Beautiful, leafy pumpkins

Bring the season's most iconic motifs alive in elegant displays for outdoor decor. Get the step-by-step

Pumpkins in entry

Pumpkins decorate the front entry.

Thomas J. Story

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    How to carve elegant pumpkins

    Use our easy instructions to carve a grown-up pumpkin--plus, get design inspiration from Northwest artist Jen Ament and from our design archive

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HOW TO CARVE A PUMPKIN

Choose Select a variety of pumpkin shapes, sizes, and colors. For added personality, select ones with unique stems.

Plan Before carving, group pumpkins in desired location and map out each one's design.

Design Trace real leaves onto paper, or use patterns from botanical "clip art" books (available at bookstores and art-supply stores). Experiment with leaf size and arrangement.

Hollow With a saber saw or pumpkin-carving tool, cut out the top of each pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and strings with a sturdy metal spoon. Then use a pottery tool called a loup, a small metal ladle, or a melon baller to scrape out as much of the interior as possible, especially where you plan to carve (this will make carving easier and allow for better illumination).

Transfer Before copying a design onto a pumpkin, clean the entire surface with a damp towel, then wipe with another towel until exterior is completely dry. Secure paper to pumpkin with masking tape or pushpins. Use a pushpin, embroidery needle, or metal skewer to prick your design onto the pumpkin.

Carve Cut along transferred design lines using a saber saw, pumpkin-carving tool, small paring knife, or linoleum-cutting tool (similar to a box cutter). Shorter blades allow more control.

Preserve To keep your designs looking fresh, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to the pumpkin's carved crevices.

Light To get the right amount of glow in a pumpkin lit by candles, use multiple tea lights.

More:  How to carve elegant pumpkins

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