How to Carve a Pumpkin with a Hot Knife

The calendar still says Summer, but the past few days have been perfectly Fall like – beautiful, clear crisp days, chilly nights, and pumpkins showing up at my local farm stands and the supermarket.   I love pumpkins; they are one of my favorite things.   Their bright orange color is so warm and cheery.  I usually don’t carve pumpkins until the end of October to greet the Trick-or-Treaters for Halloween, but this year, I received a few foam pumpkins from Michaels to personalize.  Since they are foam pumpkins – they will last forever.

Last week, I showed you how I carved one of the pumpkins into a Pumpkin Purse.  Today I want to show you how I carved the largest one with a Hot Knife.

Carve a Pumpkin

I carved my house number. Placed on a bed of leaves on an urn or a planter, it’s a nice way to decorate the outside of your house for the season.

You can’t place a lit candle in foam pumpkins, but you can use the battery operated tea-lights or candles to add a night time glow.

Carve a Pumpkin with an address using a hot knife

How To Carve a Pumpkin with a Hot Knife


supplies needed:

Foam Pumpkin
Hot Knife
Computer printout of your address numbers.  I fit my numbers into a 6” wide and 4 1/4” tall  square.  I used the font Georgia.


1.Create your address on your Word Processor and print out.  Center the number printout on the front of the pumpkin.  Secure on pumpkin with tape.

2. Use the tip of a needle to punch holes right along the outer edges of the numbers.


3. Remove the paper to reveal the outline of each number.


4. Plug in Hot Knife and let it get hot. It will take a few minutes.  Once heated, place the tip of the Hot Knife along one number to start cutting following the dotted lines.


This photo shows the angle the Hot Knife goes into the pumpkin.


The Hot Knife comes with a metal stand. Use masking tape to secure the stand to a protected work surface. (I tape it to a rubber mat I have on my work table.) This way it won’t move when you place the hot Hot Knife to rest on it.

How to carve a pumpkin with a hot knife

Carefully screw in the knife blade. Do not touch the knife blade or metal parts when the knife it heated. It gets hot.

Do not apply excess pressure to the Hot Knife point. Let the heat from the tool do the cutting.

The tight curves in a design are the hardest to cut. If you have a piece of foam board, practice on that before you start to carve your pumpkin.

  • Use long fluid motions for straight lines.
  • Draw the knife out so only the tip is in the pumpkin as you go around curved areas.
  • Bring the blade all the way out and place back in to cut around corners.
  • Once numbers or your design is cut out, use a nail file or piece of sandpaper to smooth the cut edges on the pumpkin.



For more outdoor Fall decorating ideas, check out the Fall Ya’all Link Party over at Southern Hospitality.






  1. says

    I should pick one of those knives up. I have several of those pumpkins and I love the idea of the house numbers being cut out. Thanks for all the tips- xo Diana

  2. says

    Good idea on the foam pumpkin and battery operated candles! I always see great carving ideas but was never interested in putting that much effort into a pumpkin that would start rotting in a matter of days ;)

  3. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Oh I love this one. Your numbers show up black….. did you put some black fabric or paper behind them for the photo?

    Do you remember how much this large pumpkin cost and the hot knife?

    • says

      Hi Sheryl – I didn’t put anything behind the numbers. I chose a thinner font so that you would not see into the pumpkin. Larger cuts would expose the interior more and you would see the light interior. The large pumpkin is around $20. If you use a Michaels coupons you can get it at least 40% off. The hot knife runs around $20

  4. Kitty says

    What would you substitute for a hot knife? I love the project, but don’t want to buy one.


    • says

      Hi Kitty – You could use the little pumpkin carving knives with the orange handles they sell or an X-Acto knife – which is a nice craft knife that you can change the blades on. They sell many different style of blades – long, thin, curved etc. You can find any of these knives at your craft store.

  5. Sheryll & Critters. says

    Thank you for telling me about the prices. I could not for the life of me find one of those foam pumpkins. I must be looking in the wrong places. I guess I better be satisfied with the two I got years ago that are smaller, hard plastic for carrying candy and have the black faces already painted on them. I usually just put some rocks in those and set them outside my front door. I have been spending money the past few months and not saved any, so I need to behave myself now. lol. I will be very sad if I lose my home for not paying the property taxes, so save I must.

  6. says

    I love the way your pumpkin looks with your house number! I just picked up two 9″ pumpkins (and orange and black one) from Michaels today for $5.99, and also a hot knife, which I’ve never used before, so your tutorial is very helpful! Thank you for sharing!


  1. […] A Carved House Number Pumpkin is easy to create with a Hot Knife.  When placed on a pedestal, a pumpkin goes upscale. […]

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