Before beginning work on your Ragdoll carved pumpkin, make sure you have your workspace prepped. Covering tables or floors with something easily washed or discarded, like a tarp or layers of newspaper, will keep your pumpkin-carving space tidy. In addition to carving tools, we keep a number of bowls nearby to hold pumpkin seeds (for toasting) and pumpkin scraps (for discarding). We also like to wash our pumpkin in soapy water and dry it thoroughly before carving, as this slows the rate of mold growth.
1. Cover your workspace with a layer of newspapers and set your pumpkin over it. Carve into the pumpkin's underside, cutting out a circle large enough to easily fit your hand and arm through. Reach in and remove the pumpkin guts with a metal scoop.
2. Thin out the side of the pumpkin you're planning to carve by scouring its side with a scraping tool; scrape until the side of the pumpkin is about 1" thick. Tape your printed Ragdoll pattern to the side of the pumpkin, and poke holes along the stencil lines into the pumpkin with a needle tool or wooden skewer.
3. Remove the pattern and refer to it to find areas surrounded by dotted lines. Etch those areas by using a gouge to scrape off the pumpkin's top layer of skin; scrape deeply enough to reveal the light-orange layer underneath, but take care not the puncture the pumpkin wall.
4. Refer to the pattern to find areas surrounded by solid lines. Carve those areas by using a woodcutting or specialty pumpkin-carving knife to cut completely through the pumpkin wall. Follow along the needle-hole guidelines created in Step 2, sawing slowly and gently along the holes.
5. Discard excess pumpkin pieces. Light up your Ragdoll design by placing a battery-operated candle inside the pumpkin cavity.