If you would rather your Halloween jack-o'-lantern be whimsical than spooky this year, you may want to try carving a classic cartoon character. Because Minnie Mouse's face is made of contrasting colours and simple shapes, she is a particularly easy character to convert into a pumpkin stencil. You can download Minnie Mouse stencils from the Internet or create your own.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Picture of Minnie Mouse's face
- Pencil with eraser
- Printer paper
- Butcher knife
- Dust sheet or newspaper
- Metal spoon
- Thin nail
- Carving saw
Trace the picture of Minnie Mouse onto printer paper. Shade in the black sections of her face, such as her ears, her nose and the pupils of her eyes. Do not shade any coloured sections that are not black, such as her bow or the peach parts of her face.
Review your pattern for white areas surrounded entirely by black, such as Minnie's eyes and tongue. The black sections of your pattern represent sections where you will cut away the pumpkin, while the white sections represent areas where you will leave the pumpkin intact. This means that white areas surrounded entirely by black represent sections of pumpkin that would have to float in midair.
Erase tiny segments from the lines enclosing floating white areas. These areas will no longer be surrounded entirely by black, meaning that a small piece of pumpkin will still hold them up when you carve the pattern. You will need to erase lines from the borders of Minnie's cheeks, the borders of her eyes, the area under her tongue and the borders of the bow in her hair. If your picture of Minnie has polka dots on her bow, you will also need to erase tiny sections from the outline of each dot. Whenever you erase a segment from the left side of one of these areas, erase a segment from the right side as well to distribute the weight of the pumpkin properly.
Review your pattern to make sure you can still see Minnie's face with the sections erased. Elongate the lines to make the erased segments smaller if necessary.
Making the Stencil
Cut a lid away from the top of the pumpkin using your butcher knife. Angle the knife inward slightly so the top of the lid is wider than the bottom. This will prevent the lid from falling into the pumpkin. Cut a small notch crossing from the lid to the side of the pumpkin so you will be able to line up the lid with the top of the pumpkin when you put it on later.
Place the pumpkin on a dust sheet or newspaper. Scoop the seeds and strings from the interior of the pumpkin. Scrape the bottom of the pumpkin with your spoon until it is relatively flat, as this will make it a safer surface for candles or pumpkin lights.
Locate a side of your pumpkin that is relatively flat, with few scars and blemishes. This will be your carving surface.
Scrape away the flesh from the inside of your carving surface until it is thin enough for you to see light shining through it. This will make it easier for you to pierce the carving surface with your tools.
Cut diagonal lines inward from the corners of your stencil. Do not cut into Minnie's face itself. Lay your stencil flat against the carving surface of the pumpkin and secure it with pushpins.
Poke holes along the outlines of Minnie's face and features with the thin nail, creating a series of dotted lines on the carving surface of your pumpkin. The holes on these lines should be no more than 1/4-inch apart. Remove the stencil from the pumpkin when you have punched holes through every line.
Cut along the dotted lines with your carving saw, holding the saw as you would a pencil and using a gentle sawing motion. Begin by cutting away the smaller areas, such as Minnie's eyes and mouth. This is because as you cut away more and more of the pumpkin, it will weaken, making it more likely to collapse. You may want to cut away Minnie's ears and the top of her head in several sections rather than one large piece so your carving will not be damaged when you push that piece out of the pumpkin.
Tips and warnings
- When turning a corner with your carving saw, do not change angles abruptly, as this will break the saw. Instead, gently turn the saw while cutting or remove the saw and reinsert it at the new angle.
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