How to Carve a Miniature Pumpkin

Miniature Pumpkins make very cute accents for Halloween!
Miniature Pumpkins make very cute accents for Halloween! That’s a cinderella pumpkin on the left, and a sugar pumpkin, more round in shape, on the right.

A Garden For All: How to carve a miniature pumpkin 

Here is a very cute idea for Hallowe’en. Several carved miniature pumpkins can be grouped to make a nice table arrangement or centerpiece. If you are having a sit-down dinner, put one at each place setting on the dining table for a take-home gift. It can make a really cute hostess gift too!

The beauty of this project, besides the fact that it is so cute, is that there is very little mess to contend with afterwards, AND you won’t mind spending a whole three minutes sorting out the pumpkin seeds to roast either. ;o)

For this experiment, I worked with a miniature Cinderella pumpkin (because it looks short and squat like her chariot) and a wee sugar pumpkin which is more round in shape.

Miniature Garden Ideas for Halloween
Miniature Garden Ideas for Halloween

Here’s what you will need:

– A miniature pumpkin
– A sharp knife
– A serrated grapefruit knife
– An Exacto knife or similar
– Thin marker
– A teaspoon
– A tealight, battery operated preferably

Carving a miniature pumpkin it almost like carving a big one – but different. ;o) There is little room for error (literally), because the only way to grip the pumpkin is to hold the pumpkin in your hand and brace it against your body. You need total control over the sharp knife while carving – or it will be a real-life Halloween horror! Read through all the directions first.

*This project is not for young kids. Please be careful with any sharp knife.* 

First a few words about carving:

Hold the pumpkin firmly at all times. Brace it against your body for more control but wear a heavy apron, a thick garden jacket or a several layered rags because if the knife slips, you will cut yourself and your clothes. (This lesson was learned the hard way, in first year wood studio class at art college, with a pair of brand new jeans.)

When carving the tiny pumpkins, the blade will get “stuck” in the pumpkin’s flesh and you may have to apply more pressure to move it forward. When the pumpkin suddenly releases the blade after enough pressure is applied, it will move fast and this is where you can get hurt. Use a leather glove on the hand that is holding the pumpkin to help protect yourself.

Always, always be mindful of the “line of cut” when using any sharp tool. Whether it is huge and moving, like a chainsaw, or small and sharp, like an Exacto knife, you still can do some serious damage if you are not paying attention to where the blade might end up. The “line of cut” is the line where the blade is going to go, but also beware where the blade may go when it slips by accident. Keep your hands and fingers of the opposite hand on the backside of the pumpkin, away from the line of cut.

Keep the pumpkin's face simple - there is just enough room for fun!
Keep the pumpkin’s face simple – there is just enough room for fun!


1. Cut the top lid from the pumpkin. Make the angle of the cut slope toward the center so the lid doesn’t fall down inside. Trim around the inside edge to make it easier to get the seeds out.

2. Empty the guts with the teaspoon.

3. Outline your face with a marker or wing it. It’s a small area so keep the design simple for more impact.

Make a hole in the bottom of the mini pumpkin for the fake tealight.
Make a hole in the bottom of the mini pumpkin for the fake tealight.

4. Get your tealight, whether it’s electric or not, and hold the tealight and the pumpkin bottom to bottom, and trace around it onto the bottom of the pumpkin. Cut out the hole and try not to make it any bigger than it needs to be. The pumpkin will shrink once it starts to dry out, and it won’t be able to hold the tea light where you want it.

Raise or lower the fake tealight to light the face where you want it.
Raise or lower the fake tealight to light the face where you want it.

Miniature Garden Center

5. Depending upon the size of the pumpkin, the tealight can be raised or lowered to get the maximum light through the face. The whole pumpkin can sit on the tealight which may be a good idea for placing it on your wood surfaces, otherwise be sure to use a small saucer or lid to protect the wood from the moisture in the pumpkin.

6. Have a Happy Hallowe’en!!

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Way too cute Halloween idea - for centerpieces, place holders or a hostess gift!
Way too cute Halloween idea – for centerpieces, place holders or as a hostess gift.

9 thoughts on “How to Carve a Miniature Pumpkin

  1. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing Janit 😀


  2. I love this idea, thanks so much!


  3. Dianne Redman 20/10/2009 — 6:41 pm

    Will have to try it for a Halloween tea I’m Going to.


  4. These are adorable and they make a lot less mess than the big ones! I have just found your blog and am really enjoying it.


  5. Cathi Koenig 26/10/2018 — 8:53 pm

    I have two that are just barely starting to go bad and was going to throw them. But now I’ll try to carve then. LOVE the idea of resting them on a votive !!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You might consider cut resistant/proof gloves and Exacto type knives.

    When I commented on miniature pumpkins earlier after seeing your small fake pumpkins, was just goofing, but see you are fooling with some small real ones, but not as tiny as the fake ones in the scenes.


  7. Could have used Z scale figures so they looked like ants compared to the pumpkin.

    The giant pumpkin thing reminded me of a program I saw a few years ago on educational tv about people dedicated to growing massive pumpkins for competitions. Spoke of all the care the pumpkins got, special, secret fertilizer formulas, special seed and even some vandalizing others’ gardens.


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