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Cool Pumpkin Carving Ideas Inspired by Artist Ray Villafane

Updated on June 9, 2014

From a Simple Jack O' Lantern to a 3D Masterpiece

While Jack O' Lanterns will still outnumber 3D carved pumpkins this Halloween, artist, Ray Villafane, has inspired many to try their hand at carving the flesh of pumpkins and creating artistic masterpieces. Ray Villafane, a graduate of the New York School of Visual Arts in 1991, became a teacher before putting his art degree to work as a sculptor. It was while teaching the idea to carve pumpkins hit him and he used the art form as a project and to inspire his students. The pumpkin carving soon became a Fall business for Ray as he sold many of his pumpkin works to local restaurants and business.

Ray's talent was soon noticed. Ray worked on sculpting outside of pumpkins and created The Marvel Comic characters, Sabretooth and Magneto, for Bowen Designs. After undertaking that project, he was offered a two year contract with DC Comics and still works with the largest names of the comic industry to this day.

Despite being busy sculpting for the comic industry, Ray's pumpkin carving passion did not end. In 2007, he was contacted by the Food Network to compete in a pumpking carving contest in which he won hands down. A rematch was scheduled on the Food Netwrok in 2010 and Ray defended his pumpking carving championship title. He won again and was noticed by an Italian company from Jeselo, Italy who inspired him to sculpt in sand. He accepted their offer and was invited back to sculpt on the beach. Ray sculpted "Dante's Inferno" on the beach and has earned credibility in the sand sculpting arena as well as working with fresh produce.

The Art of Pumpking Carving. Meet Ray Villafane.

Pumpkin Stencil
Pumpkin Stencil | Source
Pumpkin Carving
Pumpkin Carving | Source

Martha Stewart VS. Ray Villafane

It's a "good thing" to have a little bit of healthy competition in the pumpkin carving arena. Martha Stewart has been inspiring many for years to step out of their comfort zone and carve pumpkins using non-traditional tools. A signature Martha Stewart pumpkin has simply been decorated with many small holes which allow the light of a candle placed inside the hollow pumpkin to shine through. This simple Martha Stewart design is created with a hand drill. Martha can also take credit for creating the stencil masterpieces so popular in her pumpkin designs.

Marth's pumpkin stencils are simply taped to the outside of a pumkin, traced with a tool that pokes small holes through the stencil and into the pumpkin and the resulting pattern is then trimmed away with a carving knife or exacto blade. The result leaves some pumpkin flesh on the produce and the left over skin is the design. Anything from bats, witches, black cats, mummies, leaves and vines, words and initials have been shown by Martha to pleasantly decorative for the Fall holidays.

Ray Villafane takes Martha Stewart's pumpkins a step further by actually omitting the skin of the pumpkin altogether. It is the paler flesh that gets carved in one of Ray's creations. The result is a 3D Halloween pumpkin.

Both Martha Stewart and Ray Villafane work with to bring you their projects. KIts include directions and tools. Ray villafane gives an in depth lesson on 3D carving and helps you to hone your artitic carving and sculpting skills. Rays tool kit includes tools that help to peel the outer skin of a pumpkin and fine tools that will help you master tha art of detail in produce sculpting.

Double Headed Pumpkin Carving
Double Headed Pumpkin Carving | Source
Pumpkin Carving
Pumpkin Carving | Source

Try Your Hand at Carving a 3D Pumpkin

By following Ray's instructional video on pumpkin carving you will be a pro in no time. Remember that practice and having the right tools is key. While Ray Villafane can sculpt a pumpkin masterpiece in as little as two hours, your attempt may take longer. If you are nervous about taking the plunge initially on a large pumpkin, work with smaller produce like apples or gourds. It is also extremely helpful to pre-plan your design. Draw it out on sketch paper beforehand. When you are ready to carve you can apply your sketch to the flesh of the pumpkin by adhering the design to the dry skin of th pumpkin with packing tape ot tacks. Then use a small tool to transferr the design by poking through the paper to the flesh of the pumpkin. An ice pick works well for this or use the tool included in the kit sold by Ray Villafane on

Do not be scared just jump right in. Simple mistakes can be carved over. Your children will have a blast with this art as well. It is important to remember that if you wish to place a candle or pumpkin light inside the pumpkin that thinner flesh or piercings in the flesh will allow the light to shine through well. Carve some areas of you pumpkin thinly to let the light enhance the carving's features and to accentaute your sculpture. Make pierced holes in the eyes, nose and mouth to help the light shine through.

If you would like to view more of Ray Villafane's pumkin carvings you may visit his site at Take a look at some wonderful 3D pumpkin carving photos I have found.

Carved Pumpkin
Carved Pumpkin | Source
Pumpkin Carving Contest
Pumpkin Carving Contest | Source


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    • cabmgmnt profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Northfield, MA

      Better Yourself:

      I am glad you enjoyed this. I can't wait to see what my creative side carves up this year!

    • Better Yourself profile image

      Better Yourself 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      Very impressed with these pumpkin carvings - takes talent to get the details! Enjoyed your hub!

    • cabmgmnt profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Northfield, MA

      Glimmer Twin Fan,

      I know....3 to 4 hours of work for a sculpted pumpkin, I am unsur if I would have the patience, yet, we do write Hubs! :)

    • cabmgmnt profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Northfield, MA me a message if youtry it and take a lot of pictures! Have fun!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      6 years ago

      Wow! These are some amazing pumpkins! Not sure if I'd have the patience though. Cool hub!

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 

      6 years ago from uk

      Love this! The video of Ray Villafane's work is amazing. I may have to give it a go. Thanks for the interesting hub.


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