Someone emptying out a pumpkin

Pumpkin Carving - 6 Creative Ideas Using Power Tools

Update (10/29/15): We are celebrating our recent Pumpkin Carving with Power Tools appearance on national network TV with our first annual Mr. Handyman Pumpkin Carving Contest on Facebook. Pick your favorite pumpkin and enter to win a $500 Mr. Handyman Gift Certificate! Click on the link to enter Good Luck!

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to do the techniques in our Pumpkin Carving with Power Tools video.

Download Free Pumpkin Carving Templates at the bottom of this post.

At Mr. Handyman, safety comes first and the same goes for using power tools at home. Wear your safety goggles, follow the instructions in the owner's manual for the tool, and make sure that power tools are only used by an adult.

1. Cutting Off a Lid with a Jigsaw

Cutting a Pumpkin Lid with a Jigsaw To cut off the top, simply plunge the blade into the pumpkin at about a 45 degree angle. Work your way around the pumpkin until the lid is off. This technique is pretty simple and you will find that it is a lot faster than using a kitchen knife.

2. Gutting a Pumpkin with a Drill and a Pumpkin Gutter

Using a Pumpkin Gutter and Cordless Drill
  1. Purchase a pumpkin gutter.
  2. Insert gutter into your drill and tighten.
  3. We found that it works best if you move the spinning head in a clockwise motion.
  4. Large pumpkins may clog the head. Simply remove gutter from drill, clean out the pumpkin flesh and start again. Even if you have to clean the head once or twice, this method is much faster than cleaning with a spoon.
  5. If you use a drill to make holes in your pumpkin, the gutter can also be used to go back and clean loose bits caused by the drilling. Your pumpkin will have a nice clean finished look with perfect, unclogged holes.

3. Creating Circular Patterns Using a Drill and Spade Bit

  1. In the video, we made two pumpkins using spade bits.
  2. The first pumpkin was made using a vertical series of holes around the pumpkin.
  3. Take a ruler or tape measure and mark a dot every two inches around your pumpkin at the widest part.
  4. Next, turn your ruler or measuring tape 90 degrees and mark a dot every inch on both sides for each of the dots that run around the circumference. The number of dots will depend on your pumpkin.
  5. Once all the holes are marked, insert a ¾" spade bit into your drill. Drill a ¾" hole in all of the dots around the widest part of your pumpkin.
  6. Next, remove the ¾" spade bit and insert a ⅝" spade bit. With the ⅝" bit, you will drill holes directly above and below each ¾" hole.
  7. You will continue to decrease the bit size incrementally for each hole you step away from the center, so that the largest holes run around the widest part of your pumpkin and the smallest holes are at the top and bottom of your pumpkin.

4. Making Perfectly Circular Eyes with a Drill and Coring Bit

Coring bits are a great way to make perfectly circular eyes. Simply insert the coring bit into your drill, make marks on the pumpkin so that the eyes are spaced evenly. You can also use coring bits in combination with spade bits to make intriguing circular patterns.

5. Using Linoleum Cutters for Fine Detail Work and Tracing

To do fine detail work and to carve intricate designs, linoleum cutters are the perfect tool. Purchase linoleum cutters if you don't already have them in your toolbox. The best bet for making an intricate design is to print out a pattern and then use a thumbtack or other small needle to mark the pattern onto the pumpkin. Go back and use either the blade tool, or the finest v-tip to cut out the outline of your pattern. Once the outline is marked, you can use the larger tips to remove sections of pumpkin skin.

6. Using a Woodworking Chisel to Remove Large Sections of Skin

Large woodworking chisels are great for removing the top layer of skin or for removing larger areas of a design.
  1. Outline your design with a linoleum cutter, knife, or other tool that will remove a small section of pumpkin skin around the outside edge of your design.
  2. Place the tip of the woodworking chisel underneath the skin and push away from the outside edge of your design.

Free Pumpkin Patterns and Templates

Mr. Handyman has put together 12 Pumpkin Patterns to help you make some spooky Jack-o-Lanterns this year. Click the links below to print out a PDF.

Free Pumpkin Carving Stencils Composite