Tips For How to Carve with Pumpkin Stencils — It’s the season for pumpkins and celebrating Halloween, so we’re gearing up with tips on how to carve a pumpkin using pumpkin stencils for your Halloween decor…
If you’ve ever tried to carve a pumpkin before, then you know it can truly be an art form!
It’s not exactly the easiest form of pumpkin decor, but it’s definitely the messiest and most popular! Unless you’re a true artist, you’re likely using pumpkin patterns or a pumpkin stencil for carving your pumpkin design and we’re here to help!
We’re a household of cereal lovers, so my friends at General Mills Cereal asked if we wanted to use the free pumpkin carving stencils on monstercarving.com! Obviously I’m not one to turn down using Frankenberry, Booberry, and Count Chocula as our models.
Since we have a toddler that likes to help run the holiday decisions in this house, we really went to town on the Monsters Cereal and The Addams Family theme pumpkins this year instead of regular jack-o-lanterns. I love how playful they turned out!
Plus our chocolatey and berry ghost cereal pieces with bat-shaped marshmallows cereal box inspiration just so happens to serve as a great carving snack, so it’s a win/win!…
Tools for Carving a Pumpkin with a Pumpkin Stencil
Before I dive into the pumpkin carving tips and tools be sure that you have your choice of pumpkins and your free pumpkin carving stencils on hand.
You can either go all out with your pumpkin carving tools, or you can simply find some household tools for your pumpkin carving kit that will get the job done.
Whether you’re a hobbyist or you’re taking your pumpkin patterns very seriously, this is a good mix of tools for carving a pumpkin stencil—
- A complete pumpkin carving tool kit to reuse each year
- For making perfect holes into your pumpkin, you can use a household drill
- To scoop the inside goop out of the pumpkin, you can use an old CD, scoop taken from an old ladle, or a spoon with a serrated edge
- An xacto knife is a great alternative for carving pumpkin designs that you might already own
- A needle tool from your sewing or clay kid is perfect for outlining your designs
- For transferring your pumpkin stencil design, a ballpoint pin and push pins or painter’s tape will help you transfer the design
Tips for Carving a Pumpkin Stencil
Once you have your pumpkin stencil picked out, there are a few key tips for how to carve a pumpkin with a stencil.
To make your pumpkin stencil opening light up, you’ll need to make sure to empty out the guts of the pumpkin.
It’s important to not to cut a hole from the stem or top of the pumpkin because that’s what gives the pumpkin all of its nutrients!
Instead, cut a square or rectangle on the backside of the pumpkin just large enough for you to fit your hand through. You can keep the cutout piece to fit back in once you’ve removed the guts so that it deters critters from getting inside.
When it comes to using your pumpkin stencil, you’ll want to print out your design and cut the excess paper away from the edges.
To prep the surface for your stencil carving, wipe the entire surface of the pumpkin down with an antibacterial wipe to clean the surface from bacteria.
Next, you can use push pins or tape to secure the pumpkin stencil in place where you want it on the pumpkin.
Using a ballpoint pen, trace the outline of your pumpkin stencil while it’s applied to the pumpkin by pressing really hard. This will make sure that the pen imprints the pattern onto the surface of the pumpkin.
Once you’ve traced the entire stencil design, peel one side of the stencil up to make sure that everything traced through. Once it’s fully traced, remove your stencil pattern and save it for visual reference or to reuse it again.
Now you can fill in the design using your pen to make sure you’re covering all of the details. If you don’t want to fill in the entire design, you can just retrace the outline to darken the design for easier carving.
Next, use your serrated tools to carve out parts of the pumpkin pattern.
You can cut all the way through or do the chisel method. Chiseling simply scrapes off top layers from the pumpkin stencil design so that you can see the design without cutting through.
If you have little ones around helping you decorate pumpkins, you can paint using the stencil instead.
To so do, use the stencil method above but instead of carving the shape out of the pumpkin, simply color or paint in the design.
How to Make a Carved Pumpkin Stencil Design Last
If you’re wanting to make your design last as long as possible, here are a few tips to keep your carved pumpkins…
Before carving, you can soak your pumpkin in a solution of 1 gallon of water to 1 teaspoon of bleach. This will make sure the surface ready for carving and clear any bacteria.
Once carved, you can rub the entire pumpkin with petroleum jelly to seal the cuts and surface. This will also help deter the squirrels and other critters from getting into your pumpkin.
You can also sprinkle your pumpkin with cayenne pepper to deter the squirrels from getting to them.
To really make your pumpkin stencil art last, wrap it in a plastic bag and store it in the fridge until you display it.
I’d say a free pumpkin stencil makes for a pretty fun pumpkin pile, don’t you?!
You can use them for classic Halloween front door decor, a haunted house entrance, or just for being a self-proclaimed pumpkin lady like myself!
If you’re looking for other Halloween pumpkin decor or entertaining and party ideas, here are a few favorite DIY projects! —
- DIY Halloween wigs and lashes costumes
- A corpse reviver cocktail recipe
- Simple DIY sequin pumpkins
- Easy DIY pumpkin decals
- Our favorite Halloween costume ideas