The Donald and Elizabeth Poltical Pumpkins

I love Halloween!  To me it’s the official kick off to the entire holiday season. Given that I am a crafter I have always been into carving pumpkins. Since I have added the Glowforge Laser to my arsenal of crafting tools you can imagine the powerful passion I had to put my pumpkin in the “forge”.  Would it be prudent? Ok, I might be messing with you here – but seriously I love alliteration. Remember, I am a second grade teacher by day. Lol.  Then, my slightly naughty, twisted sense of humor reared its ugly head and pumpkins were lasered, burnt and disfigured forever (or until they mold in a day or two day in this Florida heat).  Thus, the politico pumpkins were born! Which is scarier? Trumpkin or Pocahontas? No need to answer- just being facetious here, or maybe hypothetical???

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Pumpkin Process

Pennywise after lasering/before clean up

Here’s the process for laser lovers:  Get whatever SVG or PNG you want to “carve”, political or otherwise.  I googled some horror movie favorites even though I am a “no scream queen”.  Real life is scary enough, I don’t need that kind of stress in my life but I went “there” for all of you!  Lol. I uploaded them into the Glowforge user interface. Then I set to prepping my pumpkins.  

Pennywise after a scrub with the light in my links inside.

Specifics of Lasering a Pumpkin

The bed of the GF only allows for a two inch thick product (approximately) so a whole pumpkin is a no go.  Shop for flat sided pumpkins. Slice off the thinnest front wall possible using the battery operated Pumpkin Masters Saw .  I know the Amazon ratings are low but I have used mine for years!!!  Trust me, I carve about 5-10 pumpkins per year with that thing!!! My settings were 500-600 speed, full power and I went with 340 LPI.  They each took between 37- 57 min to engrave. Light them with these amazing lights which I also use for all kinds of handy jobs.   

Chucky is engraved on the reverse side of Pennywise for extra creepiness coming and going.
See the whole process here.

No Laser? No Worries!

If you don’t have a Glowforge Laser (yet), don’t be discouraged. I got you!!!  Do what I did before the Glowforge. Get yourself some Pumpkin Masters Carving Kits .  When they came along it literally rocked my pumpkin carving world!  Producing professional looking pumpkins (say that five times fast – Lol) was SO much easier. I loved being able to carve unique and unusual pumpkins instead of just the traditional “Jack-O’-Lantern”.  

Say Goodbye to Ho-Hum Pumpkins

Suddenly I could carve trick-or-treating teddy bears, or friendly ghosts with greetings.  Honestly, it was so fun seeing people’s reactions on Halloween night! People would stop and ask, “Is that a real pumpkin?”  And the next question was always “Who carved that?” That is craft validation at it’s finest! The first time I saw them (at least 25 years ago) I have to admit I had my doubts. The tools looked tiny and flimsy. Could they really hold up to the rigors of pumpkin carving? The answer is YES!  You have to try these!   

Tools of the Trade

They can cut through that thick pumpkin flesh like butter.  The kit comes with several fun designs but once you get the hang of it you can easily come up with your own custom patterns.   Not only are the Pumpkin Master tools easier to use but they are also safer and faster than the traditional kitchen knife. There are a few tricks (no pun intended)  I have discovered along the way.  

Tips and Tricks

First, READ the directions in the kit! Don’t get all excited and skim.  You need all the deets on how to master the carving techniques they are sharing with you.  Second, cut, gut and hollow your pumpkin the day before you want to carve your design. When you cut your lid be sure to use a water based marker to draw your circle. Cut using the Pumpkin Master’s largest saw at a 45 degree angle so your lid doesn’t drop down into your pumpkin.  I can’t tell you how many people forget this important part! When you draw your lid circle, add a tab or bump out so that you can easily line your lid up for proper seating.  

Prepping Your Pumpkin

As you set to gutting your pumpkin (Are you a seed saver? Do you roast? You should! – See free recipe download below) scrape the interior walls. Not only to remove the strings, pulp and seeds but to actually THIN the walls!  That orange scraper thingy from Pumpkin Masters is the BOMB when it comes to thinning pumpkin walls! It will make carving intricate (or not so intricate) patterns a dream as well as boosting the affect your light will have when you are all done. You will wonder why you never did this before! Next, leave the lid off and allow it to dry out for the next 24 hours.    This allows excess moisture to evaporate and make your pumpkin light and easy to manage as well as making the carving process even easier. Go back to those directions in the kits about how to apply and transfer your pattern onto your pumpkin and get carving! P.S. Rub the inside of the lid of your raw, stinky pumpkin with pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon because raw pumpkin smells awful! You will thank me for that one! 

Happy Halloween!

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