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Project

Pumpkins with Scary Etched Silhouettes

This sideboard tableau intersperses luminous pumpkins with a decanter of wine, a stand with fruit, and other objects evocative of Edgar Allan Poe and his tales of horror.

Introduction

To render the glowing silhouettes, we used two techniques: The bright candelabrum and goblet are cut through the pumpkins' walls, while the textured quill and skull are pared gently from the outer shells. Pumpkins of different hues, including white 'Lumina,' a green-gray 'Jarrahdale,' and burnt-orange cheese pumpkins, add tonal variety.

Materials

  • Keyhole saw to cut the opening
  • Plaster scraper, fleshing tool, or sharp, sturdy spoon for scooping out the pulpy flesh and thinning the walls
  • Awl, for transferring the template patterns
  • Narrow-blade and wide-blade linoleum cutters for etching designs
  • Miniature saw for carving designs
  • String lights
  • Glass jar
  • Template

Steps

  1. Step 1

    la102831_1007_pumpkinht1.jpg

    Cut a hole in base of pumpkin with keyhole saw.

  2. Step 2

    la102831_1007_pumpkinht2.jpg

    Scoop out seeds and flesh with plaster scraper, fleshing tool, or spoon; thin walls if desired.

  3. Step 3

    la102831_1007_pumpkinht3.jpg

    Choose templates. Reduce or enlarge as needed, and tape to pumpkin. Using an awl, pierce holes along perimeter of template; remove to reveal pattern outline.

  4. Step 4

    la102831_1007_pumpkinht4.jpg

    Using narrow-blade linoleum cutter, remove skin along perimeter of your design. Then use wide-blade cutter to pare away skin within design. (The more skin you pare, the brighter the design will glow.)

  5. Step 5

    la102831_1007_pumpkinht5.jpg

    Carve out your design using miniature saw. For intricate patterns with tight corners, work in sections.

  6. Step 6

    Once the carving is complete, wrap string lights around the glass jar, then place jar inside pumpkin. We prefer this technique because you won't have to worry about the lights going out in your display.