Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin carving 102: stencils & patterns

A few days ago, I posted about the (mostly modern) history of pumpkin carving... Today, the stencils!  Hallowe'en is only 20 days away, but remember to not carve your pumpkins until a day before at the earliest.  They dry out or rot pretty quickly...

Anyways. So, it is a perfectly valid choice to carve your standard face pumpkin, with triangle eyes and toothy grin and I'd encourage you to do that... but I really like the intricate carvings, which is why you're probably here.  My favourite part of the pumpkin process is hunting down new patterns, hard patterns, or finding old unused ones.

Here's a quick round up of some great places to get stencils:

  • Google Images: Okay, let's be honest here: for the beginning pumpkin carver, there are plenty of stencils that can be found through Google Images.  Throw in a search term like "pumpkin stencil" and you're going to find lots of free stencils.
  • Pumpkin Masters: This is probably the company that started it all - at least for me - and some of my favourite vintage patterns are by this company. I can remember the excitement of the Pumpkin Masters books being put out for the new season with their new patterns and wondering what kinds of great new patterns I was going to find... Great for beginners, but becoming disappointing for me because they've lost a bit of that spark in their patterns (as in: same old, same old).
  • Zombie Pumpkins: One of my current favourite places to get stencils. It's all online, you can check out the patterns and print the ones you like. The stencils on this site are actually really clean  for lack of a better term.  If you want to do more challenging patterns, generally these ones can look really complicated without actually being too difficult.  Low risk, high reward ;)
  • Jammin' Pumpkins: This site has some great stencils and I particularly like the stencils in the bonus section, Ride of the Reaper (last jack here) and Hitchcock the Birds.  Great patterns, new ones all the time, and worth the membership.
  • Stoneykins: My current go-to place for stencils, this place has both the carve through patterns as well as the shaving/shaded patterns.  Two of my all time favourite stencils were from this site, Poe (second last jack here) and American Gothic (top jack here).

The next carving post will be about stencil choices and considerations and picking the perfect pumpkin...

Happy trails!

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