Cece & Sam’s Halloween – Day 26 – Pumpkin Carving Tutorial


We’re going to show you how we carved this pumpkin step-by-step so that you have the know-how to carve a great pumpkin of your own. This is NOT A TEMPLATE. People keep bumping into my site looking for templates. People, templates stink. Templates are only for people who lack confidence in their own creativity. This lesson will empower you to make your OWN pumpkin.

If you already know how to carve your own pumpkin, then why not read about my book instead?

These are just things we’ve picked up over the years which have made pumpkin carving at lot more fun and our jack-o-lanterns a lot wackier.


 First rule: Kitchen knife is NOT recommended. We are going to be sawing, not slicing.

You can buy a great little kit with an assortment of tiny saws. These are nice until they break.

What I’ve got here is a jigsaw blade (5 for $4) with duct tape wrapped around the end. It’s not so nice, but it shouldn’t break.


First step: To gut the pumpkin, cut a hole in the BOTTOM.


And if possible, cut the hole off-center, so that the pumpkin sits crooked. Why? So that once he has a face he’ll be looking up! (If it’s going to be on the ground or on steps.) Otherwise someone would have to lie on the ground to see him properly.

TRANSLUCENT DETAILS – I’m not sure where I first saw people cutting only halfway through the rind, but it opened up a world of possibilities. The idea is to cut through far enough that light shines through, without actually making a hole.

You’re going to need something to gouge through the tough outer rind.


For this pumpkin I used a wood gouge and linoleum block cutting tools. (Cece has really done wonders with these in the past. She’s also used a Dremel tool.) The big wood gouge clears away large areas. The block tools give nice crisp lines.


But you can also use a SPOON, you just have to work at it.


SECOND STEP: I wish I had been the one to invent this way of doing mouths. It’s really amazing. You’re going to make an open mouth shape, like this.


Again, this is not a template. The mouth you cut (and don’t bother drawing it first) is going to give your pumpkin it’s own groove, right?

 You can gouge the whole thing out with a spoon, but it might be a little rough. (And that”s okay.)

If you’ve got the tools, make an outline with a small tool. Then use a big tool to cut away everything inside. Then use a spoon to smooth it all out, like so…


Now you’re going to cut out the teeth individually. If you get tired, just knock some out. You can’t go wrong.


a) Blue line. Saw straight down the center. That’s the gap between the two front teeth.

b) Green lines. Saw evenly spaced (or not) lines on both sides.

c)Red Line. Saw a line all the way across to seperate uppers from lowers.

d)Black area. Saw, carve and scrape away at the edges of the teeth until they look like teeth and not rectangles.


Eye placement is what it’s all about. Look at the difference:


Again, I’m going to make the eyes without ever punching all the way through the pumpkin. I’m going to make the eye sockets really deep to let as much light through as possible.


Now, I’m going to let Cece take a crack at it. She is THE MASTER after all…


She’s using the lineloleum block tool to make glasses and a nose. Later, I go back with a sharp stick and deeped the lines a bit. We want them to go deep enough to let light through, but not far enough that they destabilize the pumpkin’s face.


And we’re done.

If you’re going to light it with a candle, cut a BIG hole in the back of the head for exhaust.

Remember these techniques can be used for all sorts of different things, like putting a picture on a pumpkin for example:


Or whatnot.

There you go. If this helps you, I hope you’ll send a photo of your own jack-o-lantern.


5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tips. My husband is away this weekend, so I shall rumage amongst his tools, which I vaugly think include things such as you all used….Kitchen knives just don’t cut it. ha ha.

  2. This tutorial is inspiring. However, you are right, I lack confidence. What I’d really like is a Brad the Gorilla pumpkin: http://bradthegorilla.blogspot.com/2005/11/road-signs.html (Scroll to the end)

  3. This is too cool. I think I’ve got some tools. I’ll try this and see what happens. Thanks!

  4. […] Pumpin Carving Tutorial […]

  5. Nice! I used your tutorial, here are the results. Thanks!

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