Pumpkin carving is the main attraction of the holiday.
It’s the one Halloween Crafts project that gets the whole family involved. When the weather turns cool and the sweaters come out, it’s time to head to the pumpkin patch or farmer’s market and start the search for the perfect pumpkin. And once you’ve found that one, you need to have the perfect face to carve into it. Using a creative stencil design can take your Jack O Lantern from a simple toothless face to an ornate scene.
Don't miss the video at the bottom of this page for more Halloween Craft ideas and projects!
If you are looking for the how to of pumpkin carving, you’ve found it! Best of all these instructions step you through the process of using a stencil so that you can be much more creative with your pumpkin’s design. You’ll be the envy of the neighborhood.
We have a few free pumpkin carving stencils for you. This makes pumpkin carving easy because you can just print the stencil out and start creating your pumpkin masterpiece. You can also find a large assortment of free stencils for many other projects like creating masks and trick or treat bags for collecting all the goodies.
In case you're looking for creative Jack O Lantern Stencils for your pumpkin carving event then don't miss the free patterns we have to offer here! You'll find great faces for your pumpkin and other Halloween Craft Projects you may be planning.
Are you ready to get started with your pumpkin carving project? OK! Just follow these instructions:
First, here are a few items that you’ll need: A Stencil Pattern, Scissors, Tape, A Carving Saw, A Transfer Tool, A Large Spoon or Scoop (You may be able to find the last three tools mentioned in a pumpkin carving kit).
Of course, you’ll want to match your pumpkin and your stencil design. If you already have a pumpkin that is tall and thin, then find a pattern that will fill in the height and not curve too far around the sides. If you have chosen a pattern that is short and wide, look for a pumpkin that is squat and round. You want your carving to be clearly visible from one direction.
Also, try to find a pumpkin that has a smooth side for your pattern to fit snugly against. This will make it easier to transfer the pattern and carve it.
Allow the pumpkin to sit for a while at room temperature. Draw an outline of a six-sided lid on top of the pumpkin that will be large enough for you to clean out the inside and place a candle. Use a carving saw and cut along the outline with the blade at an angle towards the center of the pumpkin in order to create a ledge to support the lid.
Use a large spoon to clean out the seeds and pulp. Scrape the pulp in the area you plan to carve until the wall is no more then 1 inch thick. If you were able to find the pumpkin carving kit at your local store there is most likely a small plastic scoop enclosed. I would recommend using a larger metal spoon if you have one. The seeds and the pulp inside a pumpkin can be a lot for that little plastic spoon to handle.
Trim the excess paper from your stencil with scissors making sure to leave at least a ½ inch border on all sides for the tape. Line up the pattern and tape both sides of the stencil, top and bottom. To tape the corners, you may need to crease the stencil. Depending on the roundness of the pumpkin, this may distort your design so try to make the creases where the pattern will be the least distorted.
Use the Transfer Tool to make holes along the lines of the design at about 1/8 inch apart. Complex designs might require the holes to be closer together. The tip of the tool should be pushed in just far enough to penetrate the paper stencil and the outer skin of the pumpkin. Don’t push so hard that the tool goes through the wall of the pumpkin. Make sure that all the lines have been marked clearly before removing the pattern. If you need help seeing the holes once the pattern is removed, rub flour into them. They’ll turn white.
Cradle the pumpkin in your lap, and use the Carving Saw to cut out the design by connecting the dots. Hold the saw like a pencil and cut with a continuous up-and-down motion, keeping the saw perpendicular to the pumpkin. Only use gentle pressure to avoid stressing and breaking the tool or the pumpkin. It’s best to start in the center of the design and work your way out. You may need to rotate the pumpkin in your lap to keep the side that you are cutting closer to your hand. To cut sharp corners, remove the saw blade and re-insert it at the new angle. Use your finger to push the cut pieces out from the inside of the pumpkin. Cut large areas into smaller ones for easier removal.
One last thing to do! If you want to put a candle inside the pumpkin you need a chimney in order to allow the heat to escape. When all the carving is done and the inside is clean, smooth and free of loose pulp, place the candle inside and carefully light it. Put the lid in place and let the candle burn for just a couple of minutes. Once the candle smoke has blackened a spot on the lid or top, use the Carving Saw to cut a 1 inch diameter hole at that spot for a chimney.
Here's what the finished Witch in Moonlight Stencil looks like when carved into a pumpkin and lit up.
Oh yeah! Coating the cut edges with petroleum jelly will reduce shriveling and extend the life of your pumpkin.
Also, before you toss out the seeds, you can bake them for a tasty snack. Separate the seeds from the pumpkin strings and pulp. Toss the seeds in a bowl with a little olive oil or melted butter. Place them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt or any other seasoning of your choice (to taste). Bake at 250 degrees for about an hour, stirring every 15 or 10 minutes until they have a golden brown color.
For us crafters and artist holidays are just another excuse to create and put our talents to good use. Pumpkin carving is no exception. It may not be a masterpiece that will stand the test of time but none the less it allows us to drive our talents past the usual and mundane. I really hope that you enjoy using stencils to create your pumpkin art this year and for many years to come.
P.S. If you're looking for Stencil Pattern Books in Print (like these) then visit our Printer's Book Shop for a large variety of stencils. These books are easy to follow and come with complete instructions. You'll find all of the stencil designs used as samples on this site.
Of course, if you want stencil designs that you can print from your computer right now, go to the
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Wait, wait! Here's that Halloween Craft Video I promised you. Enjoy!
Here's a quick list of links to all of the Halloween Crafts!
Pumpkin Crafts - See how to carve a Craft Pumpkin for a no-mess forever Jack-O-Lantern.
Pumpkin Carving - Learn how to carve a Pumpkin with Stencils.
Cat Stencils for Pumpkin Carving - Free Stencils.
Cartoon Pumpkin Stencils
Free Halloween Stencils
Halloween Masks - Get some great tips for creating Halloween Masks and Costumes starting with Stencils.
Free Pumpkin Carving Stencils
Free Pumpkin Stencils
Halloween Cookie Stencils - And the Recipe too!
Halloween Crafts - Here you'll find the tid-bits on All the Halloween Crafts.
Halloween Pumpkin Stencils - And they're Free!
Jack O Lantern Stencils - More Free Stencils.
Printable Halloween Masks - Find a Free Printable Mask.
Printable Halloween Stencils
Pumpkin Patterns or Stencils
Pumpkin Stencils - Free Stencils and watch a video for ideas.
Scary Pumpkin Stencils - Free Scary Pumpkin Stencils.
Skull and Crossbones Stencil - You guessed it - It's Free!
I hope you enjoyed all of the Halloween Crafts that you found here. Come back soon for all of the
For art supplies, books and much more please visit our Affiliates below.
MisterArt.com has a dedicated department for stencil supplies. Here you'll find stencil films, paints, books and tools plus and extensive selection of applicators including brushes and sponges.
In these times, we're always looking for a bargain. CreateForLess has a good selection of plastic palettes for you to choose. Plus you'll find Delta Ceramacoat and DecoArt Paints, stencil brushes and applicators, a few pre-cut stencil designs, and many other items on your stencil supplies checklist.
Joann.com carries a variety of high quality acrylic paints, great for stenciling. You'll find brands like Delta Ceramacoat, Folk Art, Americana and DecoArt. They also provide paint applicators and many other arts and crafts and stencil supplies.
If it's pre-cut stencil designs that you are looking for, then may I suggest Stencil Ease. They have decorative, alphabet and industrial designs or they can custom make one for you. You'll also find Americana Acrylic Paints and other stencil supplies.