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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was looking around for tips and images for Pumpkin Carving. From your classic Jack-O-Lantern to the elaborate custom carvings, but was surprised not to find much. So Here we go, looking for anything and everything the pumpkin carver could ask for.
Feel free to chime in with tips on Preserving pumpkins, Transferring patterns, Where to find awesome patterns or share some custom patterns of your own. And of course, Show us your carvings!

For the past 5 years I've hosted a pumpkin carving party, what started out with about 5-8 pumpkins and a few friends has evolved into 20+ pumpkins. I have a few standard Jack-O-Lantern faces I use on my props, mainly a scarecrow and a hanging man. The scarecrow gets a near-replica of the Pumpkin King face from Nightmare Before Christmas while the Hanging man usually gets a standard Triangle cut out face. My favorite in recent years is "flaming" face, that I like take to the next level by having real flames. A toilet paper roll soaked in Torch Fuel give a pretty impressive flame that will go for hours. Also learned how to make Green Fire.

Green Light Lighting Neon Fictional character trick-or-treat Jack-o'-lantern Pumpkin Calabaza Lighting trick-or-treat Light Lighting Font Darkness trick-or-treat Orange Jack-o'-lantern Heat Carving Jack-o'-lantern Green Light Head Carving
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
Joined
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
If you are looking for a new or interesting Pumpkin pattern Check out Zombie Pumpkins. They have a few free paterns, but you need to purchase a membership for most of theirs. I had a subscription 2 years ago for some specific patterns, including my 'Pumpkin King" pattern. Was worth it then, but have not kept it up.
https://www.zombiepumpkins.com/patterns
Line art Fictional character Pumpkin Winter squash Jack-o'-lantern Calabaza Orange


Just found this site, Not sure about the content or Quality yet, but at 700 FREE patterns, it's worth a look.
http://www.pumpkinlady.com/pumpkin-carving-patterns/free-pumpkin-carving-patterns/
 

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AKA - S.M. Barrett
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Concerning cleaning innards...

I have tried pumpkinmasters scoops, both metal and plastic. I've used drill-bit attachments, I've used scrapers with teeth.
Hands down, the fastest, cleanest tool I've ever used was a clay loop, like the LT5 model on this page;
http://www.duall.com/store/product/103948.103948/clay-loop-tool-1-3-4.html

You can find them in most any craft store, and they don't need to be sharpened. Just go to the bottom and start scraping up the sides. I've removed all string within 60 seconds on a moderate sized pumpkin, and the tool lets me easily thin the walls all I want.

The only other neat idea I ever heard about was for real flame Jacks, which I usually use inside. If you are using a real candle, push a few cloves into the top - gives an extraordinary smell.

Finally I always recommend a free-form face. There's nothing so great as a Jack with a face that appeared during carving. Pumpkinrot's blog has tons of Jacks like this. Each face is unique, evocative and classic.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
Joined
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Since I do so many pumpkins, I gut them before my guests arrive so cleaning is a major task for me. a few years ago I found the 'Pumpkin Gutter' at meijer. It attaches to my drill. It is quite good at getting the guts out but not at leaving a nice smooth inside. more of a Rough Cut. I leave it to the individual carvers to get the inside to the finished level they want. To get into the Pumpkin I've turned to my handy Skill/scroll saw to quickly cut the top off.

I may have to check out the Clay tool for a quicker, easier finish.


https://www.amazon.com/Dakota-Produ...475156711&sr=8-1&keywords=pumpkin+gutter+tool
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Found another site that took a "scientific" approach to preserving a pumpkin.
http://www.extremepumpkins.com/pumpkin-preservation-methods.html

Both this and the other site seem to indicate that a bleach solution is better than most methods, but it sounds as if the key is climate control, keeping the pumpkin moist, but not WET!
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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10,478 Posts
IJust found this site, Not sure about the content or Quality yet, but at 700 FREE patterns, it's worth a look.
http://www.pumpkinlady.com/pumpkin-carving-patterns/free-pumpkin-carving-patterns/
Well, I now know what I'M doing the rest of the day!!


WERK SCHMERK!!!

After going through several pages I gotta say it's not bad. There's plenty of faces, some easy, some hard, a little bit of everything yet nothing super intricate, even a few religious choices.

Here they are in categories:
http://www.pumpkinlady.com/
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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10,478 Posts
OMG! I've been printing patterns on & off since I posted last!!:D

Got a bunch of faces & working on the skellys & skulls. I'll finish it at home.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
Joined
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Another site with lots of Free pumpkin patterns. Doesn't look like anything new since 2015
http://www.pumpkinpile.com/

Of course there is Pumpkin masters, the same people that make all those kits you find in all the stores.
http://pumpkinmasters.com/

Spookmasters has some free stuff, and more if you choose to pay.
http://www.spookmaster.com/pumpkin-carving-patterns-freebies.htm

Better Homes & Gardens has their collection of free patterns.
http://www.bhg.com/halloween/pumpkin-carving/printable-pumpkin-stencils/#page=2
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
THE FLAMING PUMPKIN!
CAUTION - When working with fire, use common sense, be careful, keep fire away from other flammable materials, including most Halloween Costumes and Props.

#1 - carve out your favorite Jack-O-Lantern, a more open face tends to work better. discad the lid, you won't need it.
#2 - line the bottom of the pumpkin with aluminum foil,
#3 - place new, full toilet paper roll inside the center of the Pumpkin.
#4 - Soak the paper roll in Kerosene, or I prefer torch fuel, the stuff in the the Tiki torches*.
#5 - CAREFULLY light the roll with a long match, or long lighter.
#6 - stand back and enjoy your flaming pumpkin. Depending on the size of the roll, pumkin and amount of fuel this will burn for anywhere from 1-3 hours.

*NEVER add fuel to a burning flame,

View attachment 341881
 

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I usually carve 2 pumpkins every year and I have greatly cut down on the time it takes since my first ones 5 or 6 years ago. However, start to finish they still take me 2.5- 3 hours in total. I'm looking for tips to save me time as I'm planning on going up to 3 jack-o-lanterns this year. I've never really had trouble scooping, transfering the pattern takes me forever. I use the thumbtack poking method that gets beyond tedious and it never comes out right as I get lazy. I know theres got to be a better method.

Also, what tools do you use to carve? I have a decent set that is better than the pumpkin carver's version, but they arent great for detail work. Any advice would be appreciated. Hoping to up my pumpkin carving game this year.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I stumbled onto a pattern trick last year by accident. I had to wash some dirt off my pumpkin and then put the pattern onto the pumpkin while it was still wet. Much to my delight, the paper stuck to the pumpkin very well, and the somewhat wet paper was easily pushed and folded to match fit the round pumpkin. I was then able to carve directly with the paper pattern still on the pumpkin and no need to transfer. When all done, I was able to easily wash the paper off the pumpkin.

I did see an online video for printing your pattern to transfer paper, similar to the temporary tattoos. This would be good for very elaborate patterns, but seems a bit pricey for you average carvings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goLHEpWFb0U
 

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You guys need Stick N Carve, available from the Zombie Pumpkins website. You print the pattern on the paper and then stick it to the pumpkin and carve right through the pattern eliminating the the whole dot poking transfer step. When you're done you rinse the pumpkin under warm water and that's it! It's a huge timesaver and it works on real or fake pumpkins.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
Joined
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You guys need Stick N Carve, available from the Zombie Pumpkins website. You print the pattern on the paper and then stick it to the pumpkin and carve right through the pattern eliminating the the whole dot poking transfer step. When you're done you rinse the pumpkin under warm water and that's it! It's a huge timesaver and it works on real or fake pumpkins.
Awesome suggestion, at about $1/per sheet looks like it is very much worth it.
Here is the Zombie Pumpkins link. http://shop.zombiepumpkins.com/product/stick-n-carve-transfer-sheets (ZP always a personal favorite.)

I've actually contacted Sulky to find out if the Stick N Carve can be used in Laser printers, or just Ink Jets.
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
What are Pumpkin Prices looking like in your area? I'm just starting to shop them for my Pumpkin carving party on the 29th.
A local Grocery chain has them on sale at .29/pound. Walmart and other places have medium size carving pumpkins for $4-$10 depending on size and quality
 

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It's pronounced "Fronkensteen."
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740 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Walmart has pumpkins for $3.88. These are Medium size pumpkins, good for your average Jack-O-Lantern.
 

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I will be trying the modeling tool, acrylic spray, and cloves this year. Thanks for these great tips.

Instead of removing the top of the pumpkin, I always remove the bottom and throw it away. This has a couple of advantages. When I'm shopping for pumpkins I look for the best shape and determine where I will carve the pattern. I don't worry if the pumpkin leans or wants to fall over. When I remove the bottom I can do so in a way that makes the pumpkin sit level and with the carved surface facing slightly upward. The overall look of the pumpkin is cleaner. No reaching into a pumpkin to light it, simply light a candle and then set the pumpkin over it. You do need to drill a hole in the top for heat to escape. I usually do a 1/2" hole hidden right behind the stem.

For marking the pattern I tape the paper to the pumpkin first at the middles of the top, bottom, and sides. Then I cut slits from the corners towards the center, and tape again overlapping the seams. Sometimes it takes even more cuts for some patterns. If the cut goes through a line, it won't line up with the other side when the seam overlaps and you will need to freestyle that section. I then cut the pattern out of the paper using an exacto knife. Remove what is left of the paper and you have a shallow cut of the pattern in the surface of the pumpkin.

I still use the Pumpkin Carvers saw blade tools to cut my pattern out completely, but then clean it up with the exacto knife.

The Save-Mart grocery store near me has had pallets of pumpkins three for $10 every year now for at least five years. I think they are also called Lucky grocery store in some areas.
 

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I was just about to start a post similar to this, so I'm glad I found this one! Last year my kids and I carved 39 patterns on 32 pumpkins and the display was awesome. This year we already have 41 pumpkins and will get a few more before the big day.

A day or so before I carve them I bring the pumpkins in to warm up and clean them off. Then I transfer the patterns, always using zombiepumpkins.com patterns, over to each pumpkin using seral paper, which is similar to carbon paper.

After all the patterns are transferred I cut off the top and use a pumpkin gutter on a drill to get out the bulk of the insides, and a regular scraper to smooth it out.

Next I use fine tooth blades bought from zombiepumpkins.com for the cuts. They run $22 and are well worth it for intricate cuts. When making a cut, leave the pieces in for added stability. Punch the pieces out when all cuts are done.

For preserving the pumpkins, I'll soak them in a water and bleach mixture for 2 hours if they are starting to look bad. You can keep a carve looking good for a good 5 days after carving.

Here's some of last years carves. I couldn't post them all. Enjoy.
 

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You guys need Stick N Carve, available from the Zombie Pumpkins website. You print the pattern on the paper and then stick it to the pumpkin and carve right through the pattern eliminating the the whole dot poking transfer step. When you're done you rinse the pumpkin under warm water and that's it! It's a huge timesaver and it works on real or fake pumpkins.
I second stick n carve, but I've had problems with the paper shriveling up as I'm carving. For quick carves you can't beat it though.
 
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