Skull-A-Day 5.0 - Tutorial - Dia de la Abby: #65 Raven Skull Pumpkin

This tutorial for my Raven Skull Pumpkin will be very similar to last year's tutorial for the Skull Pumpkin. I am going to copy a few of the instructions into this tutorial, as they are similar.

  • A large pumpkin - Big pumpkins have more surface area to carve on. They are also heavy. Keep those both in mind when choosing your pumpkin. A pumpkin with a flat and smooth side will work well for a detailed design
  • A pencil or pen - To draw your design before carving. I used a pen and washed off any remaining marks, after carving
  • Wood carving tool set - You want a small, medium and a large U shaped blade.
  • Paper towels - This is messy, you will need them.
  • A bowl - For putting the removed pieces in
  • Soap and water - For cleaning the pumpkin before and after carving


1) Use a few wet paper towels to wash off any dirt on the pumpkin. Use a dry one to dry the pumpkin off.

2) I tend to sit my pumpkin on my lap, but if working on a table works better for you, feel free to do so. Regardless of the surface you choose, cover it with paper towels. I had a large one spread across my lap...more like stomach to catch any pumpkin juice an peelings.

3) On the pumpkin, use the pencil or pen to draw out your design. If you use a pencil, you should making firm lines in the pumpkin. Be careful, because pumpkins are slick. If you are using a pen, lightly draw with it. I used an image of a raven skull as a guide to draw it. I free handed my design, but you can use a template or stencil if needed. I drew the skull and large flowers before carving. I drew the vines and leaves after carving the flowers and vines.

You can see some of the bird skull and flowers. This is lightly sketched with a ball point pen.

4) Look at the carving tools. With the small U blade, carefully carve and refine all the lines you drew. I carved the skull and flowers. The pumpkin might start oozing pumpkin juice. This is sticky, so have your paper towels handy. Go slow and be careful. You can't put back what you remove. Put the removed pieces in the bowl.

5) After the fine details, I drew the vines and leaves. I used the large U blade to carve the vines and outer leaf shape I used the medium U blade to carve the leaf veins.

6) For the large circles, I used the large U blade. For the small circles, I used the small U blade. I poked it down into the pumpkin along the vines and carefully twisted it around. These are my stylized version of flower buds.

7) After you are done carving, use a wet paper towel to clean off the pen marks and any pumpkin juice. Use a dry paper towel to dry the pumpkin.

Last year, my pumpkin lasted for months because I never hollowed it out. I was surprised that it didn't start rotting as quick as I thought it would. When I threw it out in December, it was still nice looking. The carved areas had dried nicely.


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