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Awesome Pumpkin Carving DIY

I know… you are probably thinking ‘I can’t do that!’ Well, let me reassure you, if you can trace a line, you can totally make this absolutely Awesome Pumpkin Carving DIY. It is dremel-carved into a permanent faux pumpkin decoration and will delight you for many many years! Ohhhh, the skeleton is escaping through the zipper… watch out!


The Image:

I make sure I use my own images, and this scull was a sure bet. You can use whatever image you like, but ideally it should have a variety of light and dark.


This is ‘Photoshopped’ together and some slight adjustments of levels.


Make your image into grayscale. To translate it into areas of light and dark, use the image >adjustments > posterize control. Set it to a few like 3-8 levels. It will look less ‘smooth’, but that is what you want. You can create your own image or download mine for free here:


Transfering to Foam Pumpkins:

Here’s the trick: To transfer the image to a pumpkin; print it on thin paper or tracing paper. You will need some cheap white glue.


Mix up some glue with water to have a thinner, paintable consistency.


Paint it onto the pumpkin with a wide brush.


Spread out the paper over it, making sure to push it into the grooves. Be careful not to rip it, and fold to allow it to cover the ’roundness’ and cover over sides of the pumpkin. This is much better than trying to trace it out from a stencil. Often many crafts have the challenge of transferring the image and this method works well; no drawing.


There you go, hard part is done. Wait til it is dry. Go find your Dremel…


Carving Time:

Another tip; go outside as this next part is very dusty, so make sure to wear a dust mask as well.


Print an extra image to be able to look at if you get lost or cut too much off your pumpkin. Look at the areas of light and dark. The darkest will be cut very shallow (so light does not pass through as much), and the lighter areas will be cut deeper, that way the light shines through more. That is how the light makes different colours/tones. The black areas stay uncut. It is quite forgiving, you don’t need to be fussy.


This is the best tip to use on a rotary tool, but similar ones (even drill bits) could work. If you cut the hole first you will get an idea of how deep the walls are. Different brands probably vary.


Start by following an area of grey and cutting it a similar depth around that outline.


Following around the shape… (remember paint-by-number?!)


Then flatten it out…


The shapes come together.


Work around the image, it will look quite rough. The paper edges won’t matter in the end. If needed a craft knife or linoleum cutter can clean up stray edges.


See… that was easy wasn’t it?! Like carving butter. The bright white areas are cut the deepest to let most light through. If you have a small bulb with socket you can test as you work.


Clean and Paint:

I softened the glue in warm water and then washed off the paper. The pumpkin does not mind at all!


After drying, I added a bit extra depth by painting the ‘hole’ area black, spray paint would need masking so simple black acrylic paint and paintbrush were used. Permanent marker would not be as opaque.


Aren’t you surprised how easy it is?! And all kinds of ideas are coming to mind now.


Oooh the Zipper:

Cool factor: This pumpkin has a zipper! I trimmed the zipper thinner since it was quite wide.


Crack out the hot glue gun and glue it along the outside of the shape and around the skull and boney hands.


It adds great dimension! It can be some old zipper that doesn’t work any more. I can’t wait to see it in the dark, but DO NOT use candles for this jack-o-lantern! A small night light plug-in or battery light will work as the walls on these are thinner than real pumpkins.


Wowsa! Is that not the ‘bestest’ pumpkin you’ve ever seen?! And I like my dollar store bird skeleton as well, or sit it with some ghosts and witches on the front porch. You will look forward to pulling this guy out every year and dazzling all the kids and trick-or-treaters. You may even find them on sale as October progresses.  And be proud to say you made it yourself when they ask… Good job!

The best part is there is no ‘insides’ to clean out. There are many easy pumpkin carving ideas for beginners halloween decorations; no trip to pumpkin patch needed.

UPDATE: This tutorial did win me a prize on the site

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. I think other web-site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and magnificent user friendly style and design, let alone the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

    1. As a ‘maker’ I think it’s fair to provide tips and encouragement. I do have experience in a multitude of medias over my many years of ‘making’ so sharing comes naturally. Thank you!

  2. Generally I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

    1. Oh, that’s nice to hear. I strive to encourage people to make things… as I find everyone has talents. Subscribe to see more posts when they go up… Thanks

  3. Thank you for sharing a great information and useful. it really necessary and timely for me at this time. I wanted to share this information with my friends on the social network facebook.Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Nice! thank you so much! Thank you for sharing. Your blog posts are more interesting and informative. I think there are many people like and visit it regularly, including me.

  5. Hello Barb,
    I have been truly inspired by the rocks with teeth, so I ordered the teeth ice cube trays and this is going to a little project for me over the summer break from school.
    Thank you so much for such original, amusing ideas. As an Art teacher in London, I am always impressed with the wide variety of ideas that appear from the USA. I just wish we had the quality of craft stores here in the UK as you so in America.
    Thank you again Barb – you have made my day!
    Best wishes

    1. Thanks! But I am in Canada!! I was just marvelling at the ones in my rock garden since they have been under snow and ice over our long harsh canadian winter and look pretty unscathed!

  6. Merveilleux !!! Je n’a Pas encore essayé regrette car pour Halloween j’auraI surpris mes petits enfants.
    Merci à vous je me régale les yeux.
    Bonne journée

  7. LOVE THIS!! I love all of your ideas, some are more intimidating than others to think about recreating. 🙂 I am definitely going to give this one a shot. Thanks for always sharing your talent, skill and creativity! It’s so fun!

    1. Whenever you think something might be intimidating try a really small version. I hate putting too much pressure on myself with expectations of perfection so I do small tests before I try an expensive involved version. Often then you get the feel of the media. It’s all a learning process – I know!

  8. Liebste Barb,
    wieder einmal bin ich fasziniert von Deinen Ideen. Ich wollte schon mal alles für Halloween vorbereiten und Deinen Kürbis in Angriff nehmen. Leider habe ich ein Problem mit dem Herunterladen des Bildes. Gibt es eine Möglichkeit, vielleicht mit einer anderen Dateiendung?
    Viele liebe Grüße nach Kanada

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