Monday, October 29, 2012

How to Carve a Pumpkin From Your Own Picture

I don't know about you, but I love carving pumpkins... I always get really excited this time of year to make new creations. In year's past, I've only ever tried carving from stencils I've found online. 
One of my all time favorites being Jack from the Nightmare Before Christmas.

This year I wanted to try something unique and personal. I thought it would be fun to try to put one of my own pictures on a pumpkin. Since I was carving pumpkins with my niece and nephew, I decided to try out carving a picture of their dog, the sweet Catahoula/Australian Shepard mix Dasha. I snapped pictures of the process to share with you! (Pardon my outdated version of Photoshop, haven't had the time/money to upgrade!)

1. To start out, choose a picture of your subject where you can really see their whole face. Some faces might work better as a profile, or slightly to the side. I chose this shot of Dasha... She always looks like she's deep in thought...

2. Next, crop around your subject's face. Be sure not to crop in too close, but don't leave in part of the photo you don't need. I made sure to crop just high enough to include the full outline of the top of her head, just low enough to get a little extra room below her nose, and just enough on the sides to include her ears.

3. Next, use the levels to bump up the contrast. This step is important to really outline the  details in the face. I made the shadows darker and brightened up the midtones.

4. Change the picture to black and white.

5. Next, I used the cutout tool under the filters tab. This step will make your picture look like a cartoon, and will make it much easier for you to look at the picture as a bunch of shapes to cut out instead just seeing your subject.

6. Print out a full page copy of your picture. Attach it to your pumpkin with either tooth pics, or tape. Make sure to smooth the picture over the pumpkin as much as possible. If part of the picture need to be folded over to fit, try as much as possible to make it parts of the picture that don't include the face.

7. Next, use a toothpick, or a pen, or if you want to buy one of those pumpkin carving kits, they include a tool for this step. Carefully poke holes through the paper onto the pumpkin. I decided to cut out the large white parts of this picture, to take the skin off of the parts that are gray, and leave the darker areas alone. When you're planning where to cut, make sure you are thinking about the big picture. If you carve too much, the whole picture will fall out. Check out this website for extra tips.

8. I wanted to cut an outline around Dasha's face, but made sure to leave enough attached to the rest of the pumpkin so the face wouldn't fall out. I made myself basic outlines around where I wanted to take the skin off. When I took the paper stencil off, I kept the picture next to me as a reference. To cut off the skin, simply make a cut, and stick your knife underneath the skin and peel. Be careful not to cut too deep into the skin!

Here's the final product!

Dasha was happy with her pumpkin. :)

Try to carve one of your own pictures this halloween! Be creative!

<3 Lauren

Linking up with the Inspired Room's Favorite Fall Projects