Sewing For Dummies
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Pumpkin-carving kits are convenient, but if you don't have one, then use household tools. Carving Halloween pumpkins with tools you have at home is budget-smart. It's just as fun, and you'll get the same great results. If you don't have something on this list of equipment, then borrow it. When you return the tools, include a small jack o' lantern as a thank you!

  • Punching tool: Use a nail or an ice pick to punch out your design.

  • Boning knife: Carefully use this long, thin-bladed knife to cut the opening and any large pieces out of the pumpkin

  • Paring knife: Sharpen up a small paring knife to carve detail work.

  • Small serrated knife: You'll want to use a serrated knife in a sawing motion to chunk out pieces requiring a little elbow grease. For smaller areas, try using a serrated steak knife.

  • Craft knife: A craft knife works well for carving out intricate pattern work.

  • Gutting tools: Use a large ice cream scoop or spoon to scrape out the insides of the pumpkin.

  • Large bowl: Use a bowl to scoop seeds and pumpkin slime into. You can separate the seeds for toasting later.

  • Candles, candle holders, and lighters: Fireplace matches or candle lighters, prevent you from burning your fingers when trying to light the candles inside the pumpkin. Battery-operated votive candles are a great alternative to regular candles.

  • Newspaper: Use newspaper to protect your work surface areas and to absorb pumpkin juice or any spills you may have.

  • Tape: You'll want to tape your patterns to the surface of the pumpkin and will need more than you think as you go along.

  • Petroleum jelly: To make your carved pumpkin last longer, smooth a bit of this magical jelly on the cut edges (even the inside of the pumpkin!) to seal in the moisture and prevent rapid deterioration or mold.

  • Patterns: Picking a pattern for your pumpkin is one of the hardest decisions to make. Here are a few ways you can design your own pattern.

    Drawing: You can draw your pattern with a nonpermanent black magic marker and directly on the face of your pumpkin or draw your design on a clean sheet of paper and tape it to the face of the pumpkin.

    Painting: If you've previously painted your pumpkin, simply carve out elements of your design.

    Stenciling: If you like a very tailored, precise look, use stencils.

    Cookie cutters: Metal cookie cutters and other vegetable garnishing tools can come in handy for making patterns. Place your cutter on the pumpkin and gently tap it with a mallet until the cutter scores the flesh. Then you can carve the design out using your regular carving tools.

    Computer art: Design and print your pattern using your computer. If you have a graphics program, you can have a lot of fun turning photos into black and white patterns, or simply search online for pumpkin carving patterns. There are many free, downloadable designs to choose from!

About This Article

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About the book author:

Jan Saunders Maresh is a nationally known sewing journalist and educator as well as a best-selling author of 15 books, including Home Staging For Dummies. She has worked as the director of consumer education for White Sewing Machine Company and JoAnn Fabrics and is also an interior re-designer, color specialist, and certified staging professional.

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