How to Carve a Mandala Pumpkin


Like many people, I’m a big fan of Indian hand-blocked prints, and I wanted to try a pumpkin inspired by those designs. The best thing about this particular pumpkin idea is that it looks complicated, but it’s one of the easiest pumpkins to carve and requires no pattern. Like cutting paper snowflakes, this pumpkin unfolds its unique pattern by simply building symmetrically around a center using only a handful of shapes: dots, squiggles, wishbones, pointed ovals and the occasional diamond.

Before carving, prep your pumpkin and gather your tools. For more helpful tips on carving, see the article, “How To Carve A Pumpkin.” Once your pumpkin is ready, grab your linoleum cutter and follow this simple steps:

Step 1: Carve a small shape for the center. For this pumpkin I chose to start with a pointed oval.

Step 2: Add four shapes symmetrically around the center. This begins the framework for building the medallion. Choose one shape–I chose a wishbone–and add four of them around the center shape. Place them around the shape as if they were on compass bearings, either on North, South, East and West or, as I chose to here, NW, SW, NE and SE. Make sure to leave breathing room between these shapes.

Step 3: Fill the gaps with another shape After placing the shapes in Step 2, you should have four gaps, either at N, S, E and W or at NW, SE, NE and SE. Choose a new shape and add in the gaps. In my case, I added four pointed ovals at N, S, E, and W.

Step 4: Continue to build and layer, adding shapes symmetrically. You don’t always have to add four shapes, and you don’t always have to add the same things to all four sides, but you should always use symmetry. Feel free to add squiggles and lines as well. Also keep in mind the overall shape you want to have in the end and build in that direction. In my case, I wanted a large diamond, so first I built my up and down axis to get my height. I progressed something like this:

Once I had my full height, I started building outward, like this:

Step 5: Decorate the outer edge. Once I had the basic shape, it was just a few last flourishes around the edges and I was done.

Step 6: Display and enjoy!

For more tips on preserving and displaying pumpkins, see the article, “How To Carve A Pumpkin.”

If you decide to try this technique, I hope you drop me a line and let me know.

Love, Angela



4 responses to “How to Carve a Mandala Pumpkin”

  1. Michele Avatar

    Simply stunning!! Truly beautiful!!

  2. Angela, this is really amazing. I love this and this is more up my alley than the traditional jack-o-lantern look. What a great spin on carving.All of these ideas are wonderfully detailed with great photos and easy to follow step by steps. LOVE IT!!!

  3. This is GORGEOUS! I’ll be linking to this!

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