Friday, October 28, 2011
Hey guys :o) SP here today, and so happy to bring this fun (and hopefully inspiring) post to ya! This was kinda impromtu, lol…as my wonderful hubby (many of you know him as the Royal Pain Nerd) came up with the idea for our little man, (he loves to work in Photoshop Elements…and his daddy asked, “Why don’t you design something in PS and we’ll carve it on a pumpkin?”) who was MORE than up for the challenge, lol! He had so much fun designing his own pumpkin – that we decided to take it one step further and do an SP Designs LOGO pumpkin :o) Seriously – so much fun, and so simple (well, you DO need a couple of hours and a lot of patience, lol)!
So, I’ll say in advance that we are mostly giving general ‘tips’ here…as there are lots of ways to do just about anything when it comes to pumpkin carving :o) So, just follow along for basic concepts…but remember that you can Google any topic and find more information than you could ever want or need, lol! Actually – I recommend it…you will find all kinds of useful information and tips about everything from TOOLS to LIGHTING – all which could make your pumpkin-carving experience much easier and more enjoyable in the end!
So, the main reason I wanted to share this post with you guys…is that the pumpkin carving project BEGAN in PHOTOSHOP :o) It’s as simple as designing an image or graphic to place on your pumpkin…and then you carve out your custom design and have one super awesome pumpkin, lol! NOTE: the more simple your design, the EASIER your pumpkin-carving-project will be, lol! Full disclosure – our SP pumpkin was VERY intricate and NOT for the faint-of-heart, lol! My hubby has WAY more PATIENCE than me (at least when it comes to tedious stuff like this, lol)…so he was my official PUMPKIN CARVER! Most of the tips below are from him, as after my design work in Photoshop was complete…I only took photos while he WORKED, lol! So, in a nutshell – you might want to start with a simple design – one without so many tiny and detailed cuts :o)
When it comes to creating your pumpkin design…just HAVE FUN! There are a million options, from the traditional jack-o-lantern face…to stars…to animals…you get the idea! As far as size goes – I started with an 8.5×11 canvas (300dpi) as I knew I would be printing on our laser printer. You’ll want to either measure your pumpkin…or just get some idea of how large your image needs to be to fill the space. For instance, if your pumpkin is tall and thin – you’ll want to create a design that is more vertical. But, if your pumpkin is short and chunky – go horizontal with your design. I printed out my design in three different sizes and just chose the one that fit best :o) Pumpkins come in all kinds of shapes and sizes…so I can’t give you actual dimensions to design with…but you will need to print your final graphic…so 8.5×11 is a great place to start!
Here’s a screen shot of my final SP DESIGNS image for my pumpkin…
Just a couple of quick notes about printing your design! We used a laser printer for ours, which was handy for two reasons! 1) As you’ll see below, it is very helpful if you can get your paper wet AND 2) You do not need a color print anyway – black and white is fine :o) With laser prints – you can get the paper/’ink’ wet without too much smudging and smearing…this is very different for inkjet paper/ink. We didn’t try it with an inkjet print…but you could – just be super gentle and careful when ‘wetting’ your paper (again, more on this below). You can get laser prints/copies at most of your local copy shops/office supply stores – so it might be worth a try :o) Keep in mind that for THIS project…the thinner the paper – the better! It will just be easier to adhere to your pumpkin, as thick/photo paper doesn’t bend well.
Now…on to the PUMPKINS, lol!
While you can create your design before finding a pumpkin…I suggest picking your pumpkin first (again, it just helps with sizing your design and getting the correct proportions). However, remember that pumpkins do not last forever, lol…so plan ahead as much as you can! When it comes to ‘picking the perfect pumpkin’ – GOOD LUCK, lol! It’s not likely that you will find a PERFECT one…they all tend to have blemishes and imperfections…but the main thing – MAKE SURE IT SITS NICELY and SOMEWHAT FLAT! It’s no fun to have a wobbly or leaning pumpkin, lol! When it comes to color – they are ALL beautiful! We purchased several traditional orange pumpkins…but I also loved the creamy, vanilla color that we went with for mine :o)
Alright…so now you have your pumpkin and your design – you’ll need to ‘clean out’ your pumpkin! Make sure to cut the hole large enough to fit your hand. Hubby highly recommends using an ice cream scoop (after trying several ‘tools’ – including those made specifically for pumpkin carving). Just remove all of the ‘stuff’ from the inside…and don’t forget that roasted PUMPKIN SEEDS are YUMMY (I did toast mine…one batch with just salt and olive oil, one with cinnamon and sugar…and one with cayenne paper – they were all DELICIOUS)! It’s also a good idea to wipe down the outside of your pumpkin…just to remove any dirt, etc. Here is a webpage with lots more info about preserving your pumpkin and making it last longer. Admittedly – we didn’t do most of this, lol…but I wanted to share it with you anyway :o)
For the SP logo design, we cut it down to remove the excess paper – really, it just makes it easier to work with. We then applied adhesive (we used something like this - but I imagine all kinds of adhesives/glues would do the job) to the back of the paper, and placed it on the pumpkin.
Now that your design is adhered to your pumpkin…we highly recommend wetting the paper (if possible…please read notes about paper above)! It REALLY helps to better mold the design to the pumpkin, making it easier to pierce the paper. You can ‘wet’ it by simply (and gently) rubbing/blotting a wet towel/paper towel over the design until it is ‘molded’ to your pumpkin. If you are working with inkjet paper – just be super gentle and try not to rub (I’m sure the design will still smear…but hopefully not so much that you can’t work with it).
Now it’s time to start cutting! This part is not for the younger kids as you’ll be working with sharp tools…AND, adults be careful, too! The pumpkin can get slippery and just plain hard to hold on to…so take your time and be careful :o) You can use a pin or a sharp, pointed knife to DOT the outline of the design onto the pumpkin (there are lots of tools that can be used for this part – so just find what works best for you). In this step – you are basically ‘tracing’ your design onto the pumpkin! Once your design is fully dotted or traced – you can remove the paper (YAY, lol)! Depending on the adhesive used – you might need to wipe your pumpkin’s surface with a damp towel to remove any excess.
Now that you’ve got your ‘outline’ – it’s time to cut along the dotted line. Keep in mind that you do NOT have to go deep - maybe 3/8th of an inch (or so). Hubby had this handy little computer tool with a bent edge – he said it was PERFECT – it really made it easy to pry the pumpkin skin away. We think a paint can opener would work beautifully as well :o) Again, we also purchased the ‘pumpkin carving tool sets’ that are available in most stores right now…and well, they just weren’t great, lol! At least not for this intricate of a design :o) We found that there are lots of tools around the house that do the job just fine!
Here is where the PATIENCE part comes in to play, lol! Just take your time (put on some of your favorite music and enjoy the process) and start removing the pumkpin skin inside your cuts. For the finer details, use a sharp point craft knife (exacto knife). PLEASE NOTE that for our SP pumpkin…we did not do any full CUT-OUTS – we only scraped the pumpkin’s skin to about 75%! Of course, you can do the full, traditional cut-out…but for this one – we wanted the pretty GLOW you get from the partial cut! IT’S ALL UP TO YOU and your PREFERENCE :o) Both techniques are BEAUTIFUL! You might want to place your light source inside the pumpkin periodically during the carving process. This will help you to know if you are getting ‘close’ with your carving depth :o) Also – keep in mind that you can scrape more from the INSIDE of the pumpkin, too (we did this as it is EASIER to scrape from the inside…AND, we wanted a BRIGHT glow for our pumpkin – meaning that the thinner the skin…the better the glow).
That’s it…you’re done :o) Well, almost, lol! If you want to LIGHT your pumpkin…you’ll need to decide HOW…and THEN, you’re done, lol! There are LOTS of different ways to light a pumpkin…and this is where Google can be a great tool! For us…we went with flameless candles (we do not have any ‘real’ candles in our house, lol) as they are safe and have nifty little on/off timers :o) You could also use LED lights or a flashlight propped up inside the pumpkin! Again, lots of different ways to go about this part :o) If you really want to get ‘fancy’ – you can even purchase special PUMPKIN LIGHTS!
And, on the subject of LIGHTS, you can’t have a PUMPKIN CARVING post without a glowing, night photo, right? lol…so here ya go :o) ‘She’ truly is SO pretty glowing in the dark! We’ve never had a ‘vanilla’ pumpkin before…and the glow really is beautiful! As mentioned, we also carved a couple of traditional, orange pumpkins – and they put off a gorgeous light as well, just different!
So there you have it, my PRETTY and CUSTOM PUMPKIN (thanks to photoshop and a very sweet and patient hubby, lol)! Hope you enjoyed…IF you are inspired to carve your own ‘digitally designed’ pumpkin – we’d LOOOOOVE to see it in the gallery (be sure to link to it on this post so we can all see)! Or, if you just had fun carving pumpkins (the old-fashioned way, lol) with your kids/family – we’d love to see those, too :o) THANKS FOR STOPPING BY! Have a beautiful weekend (and don’t forget to stop back by tomorrow as Kylie shares November’s FREE desktop…I know, it’s a Saturday – but we are OVERflowing with blog posts these days, lolol)! xoxo — SP
P.S. Be sure to SCROLL DOWN to see Casharina’s AWESOME recipe post from earlier today :o) We do not generally do TWO posts in one day, lol…but this was timely – so wanted to share! But, you also do not want to miss her CHICKEN CORN SOUP (and free recipe card download)…so scroll away!