Pumpkin Carving- Fun Chiseled Technique
What’s Halloween without a carved pumpkin on the porch? Try a chiseled technique for a new twist to pumpkin carving and an extra challenge for the older grands.
I’ve been wanting to try this for a while and I must say, although it was a bit more complicated to do then a traditional carved jack-o-lantern, it was a blast!
The Perfect Pumpkin
Of course, step one is to choose that perfect pumpkin from the pumpkin patch or the store. I can’t help but choose one that is big and round and has a large stem. Next year I have my eye on the large gourd varieties that were available.
Woodland Owl Pumpkin Carving Pattern
Since we did a woodland owl Halloween and dress up costume I chose to draw up a woodland owl pattern to carve. Check out the download if you want to give this pattern a try too! There is also a simplified owl pattern if you prefer something a bit easier and faster. And if you want to get extra creative, let the grandkids draw one of their own!
Make the pattern larger or smaller to fit the pumpkin size. The attached woodland owl patterns print to a standard 8×11” paper size.
Tip: Tape the pattern to the side of the pumpkin that is most suitable for carving. Because the flat pattern is forming to a round surface there is a need to make a few tucks (like darts) to make it fit. Try to tape the tucks where it least affects the pattern.
Pumpkin Carving Pattern Transfer
Transfer the pattern to the pumpkin by poking small holes through the lines of the pattern about 1/8 inch apart. To make the small holes I used a small pointed tool that was in one of the pumpkin carving kits you can purchase at the store, but a push pin could work just as easily. If you or your grand like to draw, it is even easier to draw the pattern directly onto the pumpkin, just sayin’.
Tip: The closer together the holes are, the easier the pattern will be to see when you take the paper off the pumpkin.
Connect the Dots
Remove the paper from the pumpkin and wipe it dry with a paper towel. Using a dry erase marker, connect the dotted lines left from your pin pokes through the pattern (this rubs off after carving- my extra ink pen marks didn’t). You may want to color in the areas shown on the pattern that are darkened so you know what to chisel off during the next step.
The Fun Begins- Pumpkin Carving
Begin to chisel off the skin of the pumpkin in the areas that are darkened on the pattern.
Tip: I tried several tools to chisel out the design from the pumpkin skin. A wire end modeling tool for clay worked best, by far. You can purchase these at a craft store (I love Hobby Lobby) or online.
Chisel That Pumpkin Pattern!
Work with smaller motions as you get the feel for how hard to push and pull the wire end modeling tool. The skin of a pumpkin is tough, so you’ll have to be patient with yourself and your grand, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly! You could try a few practice strokes on the bottom of the pumpkin before starting on the design if you want.
Tip: don’t carve too deeply into the pumpkin. The point is to have the contrasting color, not to dig through to the inside of the pumpkin and have open holes like a typical jack-o-lantern. You can always take more off later, if desired.
Don’t Sweat It!
Enjoy the chiseling process! My lines weren’t perfectly straight and I goofed in some places, but it still made for a nice look in the end! Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect.
Let it Glow
I didn’t choose to carve out the inside of this pumpkin. It is sitting on my desk at school and I’m hoping it lasts longer this way.
If you want the pumpkin to glow, carve out the inside of the pumpkin when you are done chiseling the pattern. Doing it in this order keeps the pumpkin stronger while chiseling. There are a couple ways to do this:
- You can cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin and set it on top of an electric light source. To do so, cut a hole in the pumpkin bottom. Clean out the seeds and the stringy fiber with a spoon or an ice cream scoop.
- You can also clean the pumpkin out from the top in the traditional manner if you prefer. To do so, cut a hole around the stem at a 45 degree angle inward so the lid will fit back on the pumpkin and not fall inside. Then continue to clean out the inside as mentioned above.
This technique glows instead of shining light like a typical jack-o-lantern with open holes. Chisel out a bit more in areas you want to glow more brightly.
Preserving Your Carved Pumpkin
Tip: spray the pumpkin inside and out with a spray cleaner with bleach in it. This will kill bacteria and preserve the pumpkin longer. Repeating this every day or every other day will help even more. Another option is to soak the pumpkin for a few hours in bleach water at a 1 teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water ratio. Why hadn’t anyone told me this piece of news before?? (You may want to do this yourself as bleach can be dangerous. Teach the older grands about how to use it and keep this out of the reach of your precious grands.)
Get a pumpkin for the grands and one for you to chisel. It is so much fun! You’ll be hooked.
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- Pattern printed to size for your pumpkin
- Scotch tape
- Push pin or pointed tool from a purchased pumpkin carving kit
- Dry erase marker or pen
- Wire end modeling tool for clay
- Ice cream scoop or metal spoon
- Spray cleaner product with bleach or liquid bleach (optional)
- Choose that perfect pumpkin(s)
- Print out the woodland owl pattern or another design of your choice in a size to fit your pumpkin Tape the pattern to the side of the pumpkin that is most suitable for carving.
- Make a few tucks (like darts) to make it fit.
- Transfer the pattern to the pumpkin by poking small holes through the lines of the pattern about 1/8 inch apart using a small pointed tool or a push pin.
- Remove the paper from the pumpkin and wipe it dry with a paper towel.
- Using a pen, connect the dotted lines left from your pin pokes through the pattern.
- Chisel off the skin of the pumpkin in the areas that are darkened on the pattern.
- If you want to illuminate the pumpkin, carve out the inside of the pumpkin when you are done chiseling the pattern (can cut the whole in the bottom or the top to do the cleaning)
- Clean out the seeds and the stringy fiber with a spoon or an ice cream scoop.
- If desired, spray the pumpkin inside and out with a spray cleaner with bleach in it to help preserve the pumpkin or soak the pumpkin for a few hours in bleach water at a 1teaspoon per gallon of water ratio.