Pumpkin Cuts

Happy Halloween! Please use and share our free pumpkin carving templates!

Tips for carving the perfect pumpkin

Step 1

Pick your template before buying your pumpkin so you can be sure to get one that is the right size and shape for the design you want to create.

Step 2

To transfer the design, tape or pin your printed template to the pumpkin. You may need to trim the paper and/or make small cuts in it to get it to lie flat.

Step 3

Score the design into the skin by poking small holes through the paper with a nail or other sturdy tool, like a knitting needle, skewer, or old ballpoint pen. The holes should be about 1/8 of an inch apart, although more precise details will need a finer touch. If reaching over the table to punch the holes is tiring, hold the pumpkin in your lap.

Step 4

After you have created your guide holes, remove the pattern. If the holes are hard to see, rub a little flour, baking powder or unscented baby powder into the holes to make them more visible.

Step 5

The best carving tool is a special (and inexpensive) pumpkin cutter, but you can also use a serrated kitchen knife. Whatever you choose, it's often best to hold your tool like a pen, keeping it perpendicular to the surface of the pumpkin.

Step 6

To avoid breaking off sections of the pumpkin, start cutting at the center of your design and work outwards.

Step 7

Use a gentle sawing motion to slowly and carefully cut along the dotted guide lines. Use only light pressure -- don't force it. For curves, you need to only slightly turn the tool, and for sharp angles, create a new cut.

Step 8

Gently push the pieces out with your fingers, or push them through to the inside of the pumpkin with your fingers or a blunt pencil (or the eraser side of a pencil, depending on the size of the space). For larger pieces, you may want to cut larger pieces into smaller sections before removal.

Step 9

You can reattach a section that has been accidentally cut out or broken off by using a toothpick or two on the fleshy side of the pumpkin to pin it back in place.

Step 10

Not every cut has to be straight through to the middle! Create a glow effect by trimming away only some of the outside layer of the pumpkin. Varying the thickness of the skin will alter the amount of light that shines through. Use a screwdriver, spoon or potato peeler to create these gradations. Also try acutely angling your cuts so the inner light reflects off the sides of the hole instead of shining straight through.