pro-carveCarving pumpkins for Halloween is a tradition that families can enjoy together. You don’t have to be an artist to create a beautifully carved pumpkin. But if you want to carve a great looking pumpkin it does help to have a little inside knowledge. If you have always used paper cut out patterns to carve pumpkins and want to try something new or if you want to take your pumpkin carving to the next level these tips are for you. Some of the best pumpkin carvers from around the country have contributed these tips to help you carve elaborate faces and scenes for Halloween this year. Use these tips to get Jack O’Lanterns that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Get the right tools – Household knives are fine for carving simple patterns, but if you want to create works of art in your pumpkins you need to have the right tools. You should have a few different sizes of sharp craft knives, a linoleum cutter, and a few scrapers to scoop out the insides of the pumpkins. You can use cheap dollar store ice cream scoops to clean out the pumpkin. Or try using a Shop Vac if your pumpkin is large. Just make sure that your pumpkin is thoroughly clean and dry before you start carving.

Start with the details – When you are carving a complicated design you should start with the finest details and move out to the bigger designs. Use the craft knives to cut different thicknesses in the design as well. That will give the fine details depth that they will need to stand out. If you make a mistake when you carving the fine details of the design you can adjust the rest of the design accordingly so that the design isn’t ruined.

Use a flashlight – Instead of just guessing how the design will look when it’s finished use a flashlight inside the pumpkin to see how the design looks as you are carving it. That way you can make small adjustments to the design as you go and you won’t need to go back and try to change the design after the carving is done.

Keep it lit – If you want to be sure that your pumpkin stays glowing brightly all night you can show off your DIY skills and turn your pumpkin into a homemade lamp. This takes a little bit of work but the effect is dramatic and your pumpkin will look fantastic all night. If you are going to try this make sure that you preserve your pumpkin first. The heat from the light will dehydrate your pumpkin and make it shrivel up quickly. If you want to light up your pumpkin and keep it looking great spray it lightly with a coat of vegetable oil before you light it up. The vegetable oil will seal in the pumpkin’s natural moisture and keep from getting dried out.  You can also rub it with vinegar to prevent mold and bacteria from attacking it.


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