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Carving Pumpkin Ideas

Updated on July 4, 2014

Carving Pumpkin Ideas - Kirikou and the Sorceress

Halloween, pumpkins and fall make autumn fun and special. Time to carve those pumpkin lanterns but are you stuck for new carving pumpkin ideas for Halloween? Want a more grown up and sophisiticated pumkin for your Halloween party? How about making a Kirikou and the Sorceress pumpkin lantern? Scary for the kids but chic for the adults.

The story and pictures created by Michel Ocelot, and are so beautiful that adults will love them every bit as much as children - always a winner with me. The witch from Kirikou and the Sorceress must be one of the scariest and most beautiful witches in children's literature, and as far as carving pumpkins go, Michel Ocelot has already done the work for you and made a powerful image that is just perfect for a pumpkin lantern.

Here's how to carve a pumpkin, or at least how I set about carving mine. You don't have to use Kirikou's Sorceress; using the same technique, you can carve a pumpkin with any image you choose - including your own designs.

All content and images, unless otherwise attributed, are the property of Barbara Walton

I Took My Pumpkin Pattern from Kirikou et La Sorciere - But you can choose any Halloween image

Kirikou et la Sorcière
Kirikou et la Sorcière

I leafed through this book so full of vivid images, until I found one of the sorceress in full profile with her hair streaming out behind her like flames, and that was it! My image for pumpkin carving. It's in French but the images are still lovely!

 

Make Your Pumpkin Carving Pattern

In five simple steps

How to Make a Pumpkin Carving Pattern in Three Tones

Dark, light and mid-tone

I had been looking at pictures of carved pumpkins on the internet, and pumpkin carving patterns for them and I was enthused! When we were children we carved simple faces by cutting out rough shapes. The ones I saw on the net were intricate, funny, beautiful and inspiring! I wanted to do the same.

I was cautious, however, and decided to keep the first one simple. I would divide my design into three areas.

1. Fully pierced

2. Half cut - part of the thickness cut away so that the light could shine through

3. Not cut at all

You can see this on the detail. To the right is the uncut pumpkin shell. Also left uncut is the cross of the earing, the centre of the eye and the lips. Where it is uncut the light will not shine through.

The parts of the pumpkin which are totally removed shine bright. These areas are around the head, the inside of the earing, the whites of the eye and the rings on the neck.

In the face area I cut away the skin of the pumpkin, and shaved away some of the thickness of the flesh, allowing the light to glow through giving the image an intermediate tone.

kirikou sorciere
kirikou sorciere

Step 1 - Draw or Find Your Ideal Halloween Picture

At the size that you want it on your pumpkin

You can draw it freehand, trace it from a book and blow it up by scanning it and saving it as an image.

You can trace it from an online image after you've saved it as a picture and then zoomed in to achieve the correct size. I found this one in Google images for example.

carving pumpkin design
carving pumpkin design

Step 2 - Trace or Copy Your Image

Use baking paper

Trace the image that you want to use. It doesn't have to be too detailed as you are going to have to cut all this with a knife, (unless you invest in some state -of-the-art pumpkin carving tool!)

Try to make sure that you have all the elements in the drawing that you want to incude in the final design.

Mine looked a bit like this.

carving pumpkin
carving pumpkin

Step 3 - Work Out Your Carving Pattern

Shade in or colour the three layers

Next you will need to translate this drawing into a pumpkin carving design. You will have to think carefully to ensure that it will work when you start to cut the pumpkin. Make sure that you will not end up cutting out your design!

Look at the diagram to the right. If you draw the circles on the left, and then you cut out the white area, your central orange circle will simply fall out! You will need to cut the outer white circle in parts, leaving supports for the inner circle. These must be strong enough to hold the central circle in shape.

It seems self-evident when shown here, but in a complex design it becomes very tricky!

This is How I Worked Mine Out - Shading in the three different areas

carving pumpkin diagram
carving pumpkin diagram

I worked out the areas, making sure that the design would work in terms of:

  • cut
  • don't cut
  • thin out

Remember not to make it too fiddly if you're a beginner. The smaller cut out areas in the hair I planned to pierce using skewers.

(Can you spot the 'deliberate' error?)

How To Carve Your Kirikou Pumpkin

Step 4 - Prepare Your Pumpkin

Cut off the lid and empty the contents

Cut a nice lid in the top of the pumpkin, large enough for you to get your hand into. Angle the knife towards the centre of the pumpkin, so that the lid will fit back inside if you want.

Scoop out the seeds and put to one side to use as nibbles, or to grow your own pumpkins for next year. Then start scooping out the flesh with a sturdy spoon. It's quite hard work. You would want the pumpkin wall to be about 1" or 2cm thick. Keep the flesh to make pumpkin soup.

What to Do With Your Fall Pumpkin Flesh and Pumpkin Seeds - Try out these pumpkin recipes

Don't waste your Halloween pumpkin! Not only are pumpkin seeds tasty little snacks, but they are good for you. They are a natural way to keep your system clean and get rid of parasites.

Step 5 - Transfer the Design to Your Pumpkin

And carve out your pattern

You can carefully carve out the 'cut' areas of your diagram with scissors or a blade, put the paper onto the pumpkin in the correct place. Mark all four corners of the paper. Draw around the cut out shapes in felt tip pen onto the pumpkin. Remove the paper and cut these shapes out of the pumpkin with a sharp knife.

Then cut out the 'thin out' areas of your paper diagram. Again, place the paper onto the Carefully remove the skin from your next area and shave off the pumpkin flesh until you have reduced the thickness to about half.

And that is all there is to it! (In reality it's quite a skilled job but I managed mine first time. You'll get better and be able to make more sophisticated designs .... like this one).

Carving Pumpkins on eBay - Get Your pumpkin carving kit here

I used a kitchen knife and scalpel, plus a skever or two but you might like to invest in a pumpkin carving kit. Bid for your kit here on ebay. Good carving!

Need More Pumpkin Carving Inspiration? - Makes carving pumpkins look easy!

A more sophisticated pumpkin carving pattern to tackle once you've succeeded with a simpler one like mine. Good pumpkin carving!

Watch Kirikou and the Sorceress on DVD

Kirikou and the Sorceress
Kirikou and the Sorceress

My son and I loved Kirikou and the Sorceress so much that we couldn't wait to see the film, and we weren't disappointed at all. Just as lucious images, and wonderfully paced. The film really brings the story to life. You'll love to watch it every bit as much as the children, there will be just so many pumpkin carving ideas!

 

Leave a Halloween Message for Me - Wicked!

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    • profile image

      Miguel 2 years ago

      We have 3 little ones so we are loivng the pumpkin season. Every year my husband & I dress up and last year I made a cupcake costume from an apple barrel that I got from our local orchards and that was my cupcake cup and the cupcake itself I attached bailling wire to the barrel and wrapped fluffy material all around and then went to town with my glue gun and different colored round pieces of felt to make candy dots all over. My kids got a kick out of it and my husband was the baker.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 4 years ago from Vermont

      I really like the artistic quality of these layered pumpkin carving designs.

    • Fox Music profile image

      Fox Music 5 years ago

      One of the Best Parts of Pumpkin Carving is the Pumpkin Seeds -- Thanks for Sharing "Carving Pumpkin Ideas"

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 5 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Creative lens !

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 5 years ago

      Nice work. Happy Halloween!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Nice lens

    • RestlessKnights profile image

      RestlessKnights 5 years ago

      Pas mal!

    • fathomblueEG profile image

      fathomblueEG 5 years ago

      Very cool lens! Your designs are amazing!

    • radhanathswamifan profile image

      radhanathswamifan 5 years ago

      Kewl and creative

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 5 years ago

      VERY COOL thanks for sharing!

    • Lisa Remmick profile image

      Lisa Remmick 5 years ago

      OMG that Wall Street Pumpkin is killer! That must take some time to complete those intricate carving cuts.

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      Your creativity always amazes me! Fabulous!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love the way you crafted this lens. Very engaging.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love the way you crafted this lens. Very engaging.

    • profile image

      purpleslug 5 years ago

      What great detail!

    • BLouw profile image
      Author

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      @radhanathswamifan: Thanks for leaving a message, radhanathswamifan.

    • BLouw profile image
      Author

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      @anonymous: Many thanks for dropping by arahul.

    • radhanathswamifan profile image

      radhanathswamifan 5 years ago

      Very creative

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      your ideas are very interesting and useful thanks

    • BLouw profile image
      Author

      Barbara Walton 5 years ago from France

      @flinnie lm: Thanks so much, flinnie, for leaving a message and for blessing my lens. Good things come in threes, and I'm proud to be added to you Squid Angel lens.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      I like your pumpkin carving idea, thanks for sharing. Blessed and added to my lens Squid Angel flinnie.