Craft Pumpkin Carving


Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Halloween DIY, DIY Pumpkin

In this post, I'm going to share how to carve foam craft pumpkins. I first saw craft pumpkins while shopping at Michaels a few years ago. They had a book at their floral desk where you could pick out a design and have a pumpkin ordered and laser cut with your design. While I was there, I heard someone say that you could actually do it yourself using a hot knife and get the same effect. So I decided to get one and try it out. It turned out awesome, and I've been a little bit addicted to carving craft pumpkins ever since.


**Disclaimer** This project is not something kids should be doing. Even with adult supervision, children should not be handling a hot knife. It can be dangerous for adults as well, so use your best judgment and take precaution.


I have quite a few pumpkins that I've made over the past couple years, and I made a new one to add to my collection this year. While I was carving my new pumpkin, I decided I'd also make a post showing others how I make them. It's really simple, though it does take a lot of patience and a pretty steady hand. I just apply the same method I use to carve real pumpkins to the craft pumpkins, and it works perfectly. And the craft pumpkins will last year after year!


Here's what you'll need..

DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY
  • A Foam Craft Pumpkin - Michaels has them in 3 sizes
If you get your foam pumpkin from Michaels, don't pay full price for it. They have sales all the time, so I only purchase pumpkins when they're 50% off or more. If they happen to be full price, use a coupon. Michaels has their own coupons and also take competitor coupons (Hobby Lobby, Joanns, etc.) as well.

DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY
  • A Hot Knife (I used my wood burner, which came with a blade attachment)
  • A Print Out of Your Design
  • An Embroidery Needle (a thimble may be useful for you, too)
  • A Pen
  • Scissors
  • Tape

First, you'll want to choose the size of your pumpkin. For this tutorial, I chose to go with the medium 9" pumpkin. Then, choose your design. I chose to do a scene from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. You can do an image search of 'pumpkin stencils' and browse or you can search for a specific stencil. You'll want to keep in mind the shape and complexity of your design and which pumpkin size you have. For example, if you are working on a small pumpkin, you don't want a design that has a lot of little details because it will be difficult to cut out the shape. Likewise, if you are working on one of the large pumpkins, you'll want a design that is taller than it is wider to better fit the pumpkin's shape.


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY

Print out your stencil, and attach it to your pumpkin with some tape. Because of the pumpkin's curved shape, it can be a little tricky to get the stencil smoothed down. It's easier to work with if you do a rough cutout of your design and get rid of excess paper, but just do the best you can.


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY

Next, you're going to take your needle and poke holes along your stencil in order to transfer the shape to your pumpkin. The black part of the image is the part you'll be cutting out, so be sure to have your holes stay pretty precise on the line or inside the line on the black.

This part can wear on you fingers, so using a thimble can help.

When you're done, it should look like this.


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY
DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY

I recommend going back and tracing your dots before cutting so that you can see you image better. But remember to trace your dots exactly or trace where you'll be cutting out so you don't have pen marks left on your pumpkin.


It's time to carve your pumpkin. Heat up your hot knife, and carefully start cutting. In my experience, you have to cut slowly and take your time. It's easier to do larger chunks first and go back and clean up lines after. Also, curves can be tricky, so I like to cut around those in small sections rather than all at once to keep my lines precise.


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY

Here is my pumpkin after a rough cutout of the larger areas of my design. I find it easier to do this and then go back and cut out the smaller details.


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY

Be sure to cut a hole in the bottom for your light. **Do not use a real flame!** A lot of stores sell LED pumpkin lights that flicker or even change color, so be sure to use something like that instead of a real candle.


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY

Here's what the final pumpkin looks like!


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY, The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Peanuts Pumpkin

I think it looks awesome. It always looks way cooler when it's lit up, too.


Here are some other pumpkins I've made..

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This monogram pumpkin was actually the first one I ever made. Designs like this are great because they're not specifically for Halloween. You can make monogrammed pumpkins or do a harvest design and have it up all Autumn long.


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY, Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Michaels carries these pumpkins in a few different colors as well. When I made this Jack Skellington one, I used a white pumpkin, so it looks more like Jack even when it's not lit.


DIY Pumpkin, Craft Pumpkin Carving, Halloween, Pumpkin Carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween DIY, Boo, Haunted House, Trick or Treat, Spooky Tree, The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Peanuts Pumpkin

I hope you enjoyed this post and do your own craft pumpkin carving this season.