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Project

Wood-Carved Pumpkins

With this carving technique, pumpkin patterns will look similar to wood or linoleum block-prints. Coat pumpkins with a petroleum base once you're done to keep bacteria out and inhibit mold growth.

Introduction

Tools and Materials

  • Pumpkin with smooth, firm skin and minimal ridges and bumps
  • Knife, for cutting out hole on bottom
  • Scooping tools: spoon, melon scoop, ice cream scoop, plaster scraper, etc.
  • Carbon paper and pencil or pins for transferring design
  • Design or pattern
  • Carving and scraping tools
  • Linoleum-block or wood-block carving tools
  • Wood-carving gouge, router, or rounded chisel
  • Pottery/clay "loops"

Wood-Carved Pumpkin How-To

  1. Cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin and scoop clean on the inside. Scrape the side of pumpkin that will hold the design to a thickness of 3/4 inch.
  2. Tape and transfer pattern to pumpkin. Use carbon paper and a pencil to transfer the design, or outline the design with a series of pinpricks into the pumpkin flesh.
  3. Use a linoleum cutter or similar routing tool to carve around the silhouette of the design (a #2 blade works best for this step).

Tips

  1. If you haven't used a linoleum cutter before, practice on another pumpkin first.
  2. Hold the cutter by the handle with a firm but relaxed grip.
  3. To begin cutting, insert the tip of the cutter into the very surface of the pumpkin at first, holding the cutter at a 15- to 30-degree angle. Gently push the cutter forward and away from yourself until the blade catches the skin and begins to cut into the flesh.
  4. Deep gouges should be achieved by making one shallow pass and then going back over to dig out more flesh. Do not try to dig the cutter deep into the flesh.
  5. Do not attempt to cut out the whole contour in one pass; it is best to cut until the pumpkin flesh curls up around the tool (about 4 to 6 inches), stop, remove excess, and continue cutting.
  6. Use a larger cutter to remove the areas of the design that are meant to be the background. Different tools create different textures, thicknesses, and shapes -- experiment with several to find an effect you like. Use a # 2 or #5 cutter to create the classic woodcut effect in the background.
  7. Once the silhouette is obvious, use different cutters to create detail and texture until the desired effect is achieved.

Materials

  • Pumpkin with smooth, firm skin and minimal ridges and bumps
  • Knife, for cutting out hole on bottom
  • Scooping tools: spoon, melon scoop, ice cream scoop, plaster scraper, etc.
  • Carbon paper and pencil or pins for transferring design
  • Design or pattern
  • Carving and scraping tools
  • Linoleum-block or wood-block carving tools
  • Wood-carving gouge, router, or rounded chisel
  • Pottery/clay "loops"

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin and scoop clean on the inside. Scrape the side of pumpkin that will hold the design to a thickness of 3/4 inch.

  2. Step 2

    Tape and transfer pattern to pumpkin. Use carbon paper and a pencil to transfer the design, or outline the design with a series of pinpricks into the pumpkin flesh.

  3. Step 3

    Use a linoleum cutter or similar routing tool to carve around the silhouette of the design (a #2 blade works best for this step).

  4. Step 4

    If you haven't used a linoleum cutter before, practice on another pumpkin first.

  5. Step 5

    Hold the cutter by the handle with a firm but relaxed grip.

  6. Step 6

    To begin cutting, insert the tip of the cutter into the very surface of the pumpkin at first, holding the cutter at a 15- to 30-degree angle. Gently push the cutter forward and away from yourself until the blade catches the skin and begins to cut into the flesh.

  7. Step 7

    Deep gouges should be achieved by making one shallow pass and then going back over to dig out more flesh. Do not try to dig the cutter deep into the flesh.

  8. Step 8

    Do not attempt to cut out the whole contour in one pass; it is best to cut until the pumpkin flesh curls up around the tool (about 4 to 6 inches), stop, remove excess, and continue cutting.

  9. Step 9

    Do not attempt to cut out the whole contour in one pass; it is best to cut until the pumpkin flesh curls up around the tool (about 4 to 6 inches), stop, remove excess, and continue cutting.

  10. Step 10

    Use a larger cutter to remove the areas of the design that are meant to be the background. Different tools create different textures, thicknesses, and shapes -- experiment with several to find an effect you like. Use a # 2 or #5 cutter to create the classic woodcut effect in the background.

  11. Step 11

    Once the silhouette is obvious, use different cutters to create detail and texture until the desired effect is achieved.