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Some quick carving tips if you've never tried making your own lantern!

I LOVE pumpkin carving and it's become quite a tradition over the years in our home. Having a creative daugther always means theres just a little bit of friendly competition as far as our designs go and over the years we have built quite a portfolio... some good, some not so great. I want to share some tips today on getting the best from your carving and inspire you to have a go and create your own amazing designs!

Begin by cutting out the top. Use a sharp knife and work your way round, pushing the knife in and out until you have a circle of sorts.

Use the knife to ease the top out, making sure not to push too hard against the side wall and damage it. You might need to try it in different places until it comes up.

Put the top to one side, cutting off the seeds and part of the flesh. Keep and dice the flesh for soup. Check out Facebook for a recipe idea post!

Scoop out the seeds and as much flesh as possible, whilst still maintaining a strong wall. Using a metal spoon for this helps as it can cut into the flesh and takes more with it; a smaller desert or table spoon can be easier to grip. Hold it nearer the top of the handle and bowl of spoon. Flesh and seeds are kept for cooking! Nothing goes to waste.

Draw a simple design on paper, so you know what you will do. Treat it like a stencil and join pieces like eyeballs to another part of the pumpkin design so they don't fall out. Every part you want someone to see needs to be joined. See some examples above.

Finding the smoothest side, copy or free draw your design onto your pumpkin. You can also transfer a design if you use a soft pencil and rub all over the back of your design. Place the design on your pumpkin, face up and rubbing down, and then draw over the design with a hard pencil. This should transfer the design, but it will be very faint. Use a Sharpie, Biro or other marker pen to draw over the pencil, like I have below...

Now, using a sharp knife, begin to cut your design out. Using a sharp knife will not only make the cutting process easier, but subconsciously keeps you aware of safety when cutting. A blunter knife or pumpkin tool often allow us to think we are safer and that they will prevent us getting cut, but often make us less cautious too! I use a flat blade, but a serrated blade could also be better if you have one.

For a simple design, cut through the whole wall of the pumpkin. Take your time, especially around corners, which may take quite a few small cuts. Use the width of the blade to make the size of cut you want.

To get a different result, you can also just cut off the skin of the pumpkin, leaving the flesh. The light glows through the flesh, producing a muted light and gives your design a little extra interest. again, use your knife carefully to cut only the skin, and then slip it under the skin to peel it off carefully.

To make smaller holes, use a skewer and wiggle it to make the size you need.

Once you have cut out your design, you can decide if you need to take away any more and then grab your candles or tealights and get it outside to scare away those tricksters! 🎃👻

Happy carving everyone :)

Sending creepy crafty wishes for a spooktacular Halloween!

Deb x

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