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Pumpkin Carving and Stencils

Pumpkin Carving and Stencils

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Published by Pixcollect2001
Pumpkin carving instructions and over 230 designs gathered from free websources.
Pumpkin carving instructions and over 230 designs gathered from free websources.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Pixcollect2001 on Oct 28, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/05/2014

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A Pumpkin Carving Primer
Jack-'o-Lantern Designs from FamilyFun
by Pam Glaven and Rani ArboFor a brief few days this October, jack-o'-lanterns willflicker across America, the happy result of wicked imaginations, fun-filled family afternoons andlots of elbow grease. If your family is raring to carve pumpkins this year, we've got the scoop onhow to do it right. Below you'll find a step-by-step carving guide, tips for novice and veteransculptors, and three inspiring jack-o'-lantern designs (with templates) from a spooked pumpkinkids can make with their own two hands to Goodnight Moon pumpkin and a howling pantherpumpkin.
CHOOSE A PUMPKIN
Whether you're picking your own or perusing a farm stand or grocery store, look for pumpkinsthat are large, ripe and have smooth, even surfaces and at least a 2-inch stem (stemless, dentedand bruised pumpkins may already be in decline). If you plan to light your jack-o'-lantern with acandle, the pumpkin should be at least 9 inches high.
MAKE A PATTERN
To design your own jack-o'-lantern, take a cue from your pumpkin--is it tall, squat or blessedwith a curly stem or irregularity you can incorporate into the design? What's the mood going tobe-- scary, goofy, artistic, just plain weird? Once you have a plan, sketch your pattern with penciland paper. If drawing freehand doesn't appeal, or if you're aiming for a complex pattern, use astencil or template. You can use the templates offered here or those available on the Web and incarving kits.
 
CUT OUT THE TOP (OR BOTTOM)
To make a lid, draw a circle or a hexagon at least 5 inches in diameter around the pumpkin'sstem. Cut out the lid at an angle (so that the outside edge is larger than the inside) to keep it fromslipping inside. For a carving tool, we recommend a pumpkin saw. Those using knives shouldcarve gently and steadily. (Tip: Don't slide the knife all the way out of the pumpkin.) When thelid is free, scrape it clean of seeds and pulp. Instead of removing the top, you may choose toremove a section from the bottom or side of the pumpkin. (This works well for an unstable orsmall pumpkin, or for certain designs, such as The Goodnight Moon pumpkin.)
SCRAPE OUT THE INSIDE
This delightfully slimy job calls for a large metal spoon or an ice-cream scoop. Little kids caneasily remove all the seeds and mushy stuff. Then a stronger pair of hands can take overscraping. The thinner the wall, the easier it is to carve and the brighter your lantern will be.Scrape until you've had enough or until the wall is 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick (stop before youcompromise the strength of the walls). At the base, flatten a spot for the candle (again, don'tmake it too thin, or the bottom will rot).
TRANSFER THE PATTERN
There are two ways to transfer your design onto the pumpkin. One is to copy it freehand onto aclean, dry pumpkin with a water-based marker (mistakes can be easily corrected with a papertowel). The other is to tape your pattern or template to the pumpkin, then score the design intothe skin by poking holes through the pattern with a nail or plastic poking tool (available in somepumpkin-carving kits).
CARVE!
Okay, now you're ready to sculpt. Start at the center of your design and work outward (thisavoids putting pressure on areas already carved). Begin with the innermost and smallest features--eyes before eyebrows, for instance--and try to carve the inside lines of each feature before theoutside lines. Be gentle: If you're using a knife, run it over each line a few times, rather thanpushing all the way through. Don't cut all the way to the end of a line on the first cut. As eachshape loosens up, gently push it out of the pumpkin with a finger or a dull pencil point (a good job for small kids). Larger shapes, such as gap-toothed grins, may have to be removed in pieces.Tip: If you cut something you didn't intend to, perform an ad hoc pumpkin surgery: Stick atoothpick through the flesh side of the piece and fit it back into place.
EXPERIMENT WITH SHADING
You can create dramatic effects by letting candlelight through the pumpkin in varying intensity.For a shaded effect, don't cut all the way through the pumpkin. Instead, make a shallow, angled(or V-shaped) cut (1/8 to 1/2 inch, depending on the thickness of the pumpkin wall), then peel
 
away the outer flesh with a knife tip, spoon or vegetable peeler. You also can use deep, angledcuts to remove larger pieces, so that the light reflects off the walls of the hole.
TEST-DRIVE YOUR PUMPKIN
Now is the moment of truth. Place a candle inside your pumpkin (votives are more stable thantapers). Light the candle, put on the lid and turn out the lights. If the candle doesn't stay lit,increase the air supply either by enlarging some of the features or by carving a vent on the back of the lid. Lastly, put your jack-o'-lantern in a place of honor (away from flammables) andremember to blow out all candles before you go to sleep.Visit FamilyFun's Halloween Fright Site page for more great decoration ideas.

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