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Project

Black Magic Pumpkins

These puckish pumpkins with their paint-blackened rinds and orange-gold interiors, thumb their carved noses at traditional jack-o'-lanterns.

Materials

  • Pumpkins
  • Miniature carving saw
  • Plaster scraper
  • Masking tape
  • Black floral spray
  • Battery-powered light
  • Needle tool or awl
  • Waxed paper Straight pins
  • Pumpkin carving template

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Make a 4-inch round hole in the bottom of your pumpkin with a carving saw; scrape out flesh.

  2. Step 2

    Place pumpkin on newspaper in a well-ventilated area. Wrap masking tape around stem, and coat pumpkin with black floral spray. Let dry for 30 minutes; remove tape.

  3. Step 3

    Print desired template enlarged or reduced to fit your pumpkin, and cut outside the perimeter. Tape to pumpkin.

  4. Step 4

    Use needle tool to outline the shape with close-set holes. Cut out design with saw. (If necessary, touch up pumpkin with floral spray.)

  5. Step 5

    Place battery-powered light inside. For a muted glow, affix a sheet of waxed paper behind the cutout with straight pins before adding the light source.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, Volume 143 October 2005

Reviews (21)

  • jrtmitzi 23 Aug, 2010

    I made these also. I found that by tracing the witch pattern on the plywood with a black felt pen eliminated the use of reposition-able spray. I didn't have the mess the paper would have made peeling it back off and I have the pattern in tack for the next set I plan to make. I can't wait to display the witch and the cats in my yard!

  • lynnemiller 18 Oct, 2008

    we made the witch and cats this year and made a slight improvement - after they were all assembled, we spray painted the pipes and fasteners black - now they look great from the back, too!

  • janaiguana 2 Oct, 2008

    You might try a glow stick in these pumpkins. I just made the spider eggs this week and the trick with those is to use a glow stick in them. I did a test with the "premium" glow sticks that I got and they really put out the light in all different colors and last for hours. If you got an orange glow stick, that would be perfect, but the green and yellow really pop!

  • jmeisen 1 Oct, 2008

    My husband and I also made these and they look FANTASTIC! Our neighbors were trying to get us to make more and sell them! I had success with using indirect light. We used a yellow bulb...it looked a lot more eerie, and mount it behind the silhouette, shooting to the wall closed to where we have them. You don't need a lot of light....

  • bittyro 29 Sep, 2008

    First don't use white lights. Second don't use high wattage bulbs. If you can, find low wattage colored floodlight lamps. The colored party bulbs (25-40 watts) in green ,red, orange or blue also work well, but you may need to find a special fixture to protect the bulbs from the elements. If lighting from behind, don't point the light at your ornaments, instead shine it on a wall or backdrop that is close behind them.

  • bittyro 29 Sep, 2008

    You also want to hide the light fixture if you can to remove it from the observers line of sight. You want to showcase your ornaments not draw the eye away from them or make the observer look away because the light shines in their eyes. If lighting from the ground still does not work, try attaching the light to a tree branch above.

  • forrest7 29 Sep, 2008

    We made the witch and cats lawn ornaments and they are beautiful. We put flood lights shining on the back of the figures and it did not look right and then we tried them in the front of the figures, it is still not right. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to display them with lighting?
    Thanks

  • forrest7 29 Sep, 2008

    We made the witch and cats lawn ornaments and they are beautiful. We put flood lights shining on the back of the figures and it did not look right and then we tried them in the front of the figures, it is still not right. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to display them with lighting?
    Thanks

  • lagainer 22 Sep, 2008

    My husband and I made the witch and cats this year. They are awesome! I paired them with a homemade broom made of a large branch and twigs to give it a more eerie look. Looks great!

  • thatlibrarylady 21 Sep, 2008

    I made these when they first came out, I was and still am so very proud of how wonderful they look! I was so pleased to have a free pattern that is so professional looking! They are the delight of my Halloween decorations!

  • kditty16 18 Sep, 2008

    I made 2 of these a few years ago. I had never worked with wood before, but I was so inspired that I just started and it was quite easy. I love them they are my favorite Halloween decoration and my neighbors loved them to. 2 sheets of 4 X 8 plywood 3/4 inch thick cost about $30.00 and a can of black paint, about $10.00 and a few accdessories, total cost approx. $50.00 for two fo them..And I squeezed 2 cats on the same wood. Great project...

  • Brialynn 9 Sep, 2008

    I was very driven this year to make these items. Yes, I too saw them going for big bucks from a well known on-line store. They also show a 8 foot tree for $400! Between my husbands draftsman abilities and my design background we did it all for under 100.00!

  • CynKing 7 Sep, 2008

    My husband and I made the witch and cats silhouettes in 2005 when this issue came out. This year I saw then for sale in a pricey catalog. About $320 for what you see here. I love these, and look forward to taking them out again.

  • nette04 4 Sep, 2008

    My family and i made this a few years ago, now everyone of my aunts wants us to make this.

  • tavorocha1 25 Aug, 2008

    I made this last year and everyone in the neighborhood stopped by and told me they loved it. I ended up going to the "Halloween" mega store and purchasing a crooked witch's broom that looks like it was made from a branch of a tree, and also purchased a "flickering" light bulb for the lantern, and it turned out really creepy.

  • tavorocha1 25 Aug, 2008

    I did this last year to my 6 pumpkins and they turned out great. Unfortunetly the squirrels liked them too. I learned not to spray the pumpkins first, instead I carved them, stuffed them with newspapers then sprayed them. The reason for that was because when I went to take off the template when they were sprayed firs, the paint would peel off along with the tape that was holding the template. My neighbors loved them too.

  • chadgarner_deleted 21 Aug, 2008

    I live in Salem, MA. I think one of these would be great in my yard this year. Love to have Martha stop by.

  • chadgarner_deleted 21 Aug, 2008

    I live in Salem, MA. I think one of these would be great in my yard this year. Love to have Martha stop by.

  • waggonswest 1 Jul, 2008

    I've made these and get them out each year. Although there always seems to be at least one that escapes and is still peeking out of the Christmas decorations.

  • BrandiLee 17 Dec, 2007

    I have these and I L-O-V-E them! They weren't too difficult to make the pattern was the most time consuming part we found that cutting it out then pasting and tracing was the easier route! We have made them a couple times for family as well! I look forward to getting my Witch and cats out every year! They are a big hit with the neighborhood!

  • cynthiab 11 Nov, 2007

    My husband made this for me for Halloween, after saving the MSL for three years and making sure he got a jigsaw for Christmas! :) He said it wss very easy to do, but putting the pattern together was the most difficult part. We had a hard time finding "repositionable spray"--many spray adhesives were permanent AND repositionable, depending on how much you spray, so read the can.