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Pumpkin Carving: Carve Like a Pro

Buy a carving kit - For detailed designs having the right tools are important. You can find pumpkin carving kits in stores that carry Halloween items. They should come with a drill tool, a poker tool and a couple mini-saws. The smaller teeth saws are better for fine detail work.Choose your pumpkin - Find a pumpkin that’s roughly the dimensions of the pattern you want to use. For a very detailed pattern, a larger pumpkin will be easier to carve. Pick a smooth one that’s free of scratches, dents, gouges or rotting spots. Also make sure it has a flat bottom so it will sit upright and not roll away. Wash and dry it thoroughly before starting.Cut open a lid - Covering your table with plastic will make cleanup easier. Using a sturdy kitchen knife, cut an opening around the stem. Cut in at an angle to prevent the lid from falling into the pumpkin. Cutting a circle with a notch in it will make replacing the lid fast and easy. The hole should be an inch or two wider than your fist, to allow for scooping out the guts.Scoop out the guts - Remove the bulk of the seeds and strings with you hands. Keep the seeds for roasting using the recipes in this book. Then using a big spoon, scrape the inner walls of the pumpkin until smooth. Scraping the wall where your design will be to about one inch thick makes carving easier. You can check thickness by pushing a straight pin through the wall.Print and attach the pattern - When printed, the patterns will be the size of a standard sheet of paper. You can reduce or enlarge the pattern to fit your pumpkin with a photocopier. With scissors, trim off the excess paper. Place the pattern over the area you made an inch thick. Tape the edges of the pattern to the pumpkin.Transfer the pattern - Use a push pin to lightly poke holes along the lines of the pattern. To trace the image onto the pumpkins skin, you don’t need to slice threw the whole shell, just puncture the outer skin.Begin carving - Placing the pumpkin in your lap can help keep it steady. You should start by carving the smallest pieces first. Hold your carving saw tool like a pencil and insert it straight into the pumpkin, on one of the dotted lines. Begin sawing along the lines, connecting the dots. Follow curved lines by gently turning the saw in the direction you wish to carve. For sharp corners, pull out the saw and reinsert at the new angle. Never twist the saw or it will bend or break. When cutting out the larger pieces, cut them into two or three smaller pieces to allow for easier removal. Use the paper pattern as reference as you carve. You’ll be removing the pieces that are shaded grey.Final touches - Remove all of the cut pieces, and compare your pumpkin to the paper pattern. Placing a light inside the pumpkin will allow you to see the holes clearly. Use the detail saw tool to carefully trim the inside edges of any excess flesh.Rinse - Give the finished pumpkin a good rinsing in the sink. Spray some cool water through all the cut openings, getting rid of any of the dangling bits. This also gives the pumpkin extra moisture to look its best.Preserve the pumpkin - Coat the cut edges with generous layer of petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) or white glue. Use your finger on large openings, and a cotton swab to coat the tiny openings. This helps seal in the pumpkin’s moisture, extending its life to a week or more.Light it up - Using a light, light up the inside of your pumpkin. There are some great battery operated LED lights or for a more traditional look use a battery operated fake candle.

Want to have the best pumpkin in the neighborhood? Visit Pumpkin Carving Masters for more information on pumpkin carving and pumpkin carving templates.

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