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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween: Pumpkin Carving Tips & Tricks

Our 7th Annual Chu Family Pumpkin Carving Contest  was held over the weekend and it was as much fun as ever. I love the trash talking, friendly competition and grubbing on good food. I came in 2nd place! I thought my design was pretty dope but I have to admit some of the thin lines of my sister Karen's winning design looked really impressive. We take our pumpkin carving seriously and I thought I would share some of my tips and tricks so you can take your carving skillz up a notch too.

Tips for Pumpkin Carving like a Pro

-Carving tools. I'm not talking about the cheap plastic tools you can find at Target. I bought this Pro Carving Tool set from Zombie Pumpkins years ago and it is amazing. The blades are a lot thinner and finer so you can make those small cuts which are essential for a winning design.
-Transfer paper. Transfer paper is a must if you are tracing a design onto your pumpkin. I like using Saral Transfer Paper in Blue. It's also available in other colors but the Graphite is a mess and gets everywhere and the other colors are too hard to see. Sulky also sells Stick and Carve which I might try out next year. None of that poking the design onto the the pumpkin stuff. That is such a waste of time and then you have to figure out which dots to connect. Mess.
-Tape. You'll need to tape your transfer paper and pattern to your pumpkin.
-Pen to trace your design. Preferably a fine tip ball point. 
-Pumpkin gutter. I hate gutting and prepping my pumpkins. A pumpkin gutter with a serrated edge is a must. I also own a pumpkin gutting tool that attaches to an electric drill which makes things go a lot faster but is a bitch  pain to clean.
-Wood carving tools. In the last two years, we've added wood carving tools to our arsenal. These are really handy when you have to scrape as part of your design.
-Stencil. Some of us use patterns. Some of us create our own patterns. Some of us just free hand our designs. The one thing everyone had in common this year was that they came prepared. You have to have a game plan in order to successfully execute your design in the time allotted (in our case it was from 12pm - 6pm). Study your design. Decide which lines you will cut and which you will scrape. This year I carved a sugar skull inspired owl. I was really attracted to the fine lines and intricate design.
-Candle. The brighter the light, the more your design will shine. I recommend something bigger than a tea light or using multiple tea lights.

Congrats Karen for winning this year. More photos from the party will be posted by next week. Stay tuned!

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