This genius pumpkin carving hack uses a paper towel to create a spooky design

Carve like a pro with this TikTok-inspired Halloween pumpkin hack

A woman carving a pumpkin
(Image credit: Evgeniia Rusinova / Getty)

Halloween is upon us and if you haven't already chosen a pumpkin to carve you probably will in the next few days. If you're a pumkin carving pro with a steady hand and a set of special tools you know are great for the job, you're all good to go. But what if, like some of us at Real Homes, you find pumpkin carving tricky (Halloween pun intended)? 

Before you start browsing Halloween pumpkin carving ideas, you may want to check out this brilliant pumpkin carving hack popularized on TikTok. It doesn't require any specialist skills, just your standard paper towels and a computer screen.


♬ Adams Family Theme Song - Halloween DJ's

The genius pumpkin carving hack comes courtesy of Dallas-based @romantherealtor. We can't believe we haven't thought of this before: All you have to do is tear off a paper towel, find a carving design online, then press the paper towel onto your computer screen and trace the outline with a pen or permanent marker. If you're finding that the paper towel is moving around too much as you're tracing, you may want to secure it to your screen with sticky tape until you're done. 

Then, all you need to do is wet your paper towel with the carving outline on it and wrap the towel around your pumpkin. This is much easier than having to draw on the pumpkin directly, which often results in uneven lines or incorrect distances between the different elements of your pumpkin carving design. 

Don't like the mess of carving your pumpkin all the way through? You can use this method for making no-carve stenciled pumpkins. Just make an incision where you want your design to go and work with the surface of your pumpkin without even needing to open it up. 

small and large stenciled pumpkins

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

We will say this about the paper towel pumpkin carving method: You can't use just any paper towel. You need the super-absorbent cloth-type towels, not ordinary paper towels that disintegrate once you've wetted them. You also can't use textured paper towels as they won't give you an even outline. Look for the smooth type. 

We like the Viva Siganture Cloth Paper Towels (available at Amazon) because they will keep their shape when wet and don't have an embossed pattern. If you want biodegradable, you could look for a bamboo reusable paper towel instead.
Hallie Bauerband from Viva tells us that the towels are '2x more durable than
the average paper towel, meaning they offer the best quality for carving,
stenciling, and having fun with the festive trend this spooky season.'

When it comes to using the right pens and markers, we recommend using a permanent ink or your outline will bleed once you've wetted your towel. We've had the most success with Sharpie markers as they seem to give the most satisfying, sharp outline and don't bleed at all. 

Happy carving!

Anna is a professional writer with many years of experience. She has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. She covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.