How To Carve Your Favorite Photo Into Any Pumpkin

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I don’t know about you, but I get awfully tired of seeing the same ‘ol, same ‘ol pumpkins every year. Somehow, I’ve been led to believe that my only options were to stick with the classic toothless pumpkin face, ugly witches, or perhaps opt for my favorite football team logo. Isn’t it about time we spice things up?

If you have a photograph you’re proud of, why not display it on a pumpkin? You can easily have the best-looking pumpkin on your block with this simple tutorial.

What you’ll need: 

    • A pumpkin (the bigger, the better!)
    • Photograph (2 copies on normal printing paper, max 8 inches tall)
    • Classic pumpkin carving kit
    • T-Pins
    • Lighter
    • Candle
    • Straight razor

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Pre-Carving:

You’ll want to choose a photograph that has a fairly simple outline, because it is going to end up being a silhouette on the pumpkin. Using a profile of someone’s face works great! Be sure to print your photo on normal printing paper, as you will be pinning it to the pumpkin later on. I recommend making a couple copies (just in case it tears in the process!)

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Once you have your photo ready, you’ll want to black out the areas of the photograph that will be carved out, which can be done two ways:

1) Use a sharpie to black out the subject.

or

2) Convert your photo to a black-and-white image in Photoshop and use your levels to create a stark contrast between the blacks and the whites, as seen above. Click here for a great tutorial on how to do that!

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Carving:

Start by carving out the top of your pumpkin and gutting the insides, as usual. Be sure to keep your seeds so you can roast them later!

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Use T-pins to apply your photo to the pumpkin. Typically a pumpkin will be no more than 8 inches tall, so I recommend sizing your photo between 5-8 inches to ensure it will fit, but of course, purchase your pumpkin before printing just to be safe on the size!

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Next, you’ll want to create an outline of your image onto the pumpkin. We used the T-Pins to pin holes along the outline, but a razor should work just as well. When you remove your image, you should be able to see the outline of your photo!

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Now you can start carving! You can either carve out the image itself, or create a silhouette of the image and carve out the space around the image like we did.

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Voila! Your magnificent, one-of-a-kind pumpkin. Put a few on your porch and you’ll have the whole neighborhood talking!

Hello! I'm Natalie Rhea, a professional photographer/videographer based out of Austin, TX. I make a living telling other people's stories! Follow my work at natalierhea.com as I tell you stories about the world I see.

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