How To Make Your Own Pumpkin Stencil

Portrait pumpkins from a stencil

How To Make Your Own Pumpkin Stencil

My Halloween pumpkin carving technique has changed since I discovered pumpkin stencils. I won a prize with my first one! (Sorry, no pic. Said pumpkin went to the compost bin in the sky long ago. But it was awesome.) I really love how creative this technique is, but I want to branch out and try to design my own carvings. They don’t have to be faces – I want to make a pumpkin based on a quilt design.

Pumpkin carving is messy and time-consuming, so I don’t want to just dive in willy-nilly as I do with some other projects. 🙂 So, here are some ideas on how to get started with templates you can make yourself using Clip Art or (for the brave) a photograph. One tip to try: dampen the surface of the pumpkin and the paper template with water – just enough to make the paper stick and conform to the pumpkin shape.

Stencil Cutting Tips, starting with cleaning up an image

Line drawings and Clip Art are a great way to get started with templates. Public domain Clip Art is plentiful and varied. You can find a design to go with just about any theme! But there are tricks to making this successful. (You don’t want the whole design to fall in on itself!) Make successful stencils from Clip Art with these tips from Stencil Revolution. Print on plain paper (light weight is best) to make the design conform to the pumpkin’s irregular shape.

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Portrait pumpkins from a stencil

Ready for the advanced course? Then you can make a Portrait Pumpkin from a photograph! Photojojo! takes you through the process step-by-step – from selecting a photo that will translate well to the pumpkin-carving medium, through adjusting the photo on your computer, to marking and carving. This technique has so many possibilities! I’ve played with digitizing photographs for machine embroidery and this looks like just as much fun!

Actions speak louder than words, and this video from OikoEco has some great tips on using stencils, whether you have selected a simple design or a complicated one.

Check out all of our Halloween DIY ideas on Create Whimsy!

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