Hobbit Pumpkin with No Hobbits

My first real crafty project since Pusheen! This wasn’t a good year for pumpkins, but I still managed to find a decently sized one to carve two weeks ago. Nothing like an intense pumpkin carving session to cheer me up!

The One Ring




· The One Ring: My own. I used these two pictures for help with angle and shading.
· Smaug: Essentially the Dragon Flight pattern from Zombie Pumpkins!, or what I could see of the pattern without buying it.
· Gandalf: Slightly simplified version of the carving by Noel Dickover (of Fantasy Pumpkins fame in Centreville, Virginia) in 2008 of Gandalf from the Mines of Moria.
As always, I drew all patterns onto my pumpkin freehand. No stencils.

· basic pumpkin carving knife (like the one here–just the knife. I don’t have a scoop. Special scoops for pumpkins are silly.)
· basic paring knife (like the one here)
· a sewing needle for the small bits like the lettering on the One Ring (I have a hunch that a felting needle might work slightly better because felting needles are square, not round. But a sewing needle works just fine.)

· The One Ring: 1 hr to draw, 7.5 hr to carve
· Smaug: about 1 hr total to draw and carve
· Gandalf: 0.5 hr to draw (I kept drawing Gandalf too big for the pumpkin and having to start over!), 1.5 hr to carve
Total: Way more than my workload could afford.

Trippy lighting!



I ended up having to magnify the inscription on the One Ring to be able to make the lettering visible, so the lettering is proportionally too big for the ring. I originally planned to cut the lettering through completely so that the inscription would really glow, but my pumpkin was too thick for me to feasibly do so without spending an (even more) inordinate amount of time carving it. I still managed to carve the lettering about an inch deep.

I actually made a mistake in the lettering on the One Ring. I initially carved an extra half of the agh (the letter that looks like a Quenya nwalme?), so I had to move the first two letters over by half a letter. I think I did a pretty good job of fixing it and covering it up. :)

I did forget to move the dot on top over, though. Oops.

Smaug was a very simple cut-through pattern. I suppose this is really just a regular old dragon, but I’m calling it Smaug.

I thought about adding flames coming out of Smaug’s mouth, but I couldn’t figure out a way to make the flames glow like fire without cartoonish outlining.

For Gandalf, I simplified Noel’s carving a little because I couldn’t achieve the same level of detail with my tools and time constraints. In retrospect, perhaps I should have made Gandalf a little smaller; he’s slightly distorted by the pumpkin’s curve. But, on the whole, still recognizable and a success in my book.


In the daylight:

My patched-up mistake in the lettering is more visible in daylight:


Before carving:

I initially tried to make the letters on the One Ring proportionally correct:

Correctly sized letters relative to the size of the ring.

As I mentioned above, that turned out to be unfeasible. Here’s what I did instead, before I carved the rest of the ring’s outline and before I carved in the highlights:

You can see where I marked the highlights to carve out. Sadly, the highlights meant I lost a few of my painstakingly carved letters in the front right. (Compare to the finished pumpkin to see which.)

This pumpkin was incredibly juicy! I had to repeatedly wipe away juices that kept leaking out wherever I cut. I guess that means this pumpkin was really fresh?

Smaug was very easy to draw:

Gandalf, on the other hand, required quite a few redraws to get him to fit on the pumpkin.

Finally the right size!

(This pumpkin turned out to be just as stringy as last year’s. Did I just forget how stringy pumpkins were when I was little?!)


For the first time, I managed to use my camera’s fall foliage setting (for much better color saturation) and still get relatively sharp photos! The solution: I used a tripod for the first time! Apparently we’ve had mini tripods since whenever I got my trusty PowerShot SD1400 IS, but I didn’t know/forgot. The mini tripod didn’t completely stabilize my photos since I don’t have a remote trigger and utterly forgot that I could use the self-timer feature. But the tripod definitely helped!

Say cheese!

If you noticed an odd letter “I” in some of the lit-up Smaug photos…

I think this was a present from a family friend who used to sell candles.

This candle was excellent for lighting my pumpkin: big bright flame and tall enough to light up the entire One Ring. It also created a fire hazard:

Charred pumpkin actually doesn’t smell that bad.


This pumpkin unfortunately no longer exists. Sauron sent a deer to devour it a mere five days after I finished carving it. And here I was worried it might not last the 2.5 weeks until Halloween…



2 thoughts on “Hobbit Pumpkin with No Hobbits

  1. Oh my god, the One Ring is BRILLIANT. Absolutely brilliant. I can’t believe you had the patience to carve all those letters (and you did it so well!!!!!).

    I kind of wish Halloween were more days…or came twice a year…so you could carve more awesome pumpkins!

    • Aww, thanks! It did take a ridiculous amount of time to carve all those letters, but it was so worth it! I am really happy with how this pumpkin turned out. :)

      Haha, I would totally be a fan of carving pumpkins ALL THE TIME. I would love to skip the whole working thing and just retire now and become a professional pumpkin carver. =P

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