Before I found this trick, I dreaded the thought of pumpkin carving. I struggled getting a fairly even line cutting the top off the pumpkin. I could only imagine what my pumpkin carving designs would end up looking like. You probably wouldn’t be able to tell what they were or the designs would be extremely basic.
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There Must be a Simpler Way to Carve a Pumpkin
I wanted to carve a pumpkin that was more detailed and that looked neat. Plus, I didn’t want to waste pumpkins in the process. So, I went searching for an easier way to carve a pumpkin than the traditional way.
I not only found a simpler way to carve pumpkins with cool-looking designs, I actually was looking forward to trying it out and carving pumpkins! Yes. Not just one pumpkin. I wanted to carve pumpkins!
Thanks for the inspiration, Lauren Conrad!
Simple Pumpkin Carving Trick
What is this awesome and simple pumpkin carving trick? Cookie cutter pumpkin carving! And you really can have as detailed of a design as the cookie cutter you use!
What You’ll Need
To carve pumpkins using the simple cookie cutter trick, you’ll need:
Cookie Cutters (These are what I used for the smaller pumpkins!)
A Rubber Mallet (This three rubber mallet set is awesome because you can use the large mallet for most of it and the medium mallet when you need to get into smaller areas. The small mallet is perfect for a young child or even an older toddler to use. No, it isn’t child-size, but I don’t think a child-size one would work as well.)
Pumpkins (I like using smaller pumpkins! Of course, you can use any size pumpkin you like.)
How to Make Cookie Cutter Pumpkin Carvings
These cookie cutter pumpkin carvings or any cookie cutter carvings can be created by following the steps below.
Step 1: Wash the outside of the pumpkin. This is best to do at the beginning so water doesn’t get inside after you’ve carved the pumpkin. If you have a pumpkin scrubbing activity, your toddler or preschooler can do the washing for you.
Step 2: Cut the top off the pumpkin. Carefully cut the top off the pumpkin, making a circle large enough for your hand to fit inside the pumpkin. I find it helpful to do this in small sections and change the angle of the knife regularly to make sure it’s a more even line. Because the pumpkin has a certain amount of thickness to it, I find it’s different than cutting through paper.
Step 3: Scoop out the inside of the pumpkin. You can cut the stringy part of the pumpkin using a knife. I even use scissors sometimes. Then you can scoop out the insides and the pumpkin seeds. You can use a large spoon or an ice cream scooper. I tried using a flatter ice cream scooper for some of my pumpkins this year. It made it a lot easier to get all of the insides out and the inside of the pumpkin looking smoother.
See photos for steps 2 and 3 with my niece, Zoey, and me in my mom’s blog post: Simple Fun with Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds for Toddlers and Preschoolers!
Step 4: Place a stainless steel cookie cutter on the pumpkin where you’d like to carve the design. Smaller stainless steel cookie cutters often work better because they can lie flatter on the pumpkin. However, you will want to make sure your cookie cutter is deep enough to cut through the pumpkin you’re wanting to carve. For example, very small cookie cutters work for smaller pumpkins, especially if you want a few carvings on one pumpkin. A larger cookie cutter works well on a small pumpkin as long as it can lay fairly flat on the pumpkin surface. A large pumpkin will need larger cookie cutters, or you will need to make the inside of the pumpkin slightly thinner than the depth of the cookie cutter. This may be necessary for some smaller pumpkins, too. It’s a good idea to look at how thick your pumpkin is before you start carving.
Step 5: Use a rubber mallet to hammer the cookie cutter into the pumpkin. Hold the cookie cutter firmly in place, making sure your fingers are clear of the mallet. I mostly used the large rubber mallet to hammer the cookie cutters into the pumpkin, but I found it useful to have the medium rubber mallet on hand for certain parts mostly to start and finish. You could definitely do it completely with the large rubber mallet, and if you are choosing to buy one versus the set of three, I recommend the large rubber mallet. If you have a toddler or young child, the small rubber mallet is great for allowing them to help out and join in the fun. My almost-3-year-old niece was easily able to use the small rubber mallet!
Step 6: Once the cookie cutter is almost all the way through, push the rest of the design through. I prefer to use my thumbs to push the design through. This way will leave the cookie cutter in there, which is ideal if you want to place the design back in for a fun activity for young ones where they push the design out and put it back in.
My niece, Zoey, loved putting the design back in and pushing it through over and over. Because of the cookie cutter being in place, the pumpkin didn’t get at all affected by this.
You can see how the fun kids’ activity of pushing the design through didn’t damage the design at all because the cookie cutter was still in. When Zoey was done with the activity, I continued to step 7 to get the cookie cutter out.
Step 7: Continue hammering until the cookie cutter goes through the pumpkin, push the cutter the rest of the way through, or pull the cookie cutter out. If your cookie cutter is deeper than the pumpkin wall, you should be able to easily hammer the cookie cutter all the way through. If it is about the same size as the pumpkin wall depth, you may need to push the cutter the rest of the way through. If you just want an outline, you can pull the cookie cutter out when it’s as deep as you want the outline to be.
Simple Fun with Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds for Toddlers and Preschoolers
For lots of pumpkin and pumpkin seed activities for toddlers and preschoolers, see my mom’s blog post: Simple Fun with Pumpkins and Pumpkin Seeds for Toddlers and Preschoolers!
Super-Easy Pumpkin Carvings
This is definitely my favorite way to carve pumpkins! I find it fun, and I look forward to carving more pumpkins!
What are your favorite designs to carve? What occasions do you carve pumpkins for?