For some, pumpkin carving can feel a bit daunting. Sure you see all those photos in glossy magazines and on Instagram of incredible works of art sitting out on someone’s doorstep.
If it makes you a bit nervous that you can’t compete, think again. Even if you are a beginner, getting into pumpkin carving is easy, all you have to do is follow a few secret tips and tricks.
Don’t worry, we’re going to spill them for you here, just in time for Halloween.
So if you want to transform a few of those pumpkins you got over the weekend into your own mini works of art, look no further.
Assemble Your Tools
Before you dig into pumpkin carving, make sure you have the right tools at your disposal first.
First, the obvious, you’ll need at least one knife that’s sharp and has a sturdy blade to cut through the pumpkin. You don’t need anything that’s very large and unwieldy, pretty much any of the smaller knives out of your chef’s block should be fine.
If you’re doing this with your kids, it’s a good idea to pick up one or two safety knives so they can handle them safely.
You’ll also need a big spoon or ice cream scoop to get out the seeds.
And finally, a pen or sharpie to help plan out your design.
Think About Your Design
This is the fun part. You want to spend a little bit of time thinking about what kind of design or carving you want to make out of your pumpkin.
Peruse some of your favorite sites and don’t be afraid to steal a little bit of inspiration. You might also find that some places will have print-out designs that you can use as a template over your pumpkin.
Draw out a few ideas on paper first. Remember, you don’t need to make things overly complex, especially if you’re just starting out. But going into your carving with a good idea of what you want to do can help calm your nerves!
Pick the Right Pumpkin
This is actually where a lot of people end up going wrong. Picking the right pumpkin is key, especially when you have a design in mind.
Choose a pumpkin with a flat bottom and sturdy stem. For larger vertical designs go for a taller pumpkin and a rounder one for more horizontal works.
Ok, well this is actually the real fun part.
When you cut your first opening to scoop out the seeds, make it large enough for your hand to get in there. Also, cut at a 45-degree angle so where you cut is easily replaced if that’s part of your plan.
Fully scoop out all the pulp and seeds (you can save those seeds and toast them in the oven with a bit of cinnamon and sugar for a nice snack). The more you can scoop along the walls, the better the reflection you’ll get for lights and it will be a bit easier for other cuts.
Outline your drawing on your pumpkin or you can tape your template on it too, and then just follow the lines and start cutting. Don’t rush, just take your time and get the main cuts done first.
Then, you can go back in with a smaller knife and do a few of the more delicate or touch up cuts until you’re happy with the result.
Now, sit back and admire your work. You can place your carved pumpkin on your stoop with a battery-powered light and get ready for your trick or treaters!