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Discussion Starter #1
So I feel a little silly asking this (as I've been making paper mache projects for years) but how hard/easy is it to carve out a design in a paper mache pumpkin? Have you been successful in achieving a variation in light (such as when you carve only partway through a real pumpkin)?

I love to carve pumpkins and I usually do one very detailed one each year, where I spend between 7-12 hours over the course of 2-3 days carving it, but because they are made of real pumpkins they rot and while I am okay with that, I think I would like to make some more permanent ones that I can display year after year.

Now I have years of paper mache experience, so I know how to go about building it and protecting it from the weather but I've never taken a scalpel to one of my mache projects with the intent of cutting away sections to let out some light.

I'm hoping for my end result to look something like this, with a light 'greyscale'. Sorry the picture isn't so great.
 

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I'm no expert at pumpkin carving or paper mache but I did have some thoughts on this...

I know you want there to be some light showing through without cutting through the pumpkin.

What if you make the pumpkin with one layer of paper mache first to get the shape you like. Then draw the design on the pumpkin.

Next, start adding paper mache layers to build it up but leave the paper mache thin (one or two layers) where you want the light to glow through. You might need a very bright light to get the right effect. Super bright LED's might work and they would stay cool and not set the paper on fire! lol

Just something to think about.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's a good idea and actually one of two ways I considered tackling the project. My other idea was to make many thick layers of mache and then to work backward peeling some of the layers away to let in varying degrees of light. I'm just not sure what would be the easiest way to do it or how well it can be done.

I'm still open to suggestions anyone might have.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Look on the site of stolloween
I just checked out the site and I think I'm going to combine their idea of making the pumpkin with Chop's idea of building up layers on the inside to vary the amount of light showing through.

Thanks everyone! I'll give an update when I'm finished to let everyone know how it turned out.
 

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His name is Roger Clyne
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I can tell you cutting through it with a Dremel type tool is your best bet. Maybe you can use the right bit to "shave" away parts to thin it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I can tell you cutting through it with a Dremel type tool is your best bet. Maybe you can use the right bit to "shave" away parts to thin it out.
That's a great idea. I've pretty much only used my dremel for etching glass, but I don't see why it wouldn't work for this.
 

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Disney Inspired
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Although you seem much more experienced with the paper mache medium than I, I wouldn't go there. The Stolloween pumpkins are awesome, however you would be better off getting a foam pumpkin through Funkins.com (kind of expensive) if you are going to do an elaborate carving. Or you can do what I did and make your own foam pumpkin...

IMG_1352.jpg
 

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I think SavageEye may have the winning idea there. Make a thick foam pumkin then carve it just as you would a real one. But if you go the paper mache route, I was thinking make a fairly solid pumkin, cut the entire design out with a scalpel or Xacto knife, then add more paper mache over the entire pumpkin, covering the cut-outs with enough thickness to give the desired lighting effect.

Oh, and by the way, that is one awesome pumpkin you did!!
 

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Mad Monster Maker
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Or just make the papier mache pumpkin with all the cutouts, then glue pieces of opaque material or cloth on the inside of the pumpkin where you want the greyscale. Maybe a thin sheet of closed cell foam?
 
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