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Lace-Patterned Pumpkins

Not all pumpkins are orange, nor are they necessarily destined to become leering jack-o'-lanterns. The designs used on these pumpkins, carved freehand, mimic the lacelike openwork of 18th-century pierced creamware dishes, and turn any pumpkin (especially a pale Lumina) into an intricately patterned lamp.




Tip: When choosing carving tools, bear in mind the shape of the perforation your tool will make, and choose those that produce unusual punctures. For example, top and bottom cuts with a V-shaped gouge leave a diamond form.


  • Pumpkin or squash
  • Wood-carving tools


  1. Step 1

    Select a pumpkin or squash such as Lumina, spaghetti squash, or Blue Hubbard. For this project, small pieces of pipe can also be used to make cuts and punch out circles from the gourd.

  2. Step 2


    Cut an opening in the bottom of your pumpkin. Scrape out the seeds and most of the flesh. Place a length of masking tape around the circumference of the gourd as a carving guideline. Start cutting.

  3. Step 3


    The going gets easier once you've circled the pumpkin with a pattern -- just keep following it, adding more bands of cuts. If you carve a small, simple design that doesn't feed the candle much air, make an air hole on one side to help it burn.

Martha Stewart Living, October 1994



Reviews (36)

  • Roxanne1000 5 Oct, 2010

    Awesome Idea !
    I had some doilies left over from Christmas that made a really cool design.
    With the right tools this project is easy to do.

  • Kathryn85 24 Sep, 2010

    Who has time for this?! Lol Bridget, you should buy or make your own stencil and use white washable paint. You can stencil your pattern which will make it a whole heck of a lot easier than guessing. Once you stencil it, use it as your guide to carve. Then just wash the excess paint off.

  • ota1 18 Sep, 2010

    Where can you get these lace patterns? Can you buy them some where?

  • usatoparis 4 Nov, 2008

    unbelievable martha,unbelievable (

  • naoko53 25 Oct, 2008

    SO beautiful and cosy. It's so sad this pumpkin will eventually die!!

  • fflamewalker 23 Oct, 2008

    I love these ideas! I don't use them for pumpkins though, I use them for my gourd crafts instead!

  • saranghae 23 Oct, 2008

    daaang, this is cute !

  • Freckld_Face 23 Oct, 2008

    I love repeated patterns! Very pretty

  • NorbieK 22 Oct, 2008

    Gorgeous!!!!!!!! Simply gorgeous.

  • Gamie 21 Oct, 2008

    You could most likely use a dremel to make the basic pattern and then refine it with a carving tool.

  • mundillo 21 Oct, 2008

    We coould use the hard foam pumpkins avaliable in craft stores. This way our hard work making these beauties can be enjoyed year after year.

  • surely-m 21 Oct, 2008

    I don't know about that. It is an awful lot of work, but if you take a million pictures, or three, you can enjoy what you did for years to come. And you say to everyone, look, I did that! Minute, precise, and even somewhat tedious work, can have its rewards. The repetitive tasks can be therapeutic. And pictures can last a lifetime! Sounds worth a try to me. At least once.

  • sukipoo 21 Oct, 2008

    I am afraid I will have to agree with you, words and music, I just don't think I want to put that much work into something for such a short period of time. I have to admit they are gorgeous, and the staff did a wonderful, awesome job!! Just more patience than I have.

  • wordsandmusic 21 Oct, 2008

    Okay, so I love these but please, Martha Stewart people, 'fess up: exactly how many hours did it take a staff person to create the pumpkin that is entirely covered with the lace pattern? I'm guessing at least 40 hours... I'm not complaining. I love your crafts.

  • CaKatt 21 Oct, 2008

    This would look awesome on a gourd and last a lot longer

  • amybug 21 Oct, 2008

    a tip for if they start to wilt: put them in the tub and cover with cold water. the water will hydrate them and bring them back to life.

  • sandrahenson 21 Oct, 2008

    There just isn't enough time in the world to spend it cutting little holes in a soon-to-be-rotten pumkpkin.

  • fabulousideas 21 Oct, 2008

    you can perserve them by not carving the pumpkins till the week of thanksgiving

  • quackmehard 21 Oct, 2008

    you can make pumpkins last a TAD longer by using petroleum jelly on them, but that wouldn't take them from Halloween to Thanksgiving, I don't think.

  • tknb 21 Oct, 2008

    oh, my!

  • alexpc 21 Oct, 2008

    These pumpkins would be especially nice at Thanksgiving. How could you preserve them?

  • Susan1255 21 Oct, 2008

    I wonder if this would work with the fake carvable pumpkins sold at the craft stores. If so, putting a lot of time into making these would seem more worth it, since you could reuse them year after year.

  • princessmabel 21 Oct, 2008

    Simply go to your file and upload the picture. It's easy as pie!

  • nemommy 21 Oct, 2008

    These are beautiful but I don't think I could do it. But they are beautiful!

  • henriettam 21 Oct, 2008

    I loves these!! But I agree with the ladies...this is going to take some time and boy alot of concerntration. Might have a go though

  • suziewho 21 Oct, 2008

    These are absolutely gorgeous but I know for a fact that those tiny little perforations are very difficult to manage so close together. I would also love to see Martha Stewart provide patterns to print off for cutting pumpkins. I had a beautiful one last year that I have lost. I got so many compliments and I'm sure these would arise the same. They are too attractive to leave outside...... Happy Hallowe'en everyone. Sue Bramp;ton Canada

  • RedAngelJoy 21 Oct, 2008

    I just left a comment but I was wondering, how do some of you members get such cute little icons by your names? I want one of these!!!

  • RedAngelJoy 21 Oct, 2008

    I wouldn't be able to finish something like this before the pumkins went bad. They are beautiful though.

  • CertainlySusan 21 Oct, 2008

    My initial response was right! my pumpkin would look just like this! I am certain that each staff member at Martha Stewart has a degree in fine arts.

  • josefalaura 13 Oct, 2008

    ITn n n n S SO BEAUTIFUL

  • punkylou 13 Oct, 2008

    These are so beautiful! I would want to use them every year too. Looks like a visit to Micheals is coming. These can be usedfor fall decoration, (not just Halloween) and they would be so pretty at a evening dinner. Don't ya think?

  • Herselff 12 Oct, 2008

    Maybe you could make on out of paper mache? That shouldn't be too hard to carve or cut out and it would last for years.

  • finlander 12 Oct, 2008

    At Michaels craft store (or other similar craft stores) they have the resin pumpkins. I wonder how this kind of intricate designs could be done using the resin pumpkins?? I have seen them carved but I'm not sure how easy they are to carve. I'll have to get one this week to try. (they are 50% off this week @ Michaels)

  • teachme 12 Oct, 2008

    There are fake plastic pumpkins in the craft and hobby stores. Cut the patterns, then use a battery type lamp to light them. You do not want to use any plug in light bulbs or candles due to fire. Richard Friese, Mundelein, IL.

  • Joanart 12 Oct, 2008

    With this much intricacy I would want to be doing something that could be used each year. What other material might we use to do this that would be more permanent?

  • sewswell 12 Oct, 2008

    these are gorgeous. I wish i had the time it would take to do these!!!!