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Here’s a no-mess alternative to disposable real pumpkins with their icky innards. Carve designs in these pumpkin look-alikes and display them year after year.
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Download and print the carving pattern of your choice. Make two copies -- one to use as a pattern and another for reference while you cut. Then trim the paper to within 1 inch of the design. Use painter’s tape to attach the pattern to the pumpkin.
Cutting away the surplus paper makes the design easier to wrap tight against the curved side of the pumpkin.
Unplug the rotary tool and insert a fine-tip engraving bit. Plug in the tool and turn it to a low setting. As you press the paper tight against the pumpkin, cut through the paper to lightly score the pumpkin surface. After you trace the entire design, remove the pattern. If bits of the paper become lodged in the pumpkin, remove them with tweezers before continuing.
Another way to transfer a design before using a Dremel rotary tool to carve the design is to pass the point of a pin through the paper around the pattern.
If you plan to cut away just the surface of the pumpkin, unplug the tool and insert a grinding bit. Set the tool to turn at a medium speed and grind away only the surface inside the waste areas of the pattern. Cut just deep enough to remove the surface layer.
If you plan to cut completely through the pumpkin, unplug the tool and install a multipurpose cutting bit. Leave at least 5/8 inch of the bit exposed. With the tool set to a medium speed and the bit perpendicular to the pumpkin surface, follow the score lines to cut through the entire thickness. Continue cutting until the waste material comes free. You may need cutting tools of different diameters for fine details.
Always cut on the waste side of the score marks to keep any cutting errors from showing.
Unplug the tool and insert the grinding bit. Working at medium speed, smooth any frayed edges left by the cutting tool.
On the bottom of the pumpkin, cut a hole large enough to insert the LED candle of your choice. Vacuum and wipe away the carving dust.
Never use any candle with an open flame inside any faux pumpkin.
Insert an LED candle in the base and display your completed pumpkin. Because these use battery-powered candles, they’re safe to light indoors.