Skip to main content

Tips & Tricks For Carving

Lesson 6 from: Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas, Patterns, and Tools

Jason Hoppe

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Tips & Tricks For Carving

Lesson Info

Tips & Tricks For Carving

So with this pumpkin we're gonna show you how to do fine lines. And I've already transferred the template to the pumpkin using my little pounce wheel. And I've started here, going in and I've got my little linoleum wood block cutter with a little V right here. And I just started out following the pumpkin, and with this, slow and steady, nothing crazy. And what I do is, I go around and I do the very basic shapes to begin with, and then I begin to work a little bit more on taking out the edges where I want to make a little bit more width. Now, this is sharp on all the sides of the V here, so nice little pressure, not too deep. I can just go in and I can begin to take a little bit more. Takes a little bit of time, and you start getting the shape of the pumpkin a little bit better. Start feeling it as you go, get into the swing of things. Little bits and pieces, you can take that out. Little bit more pressure on the side here, get that a little bit deeper. Go through. Always be careful com...

ing back on yourself here, 'cause you don't wanna, like, miss and run it into your hand, so just be wary of where your hands are when you're doing this. And I'm gonna clean that out. There it is. Smaller ones work better 'cause it's like you can actually fit it in your hand. We got the little nose, here. And the nose is actually going to start out deep, and then I can kind of taper off to nothing. So I just turn the pumpkin whatever way is gonna feel comfortable for me to actually do these shapes. So feel free to rotate the pumpkin any way that you need to so that it makes it feel comfortable, and I just keep it and my tool in the same location and I just work on getting the depth of these items. So do a little bit of nose, here. Right there. I've got my little eyeballs. This is nice 'cause you can start off shallow, go deeper, then kinda come back up. Work nice and slow to get your eyebrows. Don't try to do it all in one cut. You can use it and do several cuts, here, to create the nice little eyebrows. Deep. And come right back. We're getting our little kitty face, right there. Gonna come up and do the arc on the forehead. Start over here. The tricky part is, is trying to follow the contour of the pumpkin. If you've ever done linoleum or a wood block, it's all one flat surface, so this takes a little bit just getting that right there. And once you do this for a while, you definitely get the hang of that, as well. Gonna come up and do the ears. Clean out the surface. This is what I was talking about with hair, if you wanted to do hair, you could do a lot of little pieces like this. It's very tricky, and you can just leave this and it just kind of looks like little bit of string right there. Just make sure you don't cut it off at the end. It's just a matter of coming right to the end, instead of lifting up, just stopping. And I can cut. The easiest thing is rotating the pumpkin too, you don't have to leave it in the same position, just make it comfortable. Rotate it as you carve. And they do sell tools that have different widths in them as well. So with this, if you wanted to go back and use a wider tool, I don't have a sharper V with this, that way you can go in and you can create more depth and dimension with these pieces. Or if you're just very adept at using these tools, that way you can go in and kinda widen the shapes a bit to create more of an exaggeration on them, go a little bit deeper, or just cut off to one side of your line here and then taper back into the middle as you go. So we've got our little kitty right there. And in order to make this show up here, we'd have to go inside and we'd have to scrape out the back to really thin this out so that the light can actually show through here, as well. But feel free to do any type of detail that you want on this. I actually left out little eyeballs, here. So we'll go in and create those. There we go. Little kitty. Little bit asymmetrical. And that's only because when I put the template on there we got the little lumps of it as well. But go through, have a little bit of fun with that. So now we'll do the pineapple. Get that transferred onto the template. So here we have a pineapple. Simple shapes, easy to do. And we're gonna surface carve this and we'll show we're gonna go through and do this. So we're gonna put the template on here. Use your little wheel to transfer that. Tighten that up. Just kind of work the paper around as you go. You may have to lift up on the wheel, 'cause course the paper's gonna wanna kinda cheat as it goes around the corners. But this is just a guide for us. Just flatten the paper out as you go. Got that. It's little bit tricky 'cause it tends to move as you go around the pumpkin, here, so sometimes you gotta reset your template and just make sure you're on track. So with something like this, I can go through and quickly do my little triangles, here. Just one little trick as you do, if you're doing shapes like this, you notice how I don't go around each triangle. What I'm doing is I'm just hitting all of the edges, that way it's really easy for me to keep the template in the same place, I don't have to keep moving my hand. With just one little trick, do all your verticals, all your horizontals, everything at once, so you've got all your shapes there. And then I can come back very easily and do all the tops, and then all the sides all at once. Goes a whole lot faster than trying to trace each and every individual shape, plus you have a less tendency for your template to creep around, as well. There it is. And then last we're gonna do all these angles. Set it up. Really quick. See how much faster that goes than trying to draw each shape individually. Forgot that one. There. So now we've been able to transfer that whole lot quicker and we got all the shapes right on there. So what I'm gonna do, is I'm actually gonna use my loop to clear out some of this stuff, but I'm going to use the little V-shaped one to get my basic shapes, so I know where to go. 'Cause this is gonna be a lot sharper, gonna give me a little bit more of a control over my shapes. So I'm gonna see where I've come with this curve. Start down here. Just gonna work my way up around the curve. Following this. There's that. Get the vertical. Start back down here at the same point. And come on through. Now, once I have my shape kind of cut in there, then I can go in and I can work with my little loop tool, here, to go ahead and begin the surface. And this allows me to stay within the lines, here, and I don't have to pay that much attention to making my edge and trying to cut out content, as well. So I can just use my little loop. Go through and take this out. And now it makes it really easy to go along the edge and I don't have to be perfect because I've already done that shape. Don't try to do two things at once and try to use the loop to take it out and cut the shape because you're gonna be fighting it constantly. But I like this. You can just go in and just really nicely scrape this, really quick, once you get the shell off the pumpkin. Just come right on through. And I'm not trying to get the depth the same here, I'm just trying to get the skin off the pumpkin, really quick, kinda like peeling it. And then I can very easily go back and surface the pumpkin once I get that nice and close. Get down into these little areas. And I've got my little flat blade, here. Just a nice little flat blade that I can go in and I just take the little bits of surface off, too. Be careful, it's sharp, so keep your hand a safe distance away. And this is fine for going in and doing a little bit of surfacing, like this, if you want to, but I prefer the loop tool, simply because when you've got the content in here, you can just go and you can do a nice little quick scrape, as well, and very easily sculpt that, going all the way through. You've already got your shape established. And there's your content right there. So that's how we would do something like that. Now, these little triangles in here, that's why this little flat tool works really good, 'cause I can go in with this little flat tool and I could also just use this kind of like a little chisel. So keep in mind that you don't have to use these particular tools, just find tools that are gonna work. And this nice little chisel allows me to go and just simply take those little things right off really quickly. I can take those out and it creates the triangle really easily. I could use my little V-shaped tool, but I could run the risk of overrunning those, so I just go in, do quick little slices, as well. Again, I'm just gonna run through here, like I did before when I transferred the pattern. Go in and and your eye starts to play with you here as you try to find the little teeny holes that you made. So I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna do all the angles at once. That way I don't have to change the position of my hand or the pumpkin. Run right through it. I've got all those. Looks like we're good. And I can go and just turn the pumpkin, keep my hand the same direction, here. Go through, do all the tops of the triangles with the little flat blade. Just cut right in. Make sure you do it deep enough, 'cause going back and doing it a second time is not fun. And there's nothing more fun that repetitive detail. It is great. Okay. And then last, I'm gonna come over here. One of the things, once you get used to this, if you keep your hand in the same position, you can feel the pressure and know exactly what you need to do, pressure wise, to be able to cut through the skin, here. And you're not constantly changing direction. Makes it that much easier. Missed a few of them, here. Easy to do. Especially when you're talking and doing this. Can see those little pieces, now, you can just pop those right out pretty easily, right there. And the little scrapers that we have, the little spoon-style scrapers, allow us to now go in here very easily and clean up that surface. We've got some little flat scrapers. So something like this. Can use the little flat scraper, this little spoon. It's got a nice little edge on there. And I can go in and really easily clean that up, get into the corners really well. And just clean up that surface right there. It's also a really good thing to do, just to take these little things out, if you wanna use this little scooper to do that. That way I can get the corners without damaging the face of the pumpkin, as well. Put it in there. Pop those little suckers out. Get those corners. This is especially tricky when you're going in and doing any type of detail and you don't wanna break the detail off. You wanna make sure you cut through the skin of the pumpkin enough. So try a couple of these first and then try pulling them out and seeing if you've got the depth right on there. I like my little flat one better here, 'cause it just goes in, there we go. That is so nice. Just nice little, kind of spatula style. Right there. And just a little bit of cleanup. In each and every one of those. And your pumpkin starts coming around. So I'm gonna do this last one real quick, around the edge. Do this shape so we can finish this up. Just gonna lay on the edges here, so I know where to stay within the lines. Go in with my loop. Take those away to the depth that I want. This is kind of what I equate to like the adult coloring books. It's like you know you did this when you were a kid, but doing this when you're an adult, and so going in and using these kind of tools, you can actually have a little bit of fun and sculpt the surface. 'Cause this pumpkin's nice and soft, you can go in and really clean up the surface really well. And you notice how nice that I've done the outline here, the tool just kind of guides very nicely right around the edge, there, so I don't have to go through the shell of the pumpkin. Creates a nice little channel for that to slide right in. And these little areas, need to take out. Just use my little flat one. Gonna cut and pry those off. Nose in. And you'll get used to it, the tools that you'll find to be your favorites to do whatever you wanna do. These little spatulas, here, if you have a little bit a wider one, you can use wider chisels as well. So if you do really large, flat surfaces, the chisel works awesome for going in and kind of planing the surface, here. The loop's a little bit tricky, 'cause you have to be a little bit more careful when you go in and shave it, but you can go in, and very nicely clean up the surface here if you want a very smooth surface. Like so. You can shave that with a loop. But if you wanna do just a flat plane, a wide, very sharp chisel's gonna work good, too. Yep. So there's just a really quick and easy surface carving. And you've got your little pineapple. Now, cut it out, go through, scrape out the back, and then the light's gonna shine through these pretty nicely. So, we also have our pineapple here, and so now we need to dress these things up a little bit. Since we now have our pineapple pumpkin, we're gonna actually put the top of this right on here. Well, there's two different things you can do. You can chop this off and put it in, but I think what I'm gonna do, is I'm just gonna cut off the top, here, and I'm gonna put the pineapple right in the pumpkin. Sound like a great idea? I thought so. So what I'm gonna do is figure out about how big my pineapple is, and I'm gonna cut the top off the pumpkin, here, using my pumpkin saw. And these pumpkin saws are great. I don't know why they didn't have them when we were kids, but they probably did. Got our lid right there. And we'll see if our little pineapple fits right inside. You gotta cut away a little bit more of that. And you can try so many cool things with decorating with pumpkins. I know this is just one of many. Go through, put it right in there. Look at that. And you can go ahead and adjust it however you want, and make a little fun. Put a little bandana across there. Works great. There it is. There's your pumpkin pineapple.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Free Purchase

Pumpkin Carving Templates

Ratings and Reviews


Glad that I saw this, now! I love pumpkins!! Looking forward to the season You show a lot of great, and super creative techniques that I can't wait to try. Thank-you!

Claudia Ortega-Lukas

This video had some really good and cool ideas/techniques, however, you should do a zoom into the tools when you show them. I'd like to see close up the shape of each tool you demonstrated. Otherwise, it was fun!

Rhonda Chapin

I learned some great hacks and tricks. Going to carve my pumpkin this year with more enthusiasm! BTW something I thought might be helpful is to push pins to hold stencil designs on pumpkin since tape doesn't work.

Student Work