As you might imagine, we are collectors of pumpkin carving tips and tricks, always on the lookout for new ideas. Here is our top 7 list updated with a brand new 8th tip as of last night.
- Find the best side of the pumpkin to use as the front before cutting the lid. Then cut a key or unique feature at the back of the lid as a guide for orienting the lid when replacing it.
- When cutting the lid, angle the blade towards the center of the pumpkin. This creates a ledge for the lid to set on. The lid can be carefully cut using a large kitchen knife, or if you prefer power tools like we do, it can be cut using a reciprocating saw.
- Try cutting the hole in the bottom of the pumpkin, rather than the top. This makes it easy to place the candle inside and makes the overall look cleaner. You can place the pumpkin stem side down in a mixing bowl or bucket to hold it for gutting. Once you are done carving, set the pumpkin bottom back in place.
- LED lights really are the best solution for lighting pumpkins. They don’t burn the inside top and they are much safer to use. If you still like to use a candle, after you have lit the candle for the first time, replace the lid for a few moments. The candle will leave a black mark on the inside of the lid. This is where you should cut a chimney hole in the pumpkin.
- Thin the walls. One of the challenges with carving, especially more intricate patterns, are thick walled pumpkins. Those thick walls are hard to carve with those little saws and show through your cut design. A half to one-inch thick wall is best for most stencils. The Pumpkin Gutter makes the thinning process quick and easy.
- As long as you have your drill handy, a spade bit works well to create the eyes and nose. You can add additional character by making minor modifications to the holes using a carving tool or small knife.
- For more intricate, professional results, use a carving pattern. These are available where ever carving supplies are sold or on the internet at sites like zombiepumpkins.com, masterpiecepumpkins.com, or pumpkinglow.com. Or you can always just let your own creativity take over.
- Always set your carved pumpkin where a family member can’t accidentally kick it while walking by. In our case the result was tragic, decapitating poor Snoopy within an hour of being carved.