Pumpkin Carving 101


I had some grand ideas for my second pumpkin carving of the season.  I planned on embedding Indian corn into the design.  I was hoping that the light would shine through the kernels and create a stained glass effect.  It was definitely a risk, and I’m not quite sure if it was worth it.  But I am glad that I tried, because I learned a lot.

I  sketched my plan (based on one of my paintings), and got to work carving.  The tools that had seemed so perfect last time I carved a pumpkin were now difficult to use.  I even broke one of my favorites.  Next year I’ll have to invest in some real carving tools.

First, I explained my plan to the pumpkin…it’s always good to have the cooperation of said squash.

1)  I drew my design on the pumpkin using a pencil.

2) I cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin.  Make sure you cut at an angle (not vertical cuts) so that your “lid” doesn’t fall inside the pumpkin.  AND make sure the hole is big enough for your hand!  Some people also like to cut a little notch in the lid so that it is easy to figure out exactly how the lid fits on top of the pumpkin when you put it back on.  Although it’s quite helpful to do this, I forgot and didn’t really have trouble figuring it out–so I consider this optional.

3) Scoop out the guts.  I used a wonderful tool for this.  An Asian metal spoon.  You can find a small box of these inexpensive spoons at an Asian grocery store.  If you’re in York, Chang Chow’s on South Queen Street is a good place to go–if you carry a concealed weapon.  Ok,  it’s not that dangerous.

4)  Start carving the design!  Remember, the deeper you carve into the pumpkin, the lighter that area will be.  It’s sort of like working backwards.

After I finished carving, I used a tool to make little holes in the pumpkin, and stuck little kernels (is anyone else ever tempted to write “colonels” instead of “kernels”?  I guess that’s a post for another day)  of Indian corn in them.

Then I lit it up!


Here, I’ll give you a close-up of the colonels kernels.  This picture looks like something out of “Inner Space.”

Pumpkin carving is always exciting because you never really know what you’re going to get.  My pumpkin is not as cool as I envisioned it, but it is still unique and I love that it’s based on one of my paintings.  I have yet to master this trade, but…”ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other siiiiiide.  It’s the climb.”  Are you glaring at me!?

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About Melody

My name is Melody Martin. Check out my art blog, and learn all about the steps and techniques that go into oil paintings.
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5 Responses to Pumpkin Carving 101

  1. Easten says:

    How creative!

  2. This is so sweet! Probably the prettiest pumpkin I have seen! Awesome job! Andrew and I just got a pumpkin and I can’t wait till we carve it!

  3. Wow…this is pretty impressive!

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