Pumpkin carving has come onto the scene in a big way over the past few years. Scary and sweet scenes, portraits, and landscapes have been carved into the walls of everyone’s favorite fall gourd. If you’ve been tempted to try carving a design on your Halloween pumpkin but weren’t sure if those kits in the stores were any good, we’ve tested three to find out if they’re worth replacing Jack.
The first carving kit tested was the ‘Pumpkin Masters Kids’. While this kit did not specify an age range, the images and method of carving does look like it’s designed for children’s usage.
There are four designs to choose from and it uses a connect-the-dots style for cutting the image out. The instructions say for the pumpkin to be held in your lap when cutting in order to keep the saw at an angle that prevents breaking although there are some difficulties that make the pumpkin carving process unsuitable for some kids.
The tools provided for this kit are small which will delay the cleaning process of the pumpkin and cutting the pumpkin using the tools can prolong this fairly simple task to up to two hours. Some exactness in shape was lost due to the large size of the dots on the pattern but the scene achieved was mostly good and the plastic eye inserts are a sturdy plastic and somewhat flexible.
Overall, the tools were sturdy and maintaining grip were not an issue. The kit is inexpensive at $4 at Target stores which makes for a cheap kit with some inherent problems for adults purchasing the kit for themselves but perfect for children who want to carve with their loved ones.
The second kit evaluated was the Pumpkin Pro 20-piece Family Carving Kit. It comes with twelve stencils that range in skill from moderate to difficult, and enough carving tools for two people to work on their own pumpkin at the same time.
The stencils allow it to be traced around the punch-out pieces on the pumpkin and for it to be able to cut out the shapes to make a design. The kit provides two markers to trace with although the ink can bleed into the pumpkin.
Handles on the tools are fit for adult hands and the Colossal Carver even has a rubber grip for the thumb and forefinger. This kit was the easiest to use of the three we tested and priced under $10 which made for the best carving kit that allowed for all ages to really get into the craft.
The third kit tested was the Pumpkin Masters Pumpkin Carving Kit. The skill level for these scenes is from moderate to difficult. Even for the more skilled pumpkin carvers, the kit has a major design flaw which is the handle size of the tools.
The starter saw and scraper scoop in this set are the same size as the ones provided in the kid’s kit. It set additionally comes with a utility saw and a detail saw, which are even smaller than the starter saw.
All the saws are uncomfortable to use in general and the booklet does not tell you when to use which saw. You will need to use your best judgment and some of creativity to understand which tool can do the job. The method used for these upgrade designs is to wet the pattern, lay it on the pumpkin surface, secure the wet paper pattern on the pumpkin with plastic wrap, then cut through both layers into the pumpkin.
The plastic and wet paper shred as cut, so there is some problem with the exactness of the line pattern as you go.
The image desired was achieved but the small tools and method of pattern transfer made it tedious and troublesome work. The pattern was not reusable but inexpensive running at $4 for this kit.
One minor dilemma is that none of the kits tested describe what size pumpkin to use or how wide to make the opening for cleaning it out however with a medium size pumpkin, they had solid results.
The openings made were six inches in diameter. Both Pumpkin Masters kits said to scrape the inside of the wall where the cutting would be done to within one inch thickness but it was not possible to tell about when that was achieved.
It was fun to see the end results of the images achieved. Some of the carving was not so perfect, but once lit from within, in the dark, it was unnoticeable.
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