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!
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…
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 Instructables.com site