Fairy House Pumpkin
Let the ghouls and goblins knock on everyone else's door while you spend the evening hanging with the fairies. To invite them in, transform a pumpkin into a cozy hollow.
Photography: Ngoc Minh Ngo
Source: Martha Stewart Living, October 2018
Before you begin, learn how we created these textured effects using a carve-by-color technique. Opt for any kind of pumpkin, squash, or gourd that seems fitting for fairyland's most coveted real estate. Get our helpful tips for picking a pumpkin that will last through October.
This project calls for three essential pumpkin carving tools: a keyhole saw, scooper, and linoleum cutter. The first is used for its sharp teeth, which can slice through a pumpkin's tough shell and its flexible blade, which allows for curved cuts. The second is used for scooping out seeds and flesh for a clean interior better to reflect the light. The third is used to carve detail into the surface of a pumpkin (like trim and faux bois grain in the door) with great accuracy. The pumpkin picture here is cut from the bottom and hollowed out, then illuminated with a battery-powered candle. Get our editor's tricks on how to safely light a pumpkin.
For more ideas, scroll through our best collection of pumpkin carving and decorating ideas.
Place pumpkin on its side on a flat, stable work surface. Use keyhole saw to cut a circle through the base of the pumpkin. Scoop out seeds, stringy pulp, and a thin layer of flesh from inside of pumpkin wall until it's about 1/4 inch thick. (A clean, smooth interior reflects light best.) Turn the pumpkin right side up.
Download and print template. With scissors, cut away white part of template. Tape template onto pumpkin, using a needle tool to prick every 1/8 to 1/4 inch along outlines of template. (Tip: You may need to cut slits around the template and overlap so it conforms to the pumpkin's roundness.)
Remove the paper and connect the dots with a linoleum cutter, scraping in the same direction in each section to keep the lines uniform. For the fairy house windows, apply enough pressure to cut out the panes; everywhere else, use a lighter hand.
Using T pins, add shelf mushrooms for front steps.
Do a little landscaping: A couple of T-pins secure a twisty branch for a homey arbor.
Set a battery-operated candle inside. Once the pumpkin is lit, you may want to do a few touch-ups: If the light shines unevenly, the flesh may be thicker in some spots; simply scrape away a little more wherever it appears darker.