Monday, October 30, 2006

Carving Tips

A couple of little things to remember about carving:
  1.  Do the smallest pieces first--they're the hardest to do without the stability of the semi-intact pumpkin. If there are no real small pieces, work from the inside out. Always get the center of the face done if you're doing a portrait. I like to work either up or down completely--after I finish the center, I pick either the bottom or top half to finish before moving onto the other half.
  2. Try to cut in a way that will give you the most structure. So if you're doing a "C" shaped piece, first do the inside edge of the C, then the outside--it's more structurally sound. 
  3. For doing several delicate pieces next to each other (especially around the face), try leaving in the pieces after you've cut them. It contributes to the stability of the pumpkin while you're carving, then when you've cut all the pieces, you can pop them out all at once. 
  4. If you're doing larger pieces, especially ones that threaten to ruin the whole effect of the pumpkin if you mess them up, cut them up into smaller pieces. 
  5. Don't be afraid to take out your knife/saw and change the direction of the cut--sometimes it's easier than trying to keep going in one direction.
  6. If you have an intricate pattern, as you get towards the end the pumpkin will become less and less structurally sound and harder to cut without making a mistake. My best advice is to change knives/saws. The serated saws that they sell in the stores are great for little cuts and most of your detail work, but at those last moments when the pumpkin could easily come crashing down, I recommend switching to a non-serated knife. A paring knife is usually easiest because it's small enough to make the cuts. It leaves a clean edge and most importantly, it doesn't shake the pumpkin as much as a serated edge does.

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