Halloween is fast approaching and your social media feeds are probably already filled with picture after picture of amazing pumpkin carving creations, but how do you become a pro at carving a pumpkin?
We’re going to share with you our best advice for choosing the perfect pumpkin, some clever tricks and hacks for when it comes to carving and even some essential bits of kit that we think you can’t be without! When it comes to choosing the right pumpkin, there’s lots of thing to take into consideration if you’re planning on producing a real carving creation!
Pick a Pumpkin with a Flat Side – most people root through all the pumpkins to find the ones that are perfectly round but you shouldn’t overlook the ones with a flat side as this could make your life a lot easier. Carving your design onto a flat side will not only be easier but the design will often look more effective as it isn’t curving round the sides of the pumpkin.
Consider the Size – more often than not, we buy the pumpkin and then decide on the design but it can be best to do it the other way around. Your design and how you want it to be laid out will affect the size of pumpkin you need. If you want an intricate and precise design, then a smaller pumpkin could work better but if you’re planning a big and bold creation then a larger pumpkin is a good choice!
Size of the stem – you’ve probably not even thought of the stem on your pumpkin but it is all part of picking the perfect pumpkin. Some have long stems, others have short ones so when you’re choosing your ideal pumpkin, think about how the stem will play a part in the overall design.
Top Tips and Carving Hacks
Use a Template – there’s no shame in printing off a template for a design you like and using that as a guide to carve around. By using a template you’ll probably get a cleaner shape and your design will be better laid out. This can also help you look seriously artistic and creative to your friends and family when they see your design.
Scoop More Than Just the Middles Out – everyone knows that before you start carving, you have to go through the dreaded job of scooping out the middles. Usually people just remove the seeds and stringy insides and then start carving but if you want to make your life easier, carry on scooping after all the middles are out to remove more of the sides to make them thinner. Doing this will make it easier to carve the shapes out as the sides won’t be as thick which helps the shapes look sharper and clearer.
Want Perfect Circles? Use an Apple Corer – Knifes aren’t the only tool that can be used for carving pumpkins, if you want perfect circles as part of your design then use an apple corer to create them. Push the apple corer into the outside of the pumpkin where you want your circle until it comes out the other side, twist to ensure its fully cut through and pull back out to reveal the shape. If you want even smaller circles then you can use a drill to create those.
Essential Bits of Kit
We think it’s fair to say that most people just carve a pumpkin with one of the kitchen knives and take out the middles with a big spoon but there’s some seriously good pumpkin carving equipment out there that is going to make you look like far more of a pro!
Pumpkin Carving Kits – the little plastic carving kits often get over looked as being a bit useless but that’s where you’re wrong! The cheap plastic carving kits you can pick up in supermarkets or discount shops may be designed for children but they’re often great at their job and also really good value for money. The scoops in these kits are often a much more effective size than a standard kitchen spoon and the little knives can be great for small, precise shapes.
Apple Corer – as mentioned in our above pumpkin carving hack, if you’re creating eyes or other circular designs on your pumpkin then an apple corer is your best friend.
Small Chisels – you’re probably thinking this sounds a little extreme but one of the latest trends in pumpkin carving is to chisel shapes into the skin without cutting all the way through to create a 3D effect. The best way to do this without paying for expensive pumpkin carving tools is to use a small chisel.
Biscuit Cutters – another random kitchen item that can make for a unique pumpkin carving design is the humble biscuit cutter. Not just for baking, biscuit cutters come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and could be used to create your design. Place the biscuit cutter where you want the shape and use a small hammer to tap the cutter through the wall of the pumpkin to create the shape.
When it comes to choosing a cool theme for your pumpkin this year, we’re loving all the Game of Thrones inspired design as well as those based on superhero characters from the likes of Marvel and DC Comics!
So, there you have it, our definitive guide to pumpkin carving. We hope with the help of these top tips and handy hacks that you’ll be carving pumpkins like a pro this year.