Use a pumpkin tool or knife to cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. Use an ice-cream scooper to scrape out all the guts from inside the pumpkin. Cutting a hole in the bottom versus the top leaves you with a clear canvas to work with. This pumpkin will have lots of design elements so you don’t want a lid getting in the way.
For this project you will be etching at different depths to achieve a 3-dimensional, layered finish. Use different colored dry-erase markers to sketch your design. Each color will signify a different depth; superficial, medium and all the way through. Assign a depth to each color.
Use the assigned colors to sketch your tiki design. Start with a big open mouth and add some teeth; it’s typical to see tiki designs with teeth that run all the way around the mouth. Draw a set of eyes, a nose, eyebrows and any other design elements you want. There are tons of tiki variations and styles; refer to the Internet to get inspired and gather ideas. The great part about making a tiki design is that there is no wrong way to create it.
Use a rotary tool to etch the design. You can use a razor blade or chisel, but a rotary tool is a quicker and more effective. Start by etching the superficial (skin) layer first (which is indicated by red in our design). Pass the rotary tool lightly over this color removing about a 1/4 inch or just the outer layer of the pumpkin's skin.
Next, apply more pressure and etch the deeper layer (which in our design is indicated by green). The deeper layer should only go about a 1/2 inch deep. Take your time and etch this layer in stages so you don’t run the risk of breaking through the pumpkin. Even though these two layers look very similar, when the pumpkin is lit at night the deeper depths will glow more brightly than the others.
The third level, indicated with the color blue, will be the sections that get cut all the way through. Use a drill or any long, sharp tool to cut holes for the eyes, nostrils and detailing around the face.
Candles need air in order to burn and since most of this design is etched instead of cut, you’ll need to make ventilation holes. Turn the pumpkin around and cut one hole at the bottom to let cool air in and another at the top to let hot air out. This will allow the candle to breath and your pumpkin to shine brightly. Use more than one candle for best impact.
This project was designed and sculpted by Tom Nardone, founder of www.ExtremePumpkins.com and author of the national bestseller, Extreme Pumpkins.