Seeking non-cheesy pumpkin carving stencils
October 15, 2015 11:23 AM   Subscribe

We're making a jack-o-lantern this year, and would like to find some stencils for designs. Most of what I'm finding online is from homemaking magazines and isn't to my taste.

Taste considerations: We're into hipster graphic design, American and Asian pop art, tattoos, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and other "high art". We have some mild interests in geek culture but it's not really prevalent. I'd prefer something more along traditional spooky themes (especially cats) rather than pop culture or geek culture. So far, everything I've found that is even remotely interesting is on this Pinterest board.

As far as difficulty level, we have no artistic skills but one of us is detail-oriented and we have a Dremel pumpkin carving tool.
posted by matildaben to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You can easily turn any image into a stencil by putting it into Photoshop or GIMP, mucking around with curves and contrast until you find something that looks right, and then forcing it into 2 color black and white posterization. Print it out and use an exacto knife to cut away the negative space.

I have zero technical photoshop skills and I've done this a bunch (just with trial and error) to make stencils for t-shirts.

The simpler the image the easier it'll be but it also works great for things as detailed as Saul Bellow's face.
posted by phunniemee at 11:48 AM on October 15, 2015

Try Google image search with your interest areas and the word "stencil"

Like hipster stencil or
Art Deco stencil

Yeah, I realize that sounds obvious, but if you use "pumpkin" or "jackolantern" it really limits your search to the cheesy stuff you're trying to avoid.
posted by slipthought at 11:56 AM on October 15, 2015

I like some of these guys.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:58 AM on October 15, 2015

I did a post with collections of stencils a few years back. Some of the links are dead, but others are still good. All Spookmaster stencils are free through today, so look at those first.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:30 PM on October 15, 2015

These might be of interest. The site provides downloadable stencils of the designs shown. These are more pretty than spooky, for the most part, though.
posted by reren at 12:30 PM on October 15, 2015

Print whatever stencil you decide on. Tape it to your pumpkin. Use something sharp and pointy like a pencil to prick tiny dots along the outlines of your image through the skin of the pumpkin. Then you can remove the stencil & carve away. Sometimes I fill in the outline with sharpie marker or label which portions will be cut out as well.
posted by rubster at 3:12 PM on October 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add - this can be done before the pumpkin is cut open and emptied, so you can do it on your lap while watching TV or something.
posted by rubster at 3:14 PM on October 15, 2015

There was a post for free patterns on a few days ago.

Hundreds of Pumpkin Carving Patterns
posted by stray thoughts at 6:56 PM on October 15, 2015

The word "silhouette" is your friend. Most things labeled as silhouettes should be very usable as stencils with little to no modification and there are a lot more images tagged as silhouettes than there are tagged specifically as stencil templates.
posted by metaphorever at 6:29 AM on October 16, 2015

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