DIY Pumpkin Carving Patterns
Drawing designs and creating my own Pumpkin Carving Patterns is how I spend my October, until it is finally time to begin the gutting and carving work. You can make your own patterns too. It matters not if the design is simple or extremely intricate, I follow the same process.
I keep a book of my pumpkin carving patterns. I draw on regular 8-1/2 x 11 inch printer paper, then place all of my drawings / patterns into page protectors and keep them in a three-ring binder. When I decide which patterns will be carved, I make a photo copy. The photo copy keeps my original drawing safe for future use, and allows me to not only take it out shopping for Perfect Pumpkin Picking, but change the size scale of the design to fit my pumpkin needs. Photo copies are also great for pumpkin carving parties!
Pumpkin Carving Patterns: The Process
- Decide on a Design.
- Draw it lightly (free-hand, tracing, however works best for you) using a pencil and good eraser.
- Evaluate your design for areas of silhouette and carving.
- ALWAYS BE THINKING as you plan your pattern. You do not want to cut out the whites of your eyes just to have your pupils fall out! Remember that things need to connect to keep your design in tact (we’ll go over this more later).
- Pumpkin Carving Patterns are like photograph negatives. What is light on the pattern will be dark when the pumpkin is lit. That means that the black areas will be what gets cut-out, and the white areas will be left alone. The differing shades of grey will be scraped or carved down in varying degrees–the lightest areas with the least scraping and the darker areas with the most scraping. (see the graphic below under the carved designs section)
I have two examples for you, the “Witch Walking a Cat” is a silhouette design (like “Hocus Pocus“), where the “Owl Witch on a Broomstick” is more of a carved design (like “Brunhilda“).
Think of the silhouette as something that is backlit. So, the main design will be black or dark with light shining around the design.
- Create an area for your back-lighting. You can see in the first image above, that I drew a line around my design.
- Figure out if there will be any areas that are completely cut out or shaded. In this case, the only complete cut-out is the eyes of the owl. The owl also has a tiny bit of shading.
- Refine the lines of the design.
- Shade accordingly.
Some of these types of designs will have large cut-out areas, this pumpkin carving pattern is darkly shaded. It will get a deep scraping to allow the light to silhouette the design.
The Carved Design:
Carved designs will have multiple layers of carving, from nothing at all to barely scraped to medium and deep scrapings to complete cut-outs. When you create these patterns, you need to have a way to differentiate the various areas of carving depths. As mentioned above, patterns are like negatives and as such, the white areas will be the areas with the skin left in tact, and the black areas will be cut out. I use stripes and shading to identify the other varied depths of carving for my Pumpkin Carving Patterns.
White areas with stripes will be barely scraped. Shaded areas with stripes will be heavily scraped. The more stripes (on white or black), the more scraping is done. White areas with double striping would not be scraped as much as a lightly shaded area.
So, let’s walk through the steps of creating a carved design pattern.
- The carved design can sometimes stand on its own without a carved or scraped area around it. I chose to create more of a scene for the Owl Witch on a Broomstick; and therefore, drew a line around the owl. I added clouds and a partial moon to set the scene.
- Decide what areas will be cut out or scraped.
- PAY CLOSE ATTENTION to what you are wanting to cut out so that you do not detach parts of your design by mistake. (ie. Pupils in eyes. In the Owl Witch the pupils are set in the middle of the eyes. If the whites of the eyes were cut out, the pupils would fall out too, so the whites are deeply scraped instead. If you want to cut out the whites of the eyes, draw your pupils on the edge of the whites so the cut out part would not be a full circle, leaving the pupils attached.)
- You also want to be sure to attach the design so it does not collapse. You will notice above how there are cut-out areas beneath the wings, but the broomstick is attached at the handle and at the broom end. Also, the area above the wings and around the hat are very deeply scraped instead of cut away providing stability to the design.
I hope you found this Pumpkin Carving Patterns DIY Tutorial informative and helpful. Let me know if I can clarify or answer any other questions you may have.
Have you ever made your own Pumpkin Carving Patterns?
Do you have a design in mind that you’d like to try?
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18 thoughts on “Pumpkin Carving Patterns DIY”
We’ve carved pumpkins out before, but nothing this elaborate. I don’t know that I have the patience…lol. I do like to admire all the intricate work from others though 🙂
I actually find pumpkin carving relaxing. LOL You can always create a simple pattern…
You are so talented! I leave my pumpkin whole, so we can eat it after it is done being peaty 😉
I like to use some whole pumpkins and gourds for decorations as well. But the carving bug has bit me hard! LOL 🙂
Lorelai this looks amazing but looks hard to do. My niece and nephew would love to do this for their pumpkin decorations. I will have to keep re-reading till it sinks in lol. Great skills.
Thanks, Tina. You can always choose a simple design and give it a try. It’s really not as hard as it seems. 🙂
You totally inspire me with these patterns! Can I just pay you to carve a pumpkin for me?! How’s that??? LOL
HA! My son has been trying to get me to open an Etsy store for pumpkin carving… I’m not sure how all of that stuff works… 🙂
Wow! You are so creative! I’ve never done anything like that. I bet you could make some money off your talent.
Thanks, Amanda. How would you go about making money on pumpkin carving???
Your beautiful work inspires me to try again. My carving skills are worse than a 2 year old’s. 🙂
Alli, I hope you do try again. go through my series for some helpful tips. Let me know how it goes, and feel free to ask any questions you need answered.
Love these! So old school 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, Mila. I’m glad you like the designs. I sure have fun make them from scratch. Let me know if you give it a try. 🙂
I take it that you are some kind of artist. That stuff all look good to do – but doing it takes talent….NO?
I’m certainly not a professional artist, but I love doing creative things at home. Start with a simple design and work your way up! 🙂 Let me know how it goes. 🙂
Those Pumpkins are Fantastic !!!!
Thank you! 🙂 If you want to see more carved pumpkins check out my Pumpkin Carving Page!