OK, Let us begin. Oooooh this is gonna be more fun than a mermaid in a water park! Keep Calm! Keep Calm! lol
Now, to get started you take a foam pumpkin. They sell them at Michael's and I guess Hobby Lobby though we don't have one of those here. They are about 14 inches or so I guess. It's just a large sized tall foam pumpkin. You know the kind. You can probably find them on Ebay and Amazon or something. Anyway, what you do first (and I didn't bother to photograph this) is you take your Dremel tool, or saw, or whatever. And you cut a hole in the bottom big enough to get your hand in. Just a tennis ball or baseball sized hole on the very bottom. Then map out where you want your carving to be. Most of these pumpkins are flawed and that's just the way they are. You have to pick ones with as little dings or paint runs or little imperfections as possible. But I don't think they make these things very gently so it's hard to get a perfect one. There is usually a flatter side and a slightly more rounder side. The flatter side carves the best for a design. Plus if you have any scratches or anything you might be able to map it out so that those flaws will be part of the cut away part of your design. Anyway, figure out where the front is. Then directly on the back side about an inch and a half or two inches from the bottom, cut or drill a hole just big enough to slip in your light kit. You can find light kits anywhere. It's just a nightlight type bulb, housing, and cord. All one piece. The best time to get them is at Christmas and you'll find them in the area where they have the little Christmas village sets at Walmart. They are around $1.99 or so. Just a little light kit with cord. And there's no wiring required. It's all one piece. Simple. You drill the hole in the back of the pumpkin to push the kit in. Depending on your kit, you normally unscrew the bulb it comes with first so you can slip the housing into the hole you drilled. They may have metal tabs you have to fold down to hole it in place. Again, depending on the type light kit you got. Then replace the bulb with the light kit in place. (this is part of the reason why you cut a hole in the bottom big enough to fit your hand in)
Plug in the light and turn it on. You'll need the light on while you carve so this is why you do it first.
Now, on to the pumpkin.
Step 1. In Carving.
Attach your pattern. You need a transparency print out of your design. You can get this at Office Max or Staples for a $1.34 or so. Or you can print it out yourself if you have the transparency film paper.
Fit your pattern in place. You will have to fold and wrap it around but just so long as you've got the design as flat as possible. Sometimes you can just wing in on the outer areas to match. The face is the important thing. Tape it in place but be careful what kind of tape you use. You use a tape that is too tacky and it will peel the pumpkin's paint up with it when you pull it off. I'm using just cheap $1 a roll wide clear packing tape from Walmart.
On to the show. New pics will be added to the top as I go so people don't have to scroll down to see the newly added images..
ALL NEW UPDATES BELOW
Done! Ok, in the last three below images I've got him all completed. I put a wash over the entire pumpkin on the areas that weren't carved. I made it look rotted and decayed and very darkened. I also put a wash of greenish browns and black over the background carved parts to enhance those areas some. I also put a wash on the coat collars also. I'll be adding him to the website today.
He's getting a little better still. Got a background going now. I wish I could get better pictures. His left jawline doesn't look that saggy. It's the blur I'm picking up that's distorting it a little bit. You also can't see the faint line that separates the jawline from his shirt collar which are close to each other. Oh well.
Ok I've gotten a couple people ask me (you guys don't need to email...you can post your questions in the blog. I'll see them, I promise.)..."What happens if I mess up?" or "I'm scared to do this because if I carve too much I've ruined the whole thing." Short answer, Nope. Not always. As with most art, there is a way to correct mistakes. You can correct little mistakes. Now if you just cut out a section that's in the wrong place or something, you may have to tweak your design or something. But say for example, you cut too deep and actually punch through. No problem. It happens. I've gone through before. A couple tiny spot on this one as a matter of fact I went through with the tip of the dremmel. It's not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your pumpkin. Like with the eyes for example on Thomas Sharpe here. My dremmel tool was too big even for the tiniest detail work and with the machine vibrating like it does, it shaved a little too much on that narrow tiny little line that is his lower eye lid. (That's why he looked like a half dead zombie with the whites of his eyes gleaming so bright in most of the pictures, it looked like his eyes were rolled back in the back of his head.. lol) Don't worry. It's correctable. Nothing's permanent but death and taxes.
What you do to correct those little over shaves or over cuts or those punch through holes is you take your dremmel and you hold your pumpkin over a surface. A table or something. And you can take your sanding tip and grind away a little bit of the edge of the bottom hole, or if you kept the bottom hole piece when you cut it out initially. You can use that. In fact that's what I used. When you first cut the bottom out, you should have the round bottom piece. (unless you just sanded the hole open) But if you don't have it or sanded the hole open. Just grind away the bottom a little rounder and a little wider, just so you have some dust. You need foam dust. Let the dust drop down in a pile on the table and then carefully brush it into a little dish or on a paper plate or something. Just keep the dust is what I'm saying. Now, simply mix a little bit of the dust with some [Matte] Mod Podge, or some white glue that dries clear. Mix it up into a thick doughy paste and simply fill in the areas of your carving that you went too far on. The Mod Podge will dry clear, and so will school glues. Use MATTE Mod Podge though. You don't want anything glossy. You can use a needle to resculpt the areas while it's still tacky to reshape some things. Or wait til it's dry and re-carve. After you're done, you can mix up some orange paint to match the surface of the pumpkin to cover those tiny flaws. It really doesn't matter how the pumpkin looks on the outside because the Pumpkin is meant to be seen lit up. In the sunlight or room lights, these pumpkins look really rough, and not very pleasing to the eye lol It's only when they're lit up in a dark room that the full effect is achieved. So relax. In the last three images below, you can see how I've started to fix his eyes to look more appropriate.
Adding a little bit more detail now in the latest pictures. I need to correct the eyes and soften his right cheekbone shadows. It's nothing but a thing.
Here's a new one above. I'm beginning to add in some detail. He's looking more "human". lol
Ok, I'm at a stopping point right now mostly because this dremel tool is making my arms feel like I've taken Wile E. Coyote's ACME Earthquake Pills, and my eyes are starting to cross.
So here he is so far. He looks like a sad troll at this point. lol But I've yet to define the eyes and details. I'm just blocking out layers and creating basic depth. He'll pick up more detailed as I go.
Here are the last few images above. It's so hard taking pictures of a pumpkin lit in the dark. I tried the night time camera setting but that didn't work either. I'm using the close up setting and not using a flash, and it's hard to get them to show up good.