Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin carving 106: scooping & shaving

Greetings again!  Hopefully your pumpkin isn't rotting as you're reading these... Don't carve your pumpkin until a day before!

Anyways, scooping out those pumpkins... Secretly, my favourite part.  There's something delightful about sticking your hand into a freshly cut pumpkin and gushing your fingers through the wet, stringy mess inside... And trying to grab as many of the pumpkin seeds as possible as they slip and slide around in your grip...


Well, you know, tis the season.

So once you've taken your messy delights with the pumpkin, you need to start scraping all that mess out. 

A few things to keep in mind:

  • You don't actually have to do a very good job at this.  So long as you scrape the face you'll be carving and the bottom, you're done and good to go.
  • Shave down the face of the pumpkin you're going to carve really thin.  I try to get it down to about a centimetre (half inch) or so.
  • You don't need to shave the bottom of the pumpkin down that far, all you need to do is make it flat so that the candle has a good surface to sit steady on.
  • When shaving the inside of the face down, take a look at your stencil and ball park its size; make sure to shave down everywhere that the stencil is going to end up.
  • Use a spoon or a scraper that comes with carving sets to do the rough work, but when you want to really get things shaved right down, a melon baller is perfect.
  • Before you're done, make sure that the inside of the face side is pretty even. This is even more important with shaved-type pumpkin stencils.

Roughed in - you can see the side is quite thick when compared to the lip at the top.

Shaved down and in. The ridges are from the basic tool - almost done, shave it a little thinner and get it even.

Using the melon baller, hard at work making it even.

The thinner, the better (within reason).  When it is thin, it's easier to do the actual cutting and when you light the pumpkin up, more light gets through because there are shallower light tunnels. Unfortunately, you can't go back in after you carve the pumpkin to thin out these areas without risk of damaging your carving, so get it nice and thin right from the start.

Next post, the transfer.  How I long for a quick transfer method like we have for stamps...

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