Top Tips on How to Design and Carve the Perfect Pumpkin

OK, so you may think this might be a little outside of the norm for our bi-monthly blogs yet, in fact, is very relevant to architectural home design.

Let’s take a closer look.

When our clients at Borelli Architecture in Truckee and Lake Tahoe seek our professional assistance to design a mountain home or embark on an extensive remodel, the first thing that we review is the space and/or existing structure.  From that observation, the creativity begins.

One of the most important parts of the design is identifying what our clients’ have in mind.  Are they looking for an architect to design a mountain home or lakeside estate?  If so, it’s critical that we work with our clients’ vision to ensure the end product is exactly what they had in mind.

Get the idea yet?  Here in the Borelli household where I am a professional architect that designs homes in the Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and West Shore regions and my wife Kelly is an interior designer based in Incline Village, you can imagine the process we go through every year when we commence on pumpkin carving.

To spare you the relentless details, I’ve captured a great list on top tips on how to design and carve a pumpkin from a website entitled OrganicAthority.com.

We thank them in advance for their insight and research and will now share that intel with you:

Choose a Great Pumpkin

  1. Bigger pumpkins are easier to carve, but before you grab the largest specimen, inspect the rind.
  2. A lighter color means softer flesh that’s easier to carve in detail.
  3. Any bruises, cuts or soft spots can mean the pumpkin’s already started rotting — a bad sign if you want it to last more than a few days.
  4. Give your pumpkin a lift. If it’s heavy, it’ll probably have thicker flesh. It should feel somewhat light, meaning it’s nice and hollow inside.

Select Your Tools

  1. You’re only as good as your carving tool. A boning knife — sharp, thin and pointed — is a good choice for carving small details.
  2. For cutting out the lid, you might want a larger carving knife or even a serrated knife.
  3. If you’re carving with kids, don’t just hand them a deadly weapon and let them start hacking away with it. Pick up a pumpkin carving set that includes a safety knife designed for small hands. Your health insurance provider will thank you.

Gut the Gourd

  1. Here comes another of Halloween’s greatest moments: Reaching inside a pumpkin and pulling out a handful of gooey guts and slimy seeds. But wait! Don’t just throw that away. Rinse the seeds and toast them on a baking sheet. Sprinkled with seasonings, they’re a perfect snack.
  2. Scrape the inside of the pumpkin completely to expose the light-colored flesh, which reflects more light.
  3. You can use a large spoon or ice cream scoop for scraping — or if you’re feeling daring, try an electric mixer on medium-low speed.

Design Your Masterpiece

  1. If you’re going for high art, print or draw your design on paper first. Then lightly trace the design through the paper and onto the pumpkin with the tip of your knife.
  2. For a more extemporaneous approach, sketch your design directly onto the pumpkin with a dry-erase or water-based marker.

Keep the Flame

  1. It can be surprisingly hard to keep a candle lit inside a dank gourd. Make sure you provide enough oxygen to feed the flame by leaving the lid ajar (cut it at a steep angle to help with this) and by cutting “ears” or air holes in the sides and back of the pumpkin.
  2. Avoid a pumpkin inferno by placing a tea light inside a pint glass.
  3. Want to keep your Jack indoors? Sprinkle his insides with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, and he’ll double as an autumn air freshener.

 Happy Carving!  And if want to share your masterpiece with Kelly and me, we’d love to see it!  Just send along an email to jim@borelliarchitecture.com!

James P. Borelli
Borelli Architecture
Truckee / Lake Tahoe


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