Okay. You’re all done with your carving. Now how can you make it last? Bad news. You can’t. In fact, it’s already begun to deteriorate. One might make the assumption, “Hey, maybe my carving will start to shrivel and add even more character to the face…like those shriveled apple faces and stuff like that.” Nope. I’m afraid not. The drying process that has started in your carving will cause the details of the face to simply shrink away. It’s pretty safe to say that right now your pumpkin looks the best it will ever look. You will certainly notice a difference in 24 hours. However, if you’re not ready to display it yet, there are ways you can attempt to prolong the current appearance of your pumpkin. In addition to the following, avoid handling the carved surface of the pumpkin with your bare hands as much as possible.
Technique Numer One – TAKE A PHOTO
By far the best and most essential way to preserve your creation. Take some good photos. Notice I didn’t say “poor photos”. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to acquaint yourself with some amateur photography techniques and get the best photo you can. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Avoid using a direct flash. The bright light will wash out all your contrast. A flash that can be directed to bounce of a wall or ceiling is better.
- When photographing outside, choose to do so in the early morning or later evening. The softer light makes for a better photo.
- Use a tripod and maybe even the timer function.
- Photograph your pumpkin with different lighting arrangements to find the best one.
- Selectively directing a lamp or two may be better than regular room lighting.
- If you light the inside of your pumpkin, use a low watt lamp bulb rather than a candle or nightlight.
Technique Number Two – REFRIGERATE YOUR PUMPKIN
Usually, a person does not have extra room in the ‘frig for a pumpkin. But, if you want to preserve your actual carving, this is the best way. Slip a garbage bag around your pumpkin and tie it off. Be careful not to allow something to press against your carving in the refrigerator and leave an unsightly bruise. To prevent drying, soak a towel in clean water and drape over the carved portion. Take it out and display it, but always place it back in the refrigerator. DO NOT FREEZE YOUR PUMPKIN!
Technique Number Three – STAY COOL
No room in the ‘frig? Keep it cool some other way. You should still keep it in a bag to prevent drying. Maybe the climate is cool enough where you live that you could simply bag it and place it outside. Don’t let it freeze though. If it’s not cool enough outside, ice it down in a large tub….or line the inside with a garbage bag (if you hollowed it out) and fill the bag with ice.
Those are pretty much the only techniques I would recommend. I would hesitate to apply anything to the carved surface other than clean water as it will possibly alter the look of the surface in a negative way. There are plenty of other preserving suggestions on the web. Just remember that most you will find are generally suggested for the 2-dimensional cutout jack-o-lanterns and may not be ideal for this type.
After your pumpkin has been displayed for a few hours and you notice some drying, you can temporarily revive it by completely submerging it in chilled water for a couple of hours. I put a tiny bit of bleach in the water, mainly to make sure its not contaminated.
Well, that’s about it. I will continue to update this tutorial to answer particular questions people have or as I remember things I have missed.