Hi there! I’ve been pumpkin carving up a storm the past few days and I have some really fun tips and techniques to share with you. Today I’ll be sharing some easy ways to carve and add lighting effects to a pumpkin. It’s easier than you think to create a groovy star light pumpkin like this. Come along and get your pumpkin carving groove on!
Once upon a time (circa 1986) I was trick or treating in my neighborhood and saw a brilliantly carved moon and stars pumpkin. I’ve waited over 25 years to recreate something like it and at long last have one to share.
I couldn’t bear to work my fingers to the bone carving a real pumpkin and have it rot on the porch. Thanks to a fun foam pumpkin from Michael’s I can now enjoy the fruits of my labor year after year. On a side note I scored this black beauty of a foam pumpkin for $5 bucks at Michael’s. Get down there ASAP and get one while you still can!
In the past I’ve always used stencil templates for pumpkin carving but lets face it keeping a stencil straight on a curved surface (like a pumpkin) can be a challenge. Fear not, there is an easier way to create a super cool carved pumpkin without the use of stencils….check it!
Pumpkin Carving with Sizzix
As you may know I’m a big fan of Sizzix. I recently purchased all the Tim Holtz Alterations Star Dies…because I’m a total star nut. I had a revelation while down in the studio and thought “Why not use my Sizzix dies as pumpkin carving templates?” Eureka! You too can use your Sizzix collection to create the coolest pumpkin on the block! Are you looking through your dies yet?
Tim’s Sizzix on the edge dies are great for creating a pattern to carve along on top of your pumpkin. I used the new on the edge Star die to cut this pattern out of Ranger Foil Tape. Each strip was cut in half to make it easier to curve the design around the pumpkin. One sheet of foil tape did the trick!
Next, I used Tim’s Stars and Moon and Stars die to cut shapes out of Thermo-Web sheets. You can find Thermo-Web for around $2 at Michael’s. They come in packs of two and are sized perfectly to fit most Sizzix dies (I used two sheets for this project). Simply cut your shapes and stick them onto your pumpkin! No more messing with slippy taped on stencils
You can use whatever you fancy to carve your pumpkin. I found that the little carving tools from Pumpkin Masters were good for getting into small spaces. You will also want to use a piercing tool to poke holes around your design to make carving easier.
*TIP*: Set your pumpkin on a tray to collect all the foam dust. Foam pumpkins kick up a lot of dust.
Use a nail file to smooth out rough edges. This part can be a wee bit tedious but will give you a much nicer finished look in the end.
*TIP*: If your top has an intricate design you may need to use sand paper to file down some edges to get it to fit smoothly. Be sure to mark the one edge on the top and inside of the pumpkin with a Sharpie so the top goes on in the right place…otherwise it will turn into a game of “Perfection”…without the scary buzzer
Adding Paint and Color to a Pumpkin
The best part about foam pumpkins (aside from lasting forever) is that they are SUPER easy to paint! I used Metallic Distress Paints to add a subtle sheen to my pumpkin. Using a technique I learned from Tim Holtz Creative Chemistry 102 called “Eroded metallic”. If you haven’t taken Creative Chemistry 102 you should! It’s chock full of cool techniques that you can use on any of your creative ventures.
I colored the foil tape with Tarnished Brass Distress Paint and blotted some off to allow a bit of the foil to show through. Next I randomly dabbed on Glossy accents and sprinkled on Brushed Pewter Distress Glitter. I love the vintage look of the Distress Glitter and how it takes on both the silver and gold tones underneath.
Wax Paper and Alcohol Ink Technique
This is one of my favorite techniques for adding “windows of color” to projects. It’s easy and cheap to create pops of color for backlit projects. I originally shared this technique last year in my Dollar Store Spooky House Project. I wanted to add several different colors to the Moon and Stars on my pumpkin to add depth and interest. Some of the smaller stars were left open to allow unfiltered light to shine through. Have some fun experimenting with different alcohol ink combinations on wax paper or you can use my recipes below.
I used the Star Light Gold recipe for the moon and a few select stars. For maximum impact I outlined the moon and some of the stars with gold paint.
Star Light Silver was used to complement the foil taped top of my pumpkin and the metallic distress paint on the outside.
Star Light Blue adds the perfect pop of color and looks so pretty with the light shining through.
When you are ready to add your alcohol inked wax paper windows to your project simply cut them into squares slightly larger than your opening and glue them to the inside…I used hot glue.
*TIP*: For a twinkling effect sprinkle glitter on top of the alcohol inked wax paper and dry with a heat tool You will need to do this immediately after applying the ink. I used Donna Salazar “Fairy Dust” Glitter from Clearsnap.
Create Pumpkin Lighting Effects with Mirrors
You know that Mirrored lighting trick for Christmas Trees that’s been going around Pinterest? Well it works just as well on a pumpkin!
Check out those cool disco lights shining through. My pumpkin is ready to party and yours will be too with this simple trick!
I used some Tim Holtz Idea-ology mirrored scraps but you can also use mirrored tiles for this trick (you can find them in the mosaic aisle at Michael’s for $1-$2 per pack). Attach several mirrored pieces to fishing line and tie to a floral pin. Be sure to hang your pieces at different heights for maximum impact. I like using Tim’s mirrored sheets because they are sticky backed so there is no need for glue. It’s also a great way to use up those precious scraps!
Once your hanging mirrors are all tied up insert the floral pin into the top of your pumpkin! You can add any type of light you have on hand. I used an LED booklight to maximize the sparkle and shine of the mirrors.
Notice my sharpied top ensures a perfect fitting pumpkin top every time!
How cool is that? A funky mirrored disco light pumpkin? Yes Please! Not to mention that creating your stencil with stick on stencil shapes makes it easier than ever to carve a cool pumpkin. The possibilities are truly endless so flip through your Sizzix collection and see what kinds of creative pumpkin designs you can come up with! If you are looking for the Tim Holtz Star dies I found mine at The Funkie Junkie.
For more of my fun fall & Halloween project ideas HERE.
Michael’s is having a “Trick your Pumpkin” contest so feel free to use my tips and tricks to get your pumpkin carving groove on and you could win a $250 gift card to Michael’s and a Mod Podge Prize pack.
Have a disco lights kind of day!