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How to Carve a Pumpkin with a Cordless Drill

If you’re looking for new ideas when carving jack-o-lanterns this year, why not consider a new technique altogether: drilling the pumpkins? Carving pumpkins with a knife or other carving tool takes time, and can sometimes seem too time consuming, especially if you’re planning homemade Halloween costumes or throwing a party. Drilling takes a bit of planing but requires less time to execute. While it definitely takes some dexterity, a good dose of common sense, and care — as any project that requires use of a cordless drill does — drilling a pumpkin is completely safe. You don’t even have to be a drill maven to get started with this technique, which works well for abstract patterns and precision cuts.

Aside from a drill, you’ll need a variety of drill bits so that you can make holes of different sizes, such as 3/16, 5/16 and 7/16, and a permanent marker. Pick these up at your local hardware store.Templates or patterns give you ideas for drill-carved designs and make it so much easier to get started with this method. You’ll also need a knife so that you can saw off the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the flesh inside.

The basic technique is as follows, and can be adapted to any pattern. First, apply your pattern to the pumpkin by tracing or stenciling holes where you want to drill. If you’re freehanding a pattern, such as stars or flowers, apply one dot for each hole you intend to drill, using a marker. Vary your dot size; smaller dots for a smaller drill bit, and larger circles for a larger drill bit. Second, begin drilling with the pumpkin on a level surface. Hold the drill up to the pumpkin skin, then start the cordless drill and push in to the pumpkin. Drill far enough in to pierce the skin and flesh.

Pull the drill out to reveal a hole. Third, wipe off the bits of pumpkin skin and flesh with a fingernail. Fourth, cut a hole at the top of the pumpkin using your knife. Fifth, scoop out the flesh and seeds. Sixth, step back and enjoy your pumpkin!


Simple flowers require one large hole and five to six smaller holes surrounding. If you prefer abstract designs, create a series of holes that follow the pumpkin ribs or cascade all around its exterior. The more holes you create, the more light the pumpkin emits.

You can also take a practical approach and turn your pumpkin into a treat holder for lollipops or other stick candies. This is great if you’re unavailable Halloween night but want to leave treats nonetheless.

Don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting! On Halloween, you’ll need either a candle or glow sticks to illuminate your pumpkin and show off its lovely carving.

Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys making DIY decorations with autumn leaves. Read her work at artroommelody.com.

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