Who says jack-o'-lanterns have to be spooky? This Halloween , show off your yarn love and carve a crafty pumpkin.
Ball of Yarn Pumpkin
What You Need
- PDF pattern (download it for free!)
- Serrated knife
- Plastic pumpkin scraper (or a metal spoon)
- Pumpkin carving tools (or a skewer)
- Small knife
- A butter knife, small spoon, melon baller or other tool for scraping off the hard skin
1. Pick a Pumpkin and Print Your Template
Any pumpkin that catches your eye is fair game for carving, regardless of size, shape or color. Larger pumpkins tend to give you more visual impact and are easier to carve details onto, so you may want to choose one that's at least 10-15 pounds.
2. Clean It Out
Cleaning out your pumpkin is the fun, messy part of the job. Use a serrated knife to remove the top of the pumpkin. Remove the guts and seeds by hand, then grab a plastic pumpkin scraper to clean the sides.
Good to Know
With a sculpted pumpkin design like this one, you'll need to thin the wall of the pumpkin on the side you are carving. You can do that at the end of the carving process. (See instructions in step 6.)
3. Transfer Your Template
The easiest way to transfer your template onto a pumpkin is to tape the paper and poke holes through the outline. This creates a connect-the-dots effect that'll be a guide to your carving. There are pumpkin carving tools specifically for this purpose, but you can also use a toothpick or skewer.
Good to Know
If you have a steady hand and a good eye, you can also use the template as a reference and simply sketch the design into the pumpkin using pencil or a red marker. (That way you won't see leftover marks on the finished carving.)
4. Cut the Outline
Use a small, sharp knife to make shallow cuts along the outline of your design. (Make sure not to cut all the way through the wall of the pumpkin.)
Go back over the same lines a second time, placing your knife at a slight angle so the lines become slightly thicker and more visible.
5. Sculpt the Ball of Yarn
Once you have your basic outline in place, it is time to sculpt the details!
Remove the pumpkin skin from the "blank" areas of the template by scraping it off with a dull knife (a small, sturdy butter knife works well), small spoon, melon baller or zester with a large opening. You could also use a small, round-tipped pumpkin-carving knife.
Good to Know
Sculpting pumpkins is a lot easier than it looks, as it only involves taking off the outside layer of the pumpkin. The flesh is soft and simply needs to be thinned so light can pass through the wall when you're ready to light it up.
Trace over the lines you previously cut to make them even thicker and more defined. (The design actually only has a few lines, so you want to really be able to see them!) Try to make your cuts about ¼" deep, just know that may vary depending on the thickness of your pumpkin's wall.
6. Thin the Walls
Once your design is finished, thin the wall of the pumpkin from the inside. Use your spoon or pumpkin scraper to scrape away some of the flesh from the wall the design is on. When you place a tealight candle inside, you should be able to see light through the areas you carved.
Now you just have to wait until nightfall to light up your totally unique jack-o'-lantern!
Photos by Nicole Weston of Baking Bites