Basics of Carving Jack O Lanterns

1. Cut Lid or Bottom
Don't try to cut a perfectly round top. Chances are, you won't be able to figure out where it lines up, and it will probably just fall in! Instead, draw a six-sided lid (hexagon) on top of your pumpkin, big enough so you can reach in and clean out all the pumpkin gunk. Angle the knife toward the center of the pumpkin to create a ledge that supports the lid.
2. Clean and Scrape
Using a flat-edged ice cream scoop, clean out the seeds and strings. It is important to scrape the inner wall of the pumpkin, so that it is no more than 1 inch thick. You can check the thickness with a pin or poker. This process usually take 15-20 minutes. Where you plan to carve, scrape the pumpkin wall until itís about one inch thick.
3. Attach Pattern
Attach the pattern to the pumpkin with tape or straight pins. Trim away the excess paper from the pattern with scissors. If you use pins, place them on the design lines so you donít end up with holes you donít want!
4. Transfer Design
Using the Poker, poke holes about 1/16" to 1/8" apart along design lines. Do not push poker all the way into the pumpkin. Use just the tip to poke through the paper and outer pumpkin skin. Check to see that all the lines have been transferred, then remove the pattern. The more detailed the design, the closer together the dots should be. This process can take up to 30 minutes.
 

 

 

 

 

5. ďSawĒ Design
Drill holes before carving (if needed). Push the very tip of the Drill through the pumpkin skin. Then hold the drill near the end and, with gentle pressure, begin twisting the drill into the pumpkin. Keeping the drill at a 90 degree angle, grasp the handle and continue turning until the hole is complete. The poker can be used as a drill by pushing it all the way into the pumpkin. Using slender carving saws, saw dot-to-dot using a gentle up and down motion.  Don't "cut" or slice it like a knife. Hold the tool like a pencil. Holding the pumpkin in your lap, push the blade into pumpkin or, if necessary, rock it gently forward and back to insert it. Saw steadily with a continuous up-and-down motion. Only gentle forward pressure is needed. Depending on the complexity of the design, this step may take 30-45 minutes. Work from the center of the design outward to avoid putting pressure on areas already carved.

Don't bend or twist the tool, try to make the cuts straight into the pumpkin. To make sharp corners, always remove the tool and re-insert it at another angle. Push cut pieces out from the inside, with your finger. To remove large pieces more easily, cut them into smaller pieces first.

Before placing a candle inside, first cut a hole in the bottom, the same diameter (size) of the candle. The Candle/Vent Drill is specially designed to allow you to tip the pumpkin on its side to light. You won't burn your fingers, and your candle will be less likely to tip over after its lit. If you have cut the bottom off, then all you need to do is place a candle on a plate, and set your lantern over it.

One last step before you are done. How many times has your pumpkin turned to mush, or the lid has fallen inside? That's because you've actually cooked your pumpkin from the inside out! Using the small end of the Candle/Vent Drill, drill vent hole in the top (or lid) of your pumpkin. This will allow most of the heat to escape and make your Jack-O-Lantern last much longer.

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