to draw and cut the lid off the pumpkin. We used the following tools which we got for pumpkin carving. But if you follow the pictures, you will find that they are doable with stuff from your house itself.
Prick holes around the lid – draw a circle – to help you to cut out the top easily.
Then slowly using the Saw tool, saw along the holes that you just marked.
As shown below, you can do the same, using your kitchen knife too.
Once you finish, this is how it looks like. You can make a larger lid if you please ( or as per your requirement)
Now slowly using the top stem, pull the lid out. A little force will be needed.
Once you pull, you will find yourself witnessing what looks like one of those million sea creatures you see in Blue Planet – Don’t panic. Its the pumpkin fibers
You will see the fibers sticking with the pumpkin seeds – and boy! The seeds are abundant! This is where we have some real work to do!
Yes, you guessed right. Clean all those yucky looking membranes along with the seeds. The toolkit had something called as Scraper scoop to help us scrape the membranes and scoop them out of the pumpkin. You can use a metal spoon. Its a little back bending work and takes patience!!!
Once you scoop out the fibers and seeds – WAIT – DON’T THROW THE SEEDS AWAY! – We have something interesting we can do with those yummy seeds – yes, they are edible and nutritious. So keep it aside. See How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds here And No, the membranes sadly have to be thrown away
And yeah, clean out the bottom of the lid out too – see how clean the one below looks
Now remember the template which you set aside for later? Time to put it into action is now. Take the template – attach that pattern to the pumpkin making sure to choose the side without too many bumps – using cello tape to the edges. Also take care to avoid too many crease. A little here and there is fine.
We now used what is called as Pounce wheel to transfer the pattern to the pumpkin. You can use a fork to poke holes along the pattern, or a needle and I think a small fluted pizza cutter ( which is what this instrument resembled ) would also work. The purpose is so that when you remove the pattern from the pumpkin, you should be able to see the pattern on the pumpkin’s surface too.
Once you finish, remove the pattern and dust some all purpose flour on top to enable the pattern to show for carving. Can you see our pattern on the surface?
Then we used something called as a drill and a saw to puncture the surface along the dotted lines and carve the pumpkin.. You can use a small kitchen knife or a screw driver to do the same. I was in the middle of carving when i suddenly remembered that I forgot to take a picture. I left the tool pronto to take a picture and look what I saw! Doesn’t my pumpkin look like its holding a cigar on its mouth!!!!! Looks more cheekier than ever!!!!
Here we used the saw to cut out along the pattern that we carved. Make sure that you cut it deep enough so that you can remove that slab completely from the pattern. So saw it deep.
You can also use your fingers to poke its eye out !!!! I mean push out the slab of the pumpkin once cut. If you find that it does not yield to the pressure then using a knife cut it a little more so that it gives in easily. The whole process takes little patience, a little back pain and some effort. But yes, totally worth it!
If you find that your Pumpkin does not sit well, you can cut a piece out at the bottom to help it to sit. Our pumpkin made itself comfortable without it! Admire the handiwork – there all done Look at the fella give you a smile
And oh yes – not completely done until the sun has set and you have placed a candle inside the hollow ( remove the lid before that!), place the lid back and let it sit in your porch or wherever you decide to make it feel at home!
It was an amazing experience. Here’s to amazing sculptors ( That’s us by the way – if you were looking around wondering who I was talking about!!!!) and also to Halloween tradition. And here are some templates or pattern for you to try. They are all available in the net and I thought it would help fellow pumpkin carvers to try some out from this list.
There are million other sites like these which give you free templates. Here are few more which I found interesting:
Enjoy Carving Pumpkins This post finds its way to ITB:October with theme: Halloween