Attach your pumpkin carving template to the pumpkin and transfer the image of the pumpkin carving template When the entire image of the pumpkin carving template is transfered, remove the pumpkin carving template Using a pumpkin carving saw begin carving between the dots transfered from the pumpkin carving template Continue carving between the dots until the image left by the pumpkin carving template has been completely carved out Carefully remove the pumpkin carving template pieces you carved out of the pumpkin Light your Jack O' Lanterns - Remember Safety First Have a Great Halloween! Pumpkin Carving Templates - How to carve your Jack O' Lanterns with Pumpkin Carving Templates
Pumpkin Carving Template

You can carve some truly beautiful and artistic pumpkins freehand, but if you want to create really detailed carvings you'll want to use a pumpkin carving template. If you've never carved a pumpkin this way before you may be a bit intimidated, but don't worry, its easier than you think and you'll love the results. And all you'll need is a couple of extra tools to trace and cut out the pumpkin carving templates. Below is step by step tutorial on how to carve your pumpkins using a pumpkin carving template.


Pumpkin Carving Tool #1Some sort of Carving Saw is essential for carving fine, detailed areas when using a pumpkin carving template to carve a Jack-O-Lantern. During the Halloween season you can buy these as part of a kit, or you can use an X-acto knife with a key-hole saw blade. Safety note - Only use a saw type blade, not a knife blade for carving pumpkins using a template.

Pumpkin Carving Tool #2A Transfer Tool is used to transfer via very small holes your pumpkin carving template designs onto the face of the pumpkin. During the Halloween season you can buy these as part of a kit, or you can use an ice pick, artist's stylus or even a nail.  Safety note - These tools can have a very sharp point. You need to be very careful when using one.

Pumpkin Pattern of a CatPumpkin carving templates can be found both on and off the Internet, drawn freehand onto paper or you can use your computer to make your templates and then print them.

Pumpkin Template


Try to pick out the templates you will be using before you buy your pumpkins. This will allow you to create a shopping list or at least a mental idea of the shapes and sizes of pumpkins you'll need. Selecting the pumpkins you'll carve for your Halloween Jack-O'-Lanterns is very important. You'll need to pick pumpkins according to what you want to carve on them. Medium to large pumpkins work best for most templates that you'll make or buy. Be sure to select pumpkins that are large enough and as close to the same shape as the templates you're going to carve into them.


Attaching the pumpkin carving template
Prepare your pumpkins as you would for basic carving, i.e. cut out the top hole and gut the pumpkin out. Select the pumpkin carving template you want to use and trim the excess paper from it with scissors. Be sure to leave at least a 1/2 inch border for the tape to go on. Attach the template to the face of the pumpkin with tape. Top first, then the bottom and lastly the sides. You may have to crease it to tape the corners, if so, try to make the creases where the template will be distorted the least.

Transferring the pumpkin carving template
Using the transfer tool, press the pointed tip into and through the design lines on the pumpkin carving template spaced about a 1/8 to a 1/4 of an inch apart. Complex and thin designs might require the dots to be a little closer together. The tip of the transfer tool should be pushed in just enough to go through the paper and the outer skin of the pumpkin, not all the way through the pumpkin.

It's important that you take your time when transferring the image from the template. Remember, you're making guide lines for sawing. Before removing the template, look it over carefully to make sure that all the lines have been transferred clearly. Once the paper template is removed you'll see the outline of the template marked on the face of the pumpkin via little dots. Once you remove the template be sure to save it in case you need to refer to it while carving.

Carving out the Transfer
Using the Carving Saw, push the tip of the saw-blade into a template hole and saw through the design lines with short back-and-forth motions. Basically, you're playing "connect the dots". It's important to remember that these are "saws", not knives. The saw is not used in the same way as a knife. You never cut with it, you saw with it. Take your time and follow the template edges carefully. Always align the saw blade to make the cuts straight into the pumpkin. When making sharp corners, remove the saw and re-insert it at the new angle. To make removal of the pieces easier you can cut them into smaller section while still in the pumpkin. Then carefully push out all of the cut pieces with your finger or an un-sharpened pencil.

Once you've removed all of the cut pieces, carefully trim the inside edges of the pumpkin of any excess flesh with the Carving Saw or a small knife. We like to carve the excess off at about a 45 degree angle. This allows more light to come through, showing your design to it's fullest. Remove any cut pieces that have fallen inside the pumpkin from your carving. Coat the inside and exposed edges with petroleum jelly or a spray-on preserver like to help your Jack O' Lantern last as long as possible. Your finished pumpkin should look like the one above. The silhouette, in this case our Halloween cat, should be clearly visible.


Using Candles
Candles have been the age old method of illuminating Jack O' Lanterns since, well, forever. Regular Votive candles, placed in clear glass candle holders like the one shown to the right, are safer, brighter and will last a lot longer than exposed candles. If you use candles to light your pumpkins, or for any other Halloween activity, remember, to never leave a lit candle unsupervised. Never use a lit candle in an artificial pumpkin. Always consider the inherent danger of fire.

Battery Powered Candles
You'll find many different types of battery powered "candles" to light your Jack-O-Lantern are now available. Most are inexpensive and ones like the Pumpkin Master brand can come in kits with pumpkin carving sets.

Be sure to take lots of pictures of your masterpieces for your Halloween photo album or scrapbook.

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