Carve a Work of Art
With Halloween just a few weeks away, it’s pumpkin carving time! Try these tips from marthastewart.com to carve like a pro.
1. Gage what gourd you want according to its size. For example, tall, oblong pumpkins work well for vertical designs, while short ones are best for horizontals. Whatever your design, select a pumpkin that is smooth, symmetrical, and firm. Also, look for those that don’t have any punctures or wounds on the shell, as these can lead to quicker rotting.
2. A keyhole saw, sculpting tool, and key pins are all that is needed for a basic design. Whichever you choose, be sure an adult does all the carving.
3. Place the pumpkin on its side and use a keyhole saw to cut a circle around its base if using a candle to light it. Be sure to set the candle in high-sided glass or a votive, and never leave a lit candle unattended. Cut a small hole in the back for ventilation. For the safest, easiest option, opt for a battery-operated candle.
4. Remove the pumpkin’s insides – the gooey strings and seeds – with a fleshing tool, and thin the walls to ½ to ¾ inches thick. The cleaner and smoother the pumpkin’s interior is, the better light will illuminate.
5. Print out a design template that will fit the face and tape it to the pumpkin, or just sketch your own if you’re artistically inclined. Using an awl, T pin, or needle tool, poke along every 1/8 to ¼ inch of the outline of the template. Remove the template.
6. Use a miniature saw to cut all the way through, or linoleum cutters to scrape the pumpkin skin. Start at the designs outline and work inward. No. 1 or 2 blades work best for details, while No. 3 or 5 blades are appropriate for large areas. Scrape in the same direction, then apply petroleum jelly to exposed areas of flesh to keep them fresh.