Pumpkin Carving – Tools of the Trade

Pumpkin Carving Tools Title Image

The Proper Tools

Make All the Difference

It is an old saying that the proper tools make a job easier, and it is no different in Pumpkin Carving. The tools do not need to be expensive, just the correct tools for your use. I use a variety of tools for carving My Pumpkins.

  • A collection of Pumpkin Masters Carving Tools (not motorized)
  • Wood Carving Tools
  • Drill Bits (various sizes)

Pumpkin Masters Carving Tools

Pumpkin Masters Carving Tools - Saws    Pumpkin Masters Carving Tools - Scrapers


There are several different sizes of saws both in length of saw blade and in the size of the teeth. For straighter longer cuts, use a saw with a longer blade and larger teeth. For more intricate or curvy areas, use a smaller blade length and smaller teeth.

The key to using the saws is making quick sawing motions. Do not try to use the saws like a knife and cut through the pumpkin. It takes very little pressure, but a lot of back-and-forth sawing motion. I have used these same saws for years.

You can see in my picture above, that I trimmed the top of the saw blade to an angled point. This helps a great deal. Purchase a separate set for children to use and keep the blunt end for safety.


I use the scrapers to add texture to the pumpkin. I have two large scrapers–one with a straight edge and one with a jagged edge. I use the straight edged one to smooth out the inside of the pumpkin.

The poker type scraper is great for deepening creases in a design.

Use the others to scratch at the pumpkin skin. This technique is great for adding an aged or weathered look, grass, or maybe a pattern to a scarecrow’s shirt.

**NOTE: These Pumpkin Masters Carving Tools are readily available at Target, Walmart, grocery stores, and drugstores.

Wood Carving Tools

Power Grip Wood Carving Tools

I have a 5-piece gouge set that includes a flat angle-edge, an almost flat round-edge, a U-shape, a tiny V-shape, and a larger V-shape. These are fantastic for carving and sculpting! I would say that probably 95% of my actual design work is done with this set.

You can also use Linoleum tools and/or Exact-o knife.

Find the Five Piece Power Grip Carving Set at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware

Drill Bits

Drill Bits

Drill Bits are great for punching perfectly round holes into your pumpkin. You do not need to attach it to a drill, just twist it through the pumpkin with your fingers. It is very easy to do. These little multi-packs from the 99-Cents Only Stores and other places, make it easy to have holes of varying sizes.

Now you have the Pumpkin Carving Tools of the Trade.  Upcoming posts will include tips and tricks on designs and patterns, carving, preparation, preservation, and more. Be sure to check back!

What tools do you use for carving pumpkins?

Do you have any tool tips or tricks?

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Pumpkin Carving Contest - Life With Lorelai 2013


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51 Responses to Pumpkin Carving – Tools of the Trade

  1. My sister in law has a big pumpkin carving party every year and the right tools DEFINITELY make all the difference. I’ve seen so many cheap carving tools broken over the years. Once we have ours carved, I will have to submit the pictures for your contest 🙂

    • Robin, I would love to have your pumpkins entered in the contest! I love carving parties…have a great time! 🙂

      Sometimes it is the way a tool is used that breaks it. I’ve many a Pumpkin Master tool broken for being misused. They do not need a lot of pushing and pressure, just a lot of sawing.

  2. I never thought of using drill bits to punch holes in the pumkin to get it started but thats a great idea. We usually carve more than one pumpkin and it can be a lot of work. The wood carving tools are a great idea too!!

  3. Liga Zervena says:

    Wow! Never though of using drill bits o carve a pumpkin! Will have to try it this year! We have all the other tools, they are the best!

  4. OH! I wish I liked carving pumpkins better – you make it sound like such an art! I think it IS an art…and one that is not my forte LOL

  5. Sarah says:

    I love that there are special tools you can get – last time I tried pumpkin carving I just used a knife and spoon – it was a little messy and quite a big disaster lol x

  6. Awww this sounds like so much fun. We usually buy our pumpkins already done. I’ve never carved a pumpkin before. Maybe I need to change that this year. Will tweet the contest. 🙂

  7. Shirley Wood says:

    This is all good information. Thank you for sharing!

  8. adelien says:

    Oh, Lorelai. You are really an amazing pumpkin crafter expert. I do really enjoy all of information about pumpkin.

  9. Pam W says:

    I am supposed to be entering a pumpkin carving contest this year and I am a little worried. My pumpkins always turn out badly.

  10. This looks so cool. This is something that my older kids could really get into.

    • If you stick with the Pumpkin Master saws…your younger ones can do it too! Or there are even some punch type things you can use as well…watch for more! 🙂 My kids have been carving pumpkins since they were 5-years old.

  11. Becca says:

    Wow! I have never used all of that to carve a pumpkin…we always just use a knife and sometimes a drill if we are feeling really “fancy” lol

  12. Wow, I had no idea there were so many tools and so many possibilities! I’m not quite ready for it yet though 🙂 I sure can’t wait to see how yours turn out though!

  13. Wow, I really want to see what you make now!

  14. Cindy Howell says:

    My husband is the pumpkin carver in our family. I don’t think he’s ever thought about using power tools. I’ll have to share this with him. Thanks!

  15. Rebekah says:

    The drill bit tip is great!! I’m not a pumpkin carver, but now I know what I need! 🙂

  16. Jen says:

    I never thought of drill bits! I will be sharing our masterpiece. My husband won in 2008 for his Obama pumpkin. 😉 It was eerily just like the Pres.

  17. Carli says:

    We have one of those pumpkin electric saws. Its not for precision but it does get the job done fast! The last couple years we have just been painting on our pumpkins because carving seems like a huge mess with a toddler, but this year he is 4…maybe we should try it!

  18. And to think I’ve been doing it with a stupid steak knife all these years! Great, great GREAT tips!

  19. Are you going to teach me how to use those carving tools? I can see myself carving my fingers or just making my pumpkin a hot mess. These are pretty cool ideas. I would never have thought to add texture of a shirt. Sheesh. I’ve got lots to learn!

  20. Bonnie Frank says:

    I never knew there were all of those tools! I just bought the $4.99 kit every year and used that…explains a lot!

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  22. Chrissy says:

    Once again…why are you so awesome! Now if my husband complains there is pumpkin on his tools, I’m going to blame you…LOL! Seriously, that makes sense because those regular teeny-tiny pumpkin carving tools are crappy.

    • Oh, those teeny tiny saws have there use! The key to using them is quick sawing motion instead of heavy hand cutting. They are not knives and that is the biggest mistake people make in using them. Once you get the hang of SAWING with them, you will find it doesn’t take a hole lot of pressure to get the job done (no more breaking your saws), and that they are pretty handy too. 🙂

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