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October 29, 2010, 12:48 pm betterhomesgardens
This Halloween, decorate your outdoor spaces with these bewitching jack-o’-lanterns.
Light up the night with a warm glow by suspending small jack-o’-lanterns from tree branches. Carve the pumpkins as desired and set aside the stemmed lids. For each pumpkin, use a metal skewer to make one small hole on each side near the top. Cut two lengths of 18-gauge aluminium wire. Thread a length of wire through each hole, twisting to secure on inside. Place a votive candle inside each pumpkin and then replace the lid. To hang pumpkins, twist wire ends around tree branches.
This funny fellow is all ears! To make a jack-o’-lantern, see the project on the next page. Then saw a large gourd in half to make ears, attaching each to the head with pins. A large glass bead forms the nose. Dab a little red glass paint on the front of the nose before inserting the bead into a hole cut just the right size. When the pumpkin is lit, the nose will glow red. For the eyes, pin a radish into the top of each egg-shaped eye. A coiled-moss nest hat makes a perfect bird’s nest. The bird is made from a gourd with a green shallot tail.
Greet guests and goblins with a golden pumpkin wreath that will last and last. Just drill right through each small pumpkin from one side to the other near the bottom. To attach pumpkins to a wire wreath form, thread a piece of 20-gauge wire through each pumpkin. Wrap the wire ends to the back of the wreath form to secure. Then, wire dry moss to the form to fill in around the pumpkins. Tie a large black bow and wire it to the wreath.
You can easily carve the facial features of this little fella – just use the diagram on the next page. The quarter-moon mouth is studded with garlic-clove teeth and each eye is filled with a radish. Use an apple corer to drill holes for the hair and ears and fill with broccoli stalks (hair) and artichokes (ears). The gourd nose is held in place with toothpicks.
Fresh whole pumpkin; black marker pen; X-Acto wood-carving tools including gouges; clay-carving tools; large serving spoon; poker tool; craft knife; tracing paper; tape; straight pins; toothpicks; hot-glue gun; petroleum jelly; candle.
1. Draw a circle on the bottom of pumpkin. Following the outline and cutting straight into base, cut out bottom opening with a knife or a saw.
2. Clean out the seeds and pulp with a scoop or a spoon.
3. Scrape the pulp from the area you plan to carve until the pumpkin wall is about 2.5cm thick.
4. Enlarge Bird haven diagram to fit your pumpkin. Attach the pattern to the pumpkin using tape or pins. Use a poker tool to make holes along the design lines. Remove the pattern.
5. Cradle pumpkin in your lap and use an X-Acto knife or a saw to begin cutting out the design except for the eyebrows. For smaller, more intricate openings, use a finer-tooth saw. Grasp the saw as you’d hold a pencil and cut with a continuous up and down motion, keeping saw perpendicular to the pumpkin. Apply only gentle pressure to avoid breaking the knife or saw blade and to prevent stressing or breaking the pumpkin. To avoid putting pressure on areas already carved, work from the centre of the design outward. Remove and re-insert the knife to make corners; don’t twist the blade. Use your finger to carefully push the pieces out of the pumpkin.
6. For the eyebrows, remove outer skin, then use a rounded gouge, assorted clay tools, spoons or craft knife to remove the skin and pulp to the thickness required. The thinner the layer remaining the more light will come through. You can create designs with colour and light using this technique.
7. Lower the pumpkin over a lit candle. Decorate your pumpkin as desired using pins, toothpicks or hot glue to hold the elements in place. After the candle smoke has blackened a spot at the top, use a saw to cut a 2.5cm diameter hole in that spot to vent the smoke and heat. Coat the cut edges of your carving with petroleum jelly to reduce shrivelling. If the pumpkin shrivels, revive it by soaking in water for up to 8 hours. Drain, then dry carefully.
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