A pumpkin carved with a vine design

Glowing Vines

Step 1: Cut out top of pumpkin and scrape the inside clean.

Step 2: Using a real vine or a vine pattern, transfer design to pumpkin. (To create your own pattern, use varying sizes of your favorite leaf shape, and then draw a vine between the leaves.)

Step 3: Carve leaf shapes by cutting completely through the pumpkin or by scraping a shallow relief. You can combine the two methods, as shown here on the smallest pumpkin.

Step 4: With a scraping tool, carve vine stem about 1/4 inch deep, being careful not to break through the pumpkin flesh.

A pumpkin carved with a leafy design

Foliage Band

Step 1: On a piece of paper long enough to wrap around your pumpkin, trace leaves (these are eucalyptus) in a band design. Flip leaves occasionally so stem points in different directions; keep the space between leaf shapes relatively equal.

Step 2: Cut out the top of the pumpkin and scrape the interior clean.

Step 3: Transfer design onto pumpkin, adjusting paper every 6 inches or so to follow the curve of the pumpkin. Check results after the first leaf and, if needed, use a pencil to retrace design directly onto pumpkin flesh.

Step 4: Once design transfer is complete, carve leaf shapes using a carving tool.

A pumpkin carved with a leafy design


Step 1: Using a large leaf (or a leaf pattern enlarged to fit your pumpkin), transfer design onto the center of an intact pumpkin.

Step 2: With a pencil, draw a complementary shape to frame the leaf design, preferably leaving at least 1/2 inch of space on all sides of leaf edges.

Step 3: Use a scraping tool to peel away flesh between leaf shape and its frame. With the same tool, carve leaf veins in a freehand pattern.

Step 4: Arrange multiple silhouetted pumpkins along the center of an outdoor table. Add stones or leaves to complete the setting.

A pumpkin carved with a leafy design

Harlequin Leaves

Front Left: With a small paring knife, cut along, thin grooves at a 45-degree angle into the pumpkin, being careful not to break all the way through the flesh. Repeat in vertical rows as shown.

Center: Intersperse vertical rows of two leaves with a row of a single leaf, reversing the direction of leaf stem in each row. Along top and bottom of single-leaf rows, cut triangular notches and depress slightly.

Back Right: Cut out leaf shape in two parts, leaving center vein in place, or use a scraping tool to peel away rind inside the design, leaving center vein exposed. (We used both techniques on our pumpkin)

A pumpkin carved with a leafy design

Twinkling Branches

Step 1: Draw or photocopy a branch design to desired size. Make sure your design has an open pattern with no overlapping limbs.

Step 2: Cut out top of the pumpkin and scrape the interior clean.

Step 3: Transfer design onto pumpkin.

Step 4: Carve design, first making shallow cuts with a small blade at a 45-degree angle for precision, and then making larger cuts with a serrated carving tool.

Step 5: With an electric drill fitted with a small bit, create holes at branch tips for a berry effect.

Step 6: Cut a small hole for an electrical plug in the back of pumpkin, near its base. Through top opening, place indoor twinkle lights inside pumpkin, feeding the cord and plug through the hole in the back. From interior, poke individual lights into berry holes, keeping the remaining lights inside pumpkin or trailing out the back, if desired.

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