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How to Carve a Pumpkin Using Patterns Made From Pumpkinshop Stencils

Using your stencil

Pumpkin-carving success all boils down to choosing the right stencil! How do you want your pumpkin to look? Terrifying? Silly? foxy? To get the expression right, select the best stencil for you and your pumpkin! It will be the best jack'o'lantern on the block. Here is how to get the best out of your stencil choice:

1) Cut out your stencil with a pair of scissors, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides.

2) Tape your stencil to the pumpkin on the side that is the most flat. You will probably have to crease the sides of the stencil for a better fit (because placing a flat piece of paper on a rounded surface causes distortion).
~Carver's tip: have the stencil a couple of inches from the bottom of the pumpkin or the candle flame may be visible through the finished carving.

3) To transfer the stencil design on to the pumpkin, use a pushpin, nail or other sharp point and poke holes along all the red and blue lines outlining each area to be carved.
~Carver's tip: for tighter, smaller and more detailed areas, poke holes closer together. This will keep the detail in these areas when you begin carving.
~Note: Simple mode stencils will have only red lines. There will be no blue lines.

4) Remove the stencil from the pumpkin and keep it. You'll need to refer to it while carving.

Sawing Holes

1) Use a pumpkin carving saw for the best results. These can be found in pumpkin carving kits. Find these kits at pumpkinmasters.com or in most retail stores. Similar tools that allow you to carve through the pumpkin with a thin blade will do fine, too.

2) Start by sawing through the smallest areas. Saw through the dotted lines that surround the areas to be carved out (on your stencil, these lines are blue and the areas are colored orange).
~Note: For medium and advanced mode stencils, don't saw through the red lines; these lines separate the pumpkin skin from areas that are layered.

3) Saw back and forth to make a complete cut through the pumpkin. Make sure that your saw goes all the way through the pumpkin or you won't be able to remove the carved pieces. Try not to bend the saw around corners or small areas or it could break.
~Carver's tip: Make your cuts perpendicular to the pumpkin surface for better lighting results.

4) Remove the smallest cut-out sections first, then move on to the large sections. You can poke your finger into the area to push it out or you could even use the end of your saw for very small areas.
~Carver's tip: Cut large areas in half or in quarters with your saw to make it easier to remove them.

Note: If you are using a simple mode stencil, your carving is now complete! Put a candle in it and see for yourself!
For medium and advanced mode stencils, take a look at the next section below.

Carving Layers

1) A paring knife works best for cutting away skin (medium and advanced mode) and making layers (advanced mode only). Always cut away from yourself and keep your fingers out of the way. Start by tracing the remaining dotted lines (red lines on your stencil) with the end of your knife. Cut deep enough that the skin can be later shaved off.

2) Now it's time to remove the skin. When cutting off the skin, use a back and forth motion and slowly shave it off, leaving a layer of flesh. Again, start with the smallest areas and move towards the largest.

Note: If you are using a medium mode stencil, your carving is done! Stick a candle in your pumpkin and have a look.
For advanced mode stencils, keep going - it's time to layer your pumpkin!

3) When making layers, the areas on the stencil that are in grayscale indicate how much light should be coming through your carvings. Areas that are lighter grayscale are more cut out. Darker gray areas indicate less light coming through, which means you don't need to layer them very much, if at all.

4) The best way to make layers is to make U-shaped cuts. Scoop out the flesh with the knife and be careful not to cut all the way through the lighter gray areas.
~Carver's tip: To see your progress, turn out the lights and put a candle in your pumpkin. You may even want to continue carving with the candle showing through! Be careful not to tip the pumpkin with the candle inside.

...and that's how you carve pumpkins using Pumpkinshop stencils. For more detailed instructions, check out the video tutorials on the program, or e-mail us with any questions or comments. We hope these instructions were informative. Good luck in your carving adventures and Happy Halloween!

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