Carving Zucchinis for Fall Porch Decorations
Carved Zucchini on Porch Grins at Passersby
A Safe and Fun Kid's Craft
Carving zucchinis is an end-of-summer activity for kids, which produces interesting-looking specimens that can be displayed on porches and decks for a seasonal touch.
By summer's end, gardeners may be trying to use up extra zucchinis. Giving your kids a zucchini or two carve is a great way to make full use of the garden's bounty.
Transforming zucchinis into cute porch and deck decorations is a good fall project before the weather turns colder. Children may particularly enjoy carving zucchinis. This creative endeavor can help them to a greater appreciation of garden plants and the value of using up or "recycling" surplus materials.
Carving zucchinis is also a kid-friendly undertaking because the outer skin of zucchini is soft, which makes it easier to cut into. It can be far safer to carve a zucchini, over tackling vegetables with tough outer shells, such as gourds or pumpkins.
Smaller and larger zucchinis can be carved depending on the planned project outcome. Smaller zucchinis are suited to becoming animals that naturally have oblong shapes (whales, centipedes), whereas larger zucchini make better subjects for faces. The centers can be hollowed out and a candle placed inside to light up the facial features.
Preparing Zucchinis for Carving
- Zucchinis should be washed to remove dirt and bugs, then patted dry before proceeding. Dry zucchinis are less slippery and are therefore safer when kids are working with them.
- A porch area or a table should be lined with papers to catch zucchini scraps, which can be moist.
- The hard stem may be removed from the zucchini, especially if the zucchini is large and the carver wants to remove the innards and place a candle inside.
- A portion of the top may be cut at a rakish angle if a cap is to be placed on the zucchini "head."
- The wider bottom part of the zucchini can be used as the hat. cutting off the bottom part of the zucchini helps to stabilize it.
- Free stencils can be accessed online and printed off, then used as templates to draw eyes, noses and mouths or to mark out other designs on zucchini.
- A pen that has gone dry makes an excellent tool to trace out stencil outlines. The pen can also be used to scrape off the green outer skin and to remove flesh.
Zucchinis Easier Medium for Children
Because zucchinis have a soft outer skin, this is a much easier medium for kids to work with, in contrast to trying to cut through tough pumpkin skins.
A 1/2-1-inch-wide rim of flesh should be left intact so that zucchini sides do not collapse inward.
How Kids Can Carve a Zucchini Using Safe "Tools"
Kids need a few simple "tools" to get started and most of these can be found in the home kitchen. A simple melon baller, an old-fashioned metal can opener, a vegetable chopper and a regular dull kitchen knife are all that is needed to get started.
- Use a melon baller to remove flesh from zucchini.
- A metal can opener with the classic V-shape on the end, makes a great little carving tool for areas where a cleaner definition is needed.
- A regular kitchen knife can be used for making teeth or in any areas where a cleaner cut is desired.
- A metal vegetable chopper, the kind with the flat, straight edge can also be used in areas that need a clean cut.
- A large spoon can be used to remove innards from a larger zucchini.
Displaying Carved Zucchinis
Carved zucchinis can be overlaid on straw, arranged in a grouping, or made to poke from a basket, displayed on a porch or deck or beside a door. The zucchinis will only last a couple of days because of their moisture but this is a fun craft for kids and one they might choose to repeat each year.
Cautionary note: place a plate or board under zucchinis so that moisture doesn't leach into porch or deck wood.
"Ease-of-Use" Makes Carving Zucchinis an Ideal Craft for Kids
Carving zucchinis from the garden is an enjoyable fall project, one that sets the stage for the harvest period. "Ease-of-use" has made this a popular activity for both young and old alike.
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