Trading tips for gutting, transferring, and carving the real thing.
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By jeffstar
This may sound like a silly question, but I've been carving for 4 years now, and i'm always quite happy with the end product, but for me i always find the hardest part of the process is applying the actual stencil onto the pumpkin.. maybe it's because the pumpkins in England are a little smaller and too round, but even after trimming the design, and cutting slits into the pattern, i always struggle with getting the whole design to stick down without physically creasing the design too much, surely if you crease too many times, it's going to impact on the final image?
does anyone have any tips that could help?
thanks in advance! :D
All UK carvers can empathise with you on that score. The only option is to crease. Sometimes, the pattern lines will need adjusting once you have transferred otherwise they can look like you have made an error carving. That can prove time consuming and a bit of a bind but I always find that once carved you can't tell.

I've found that the pumpkins on sale are slightly bigger this year. Hopefully, this will continue next year too.
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By shaft28
I like to carve some smaller pumpkins too and run across this problem. What I do it either crease in the blank spaces as much as possible or I dissemble the entire design into pieces. I print 2 so I have one to use as the "control" and then reassemble the pieces on the pumpkin. I find that blue painters tape works great to sticking to pumpkin - compared to scotch tape.
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By Kayo
it takes me an hour and a half to carve a harder design on a decent sized pumpkin. i think the first hour is spent trying to get the pattern taped on :lol:
I cut away as much of the blank areas of the pattern as possible. Then I make little tears or pleats here and there to make it lay flat to the pumpkin, taping it down as I go. I've never found it noticeable on a finished carving if I've had to tear through and tape a line or make eyes a little closer together to get it to fit. Sometimes I dampen the pattern, which allows it to form to the pumpkin much easier, and let it dry before transferring. This works well for the hole-poking method of transferring. I'm not sure how it would work If you use Saral paper (as I do for the more intricate patterns).
A tried and tested method I use is to trace the design on to Cling wrap. Stick your stencil to a work surface then stick some cling wrap over the top making sure it is good and tight with no wrinkles. Trace the design onto the cling wrap with a permenant marker then carefully transfer it to your pumpkin (make sure the pumpkin surface is clean and dry first) smooth the cling wrap over the surface of the pumpkin in the desired position (it will naturally cling to the pumpkin) then tape the cling wrap onto the pumpkin smoothing out all wrinkles as you go until it is good and tight. Prick the design through the cling wrap using a pin, cocktail stick etc and join the dots at the end using the original stencil for guidance and hey presto - a nice accurate copy of your original stencil! :D
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By Kayo
i just found out this year that if i can turn it into as much of a doily as possible it works better. hope that helps anyone left carving, back into the fray!