Carving and decorating the best pumpkin

The first time I carved a pumpkin I must have been about 19 which today seems old compared to many my age who began carving pumpkins age 4! . Life had changed a lot since those times I use to look outside wishing I was one of the other kids dressed up, carving pumpkins. Back then money was too tight to cut a vegetable for anything other than food and halloween wasn’t something my parents embraced. I however have always been fascinated with it and as a teen I  began researching into where the traditions came from and the mystical side of halloween and it is now my favourite Holliday season.

A big part of halloween for many is pumpkin carving. 

I love pumpkin carving and find a well carved or decorated pumpkin very satisfying. For the last couple of years I have also expanded into actually picking my own pumpkin and avoiding the shop brought ones. This is not necessary and a shop brought pumpkin will do just as good, however I just love the whole experience!

Over the years I have experimented with lots of different ideas and techniques to find the best ways to get that perfect carved/decorated pumpkin. So I thought I would share some tricks and treats !

 

CARVING YOUR PUMPKIN

🎃 Carving a pumpkin is the first thing people think of when they think of pumpkins at halloween. It is only recently over the last 5 that I’ve seen more inventive ways to adorn and show off your pumpkin.

🎃For this you will need:

Pumpkin

A sharp knife

A spoon

A bowl

A smaller knife

A pin

Vaseline

A template if you choose to use one, or a white board.  pen.

A candle

You can get a cheap pumpkin carving kit at your local supermarket at this time of year if you prefer.

🎃Firstly make sure your carving area is well protected. This can be with a plastic sheet or cloth or old newspaper. (Carving a pumpkin is messy business!)

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🎃Next take your larger knife and cut round the top of your pumpkin and so opening it up and making a lid. Try and cut at roughly a 45o angle so as to make a lid that is sturdy and won’t wall onto your candle.

🎃The real messy part comes now when we need to scoop out the insides of the pumpkin! If you want to put this aside to make pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie feel free.

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🎃You can also roast the seeds if you like them… I normally half mine seasoning some with mixed herbs and the rest with sugar and cinnamon.

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🎃Once you have removed the insides and either saved or disposed of them the fun part begins. You can either use a template (of which there are loads available online through just typing in “pumpkin template” on google. Or you can draw out your own design with a white board marker!

🎃Which ever method you use you will need a pin next (if using a template you will need approximately 5 pins (4 to pin your template to your pumpkin and the other for the next step!)

🎃With your pin you will need to poke holes round the pumpkin design (those using a template you will poke the pin through the paper and into your pumpkin). This will weaken the pumpkin where you will need to cut, thus making it easier. In addition it will give you a line to follow if you are using a template.

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🎃Remove your template if you are using one.

🎃Next take your smaller knife or pumpkin carver knife. Follow these pin marks and cut out your design. Take it slow and steady – don’t rush, the more concentration you give it, the better your pumpkin will become.

IN ADDITION TO CARVING:

🎃If you’re feeling more adventurous during your carving process you can also have a go at shallow carving. This just means taking off the skin of the pumpkin in certain areas of your design.

🎃Why would you do this? It adds different depth to your design. The cut out sections show lots of light, The pumpkin shows no light. When you shallow carve you will get something in the middle.

 

🎃If you are wanting your pumpkin to stay nice and fresh for longer take some Vaseline and wipe some round the cuts of your pumpkin. This will protect it from the air and therefore slow the rate of its expiry and decomposition.

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🎃you have now carved your pumpkin…. If you used a white board marker wipe off any excess with tissue.

You are ready to add your candle (I use battery ones) and admire your work.

 

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There are many additional ways to work your pumpkin and a lot depends on your preference or age group it is aimed at.

  • Painting
  • Glitter
  • Wax art
  • Sequin art

The choice is yours!

PAINTING YOUR PUMPKIN

🎃 Painting is a easy one. Its especially good for young children or people who don’t have the dexterity to safely use a knife.

🎃 Depending upon the colour of your pumpkin I would first cover the pumpkin with a white base coat. Obviously if you have a white or cream pumpkin you see around sometimes though you can skip this step.

🎃Next is the simple step of painting your design on your pumpkin. Acrylic paint works the best.

You can get many ideas for this online. There are some really good ones.

🎃once finished make sure you let your pumpkin dry in a warm and dry area. If you put your pumpkin where the air is damp you increase the risk that the pumpkin will not dry and it will bubble as they have a high water content.

🎃This step is optional but if you want to seal your pumpkin spray a layer of clear sealer over your whole pumpkin (including the Stork). Again make sure you leave to dry in a warm and dry environment.

You now have a painted pumpkin!

 

 

Wax art pumpkin:

🎃You will need:

A pumpkin

Some old wax crayons

A heat gun or hairdryer

🎃You have to be careful with this one especially if using a heat gun as oppose to a hairdryer as heat guns do get really really hot as their name suggests.

🎃Decide on your colours and take those wax crayons and place them on top of the pumpkin. (You may need to secure them with a glue dot depending on the shape of your pumpkin.

🎃Next take your heat gun or hair dryer and start to wave this over the crayons (holding the heat gun/ hair dryer about 30cm away from the pumpkin).

🎃Slowly the crayons will begin to melt and run down your pumpkin, giving it a colourful melted crayon art.
🎃Make sure your work area is covered as the crayon will drip down the pumpkin and may melt onto whatever it is standing on.

🎃If your heat gun/hairdryer has a cool setting you can alternate between hot and cold to stop the drips where you want them to be.

🎃Your art is ready to admire!

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Glitter your pumpkin:

🎃Glittering your pumpkin has to be one of the simplest ways to decorate your pumpkin.

🎃You literally take mod podge (or PVA) and your glitter of choice.

🎃and you guessed it… cover your pumpkin in the mod podge and then cover with glitter!

🎃If you want to seal your glitter to minimise shedding then add a layer of mod podge over the glitter once the layer has dried!

 

Sequin art pumpkin:

🎃sequin art is quite fun and I love it.

🎃You will need:

A pumpkin

A white board pen

Dress pins

sequins

🎃You have to be careful when using pins with small children and adult supervision is encouraged.

🎃First draw your design onto your pumpkin.

🎃Next take a sequin and a pin. Put the pin through the hole of the sequin and then poke this into the pumpkin.

🎃You literally keep covering the pumpkin in the same way following your design.

I hope you have all enjoyed my pumpkin decoration guide and that you have a lovely halloween. If you do have a go at any of these please send me some photos as I love to see what you have done.

Here is a example I did for Team Jo Epilepsy Foundation using both glitter and sequin technique. The lovely lady holding it is my nan.

 

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