Halloween is just around the corner, and we all know Halloween porch decoration is never complete without some carved pumpkins at the doorsteps. According to the legend, jack-o’-lantern is believed to protect your home from evil spirits, ensure good harvest and peace for the rest of the year.
Making jack-o’-lanterns not only helps you to bring a hollow feel but also helps add an eerie touch to your home decor. Your choice for carving patterns can be anything, from simple figures and logos celebrity faces and famous movie characters.
But if you’re trying it for the first time, then here are few pumpkin carving tips that will help you to carve a pumpkin like a pro.
Choosing the Right Pumpkin
While decorating for Halloween, you need to be careful in choosing the right pumpkins for carving, painting, cooking, and fall decor. Below are a few tips to make sure that your pumpkin is right to be decorated as a jack-o’-lantern:
- The foremost thing you have to ensure is the health and freshness of the pumpkin. It should be firm all over and without any brown and/or soft spots, meaning it is infested and wouldn’t stay for long. Also, make sure that the pumpkins are orange from all the sides and don’t have thick walls. It is important to have a nice flat bottom, but it must not be mushy and soft.
- Have a look at the stem and analyze if it is fresh or not. It should be hard, dark green or black, attached with the pumpkin without wiggling.
- The shape and size of pumpkin also decide what you can design on it. Round or oval pumpkins with flat bottoms are easier to carve. It is recommended to go for an oblong shaped pumpkin rather than a round one.
Using the Right Tools
Instead of heading out to the market to get a carving kit, it is better to explore your kitchen first. The serrated knife and cookie cutters can be used for carving different patterns, while a large metal spoon or ice cream scoop is perfect to take out the pumpkin seeds. Do keep toothpicks near you while carving a pumpkin, as they are useful for correcting mistakes with cutting or carving the pumpkin.
You can also use a paring knife, melon baller, keyhole saw, chisel, and a power drill to carve like a professional.
Cutting the Lid
Before chopping off the top of the pumpkin make sure that the pumpkin is clean from outside, there is nothing wrong in giving it a wash. Cutting the lid (the top part with stem) is the most crucial task, as one wrong move and the lid will fall straight into the lantern. Therefore, start from drawing and then cut on an inward angle so that the lid doesn’t slip into the pumpkin when you put it back.
Scoop Out Everything from Inside
Make space to place a tea light or candle by removing the pulp and seeds from the inside of the pumpkin using a metal spoon or ice cream scoop. You can even do it with your hands. It is a fun part of pumpkin carving that you can enjoy with your kids. Pumpkin seeds make a good snack and it can also be used in the decoration.
Drawing the Design
To work like a pro, it is better to first draw the design you wish to carve on the pumpkin, this will help you craft an easy and mess-free pumpkin carving project. Simply use a marker or stick the print of the design you wish to create as a stencil on the pumpkin, trace the design and carve it out gently.
Cutting the Design
If you don’t have pumpkin carving experience, it is better to go for easy projects first. To carve like a professional, you need to use special carving tools with sharp edges that help in carving out intricate details easily. While carving the pumpkin, never cut in angels, rather it is best to cut straight. You can even store scrap pumpkins as they can be used for additional visual details.
Adding Finishing Touch
If you want to be fancy with pumpkin carving, then you must try shaving the skin off the pumpkin. It adds a shadowing effect to the pattern and you are able to carve different designs – including celebrity faces, movie characters and anything you like. Clay sculpting tools are extremely useful to add final finishing touch to the pumpkin design.
Keeping it Fresh
To keep the pumpkin fresh and beautiful for long, you can apply petroleum jelly around the corners of the carved areas, which will seal the moisture within. If it still shrivels, put your pumpkin upside-down in ice-cold water for approximately eight hours. Repeat the process multiple times to revive the health and freshness of the carved pumpkin.
Add Cinnamon for Fragrance
If you are using candles for light, then it’s obvious that your jack-o’-lantern will smell like a pumpkin pie. To avoid the situation, simply sprinkle some cinnamon on the lid which spruces a fresh fragrance that does not smell like pumpkin at all.
So what are you waiting for? Gather your pumpkin carving tools and start carving a DIY pumpkin for October 31. Make sure your jack-o’-lantern is different and better than your neighbors, and don’t forget to share your designs with us.