Carving Portraits Into A Pumpkin

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Carving Portraits Into A Pumpkin

By Gerald Gore

When most of us think about pumpkin carvings, we generally think about the traditional carvings where you cutout the triangle eyes with the jagged smile. Although there is nothing wrong with these types of carvings, most people are unaware of the different ways to carve amazing looking pumpkins.

One method that can be used to create mind-blowing pumpkins is to carve a design into them using a template. If you are not familiar with using a template to carve a pumpkin, then you will be happy to know that it is a fairly easy skill to learn.

In a nut shell, a template is the negative image of a design. For example, let’s say you have a drawing of a black cat. On the template, the drawing of the cat would represent the area of the pumpkin that we would cutout. The image on the template is transferred to the pumpkin usually by first taping the template to the pumpkin. A punch or needle is then used to outline the design onto the pumpkin by punching a hole through the template and outer skin of the pumpkin. Finally, a carving saw is used to cutout the image into the pumpkin. Once you light up the pumpkin, the image of the cat will simply jump out at you.

Now, creating an image of a cat into a pumpkin is impressive but nothing is more impressive then carving a portrait of a person. The principles for carving basic images from templates still apply to portrait carving. Although the degree of difficulty increases, with a little practice just about anyone can carve and amazing portrait into a pumpkin.

Pumpkin Portraits

Pumpkin Portraits are just as they sound, a portrait of a person carved into a pumpkin. The key to creating amazing portraits in a pumpkin is using a technique called shading. If you already have some experience using templates for pumpkin carvings then you know there are basically two colors that a template creates, black and yellow (part of the pumpkin where the light shines through). Advanced templates, or portraits on the other hand use three colors; black, yellow, orange. The orange color is created by an effect called shading. Instead of cutting an image all the way through the pumpkin, you will use tools to shave the skin down. The thinner skin restrictively shines the light through creating a darker version of the yellow (orange in this case).

Although the process may appear difficult at first, carving a three layer pumpkin using the shading technique mentioned above really is not that difficult at all. The key is to start with a simple design and develop your skills from there.

The real beauty of pumpkin portraits is that you can use a permanent pumpkin, like a Fun-Kins pumpkin, to create the image one time and have a wonderful decoration to use for years to come. Portrait carving is fun, simple and a great way to add an amazing decoration for Halloween.

About the Author: Gerald Gore is the author of the e-book Cool Pumpkins. Gerald is a self-taught sculptor that has used his sculpting skills to carve some amazing pumpkins. Visit Cool Pumpkins at if you would like to see some examples of Gerald’s pumpkins and learn how to carv

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